Monday, January 4, 2010

"Let's Communicate"

Yesterday as I sat listening to my pastor (who by the way is my husband) I heard him say something that really made me think. He was talking about how we communicate with God through prayer. He was using an example of how we get to know one another and how communication is the key to growing closer to someone. He reminisced about our dating days and how we started communicating in 1994 and haven't stopped since then. Matt and I are very blessed in the area of communication. It has taken a lot of work, but we communicate well. Too well maybe at times, but it works for us. He recently went to the Outback Bowl with a friend and our communication carried on as usual. He called me to tell me he was eating at the same Wendy's we had eaten at on our way to Disneyworld. He called to let me know he was in the stadium and it was raining. He called to tell me he was back at the hotel, in dry clothes and resting before their dinner reservations. I called him to let him know that I had finished a new website. I called him to tell him that we built a great fire and it was really cold. We communicate on a play-by-play basis. Isn't this how God desires for us to communicate with Him. He says "Pray continually." In other words be in a constant conversation with me always. I would feel so distant from my husband if I spoke to him for a few minutes in the morning and then had a short conversation before bedtime. That would not be a relationship built on communication. That would be more like catching the morning and nightly news. I want to communicate; I want to know his heart; I want to know what makes him tick; I want to be able to read his tones, his inflections and even his sighs; I want to be one with my husband. The same is true in my relationship with my Savior. I don't want to just open and close my day by giving God the news reel. He already knows. I want to communicate with Him play-by-play, moment by moment, hearing from Him and sharing with Him my every thought, my every feeling, my every sigh. That is communication. Matt and I talk with many couples who say that communication is an area in their marriages where they really struggle. Couples who have been married 5, 10, 20 even 40 years still say that communication is difficult. As I listened to Matt preach yesterday God began to reveal to me some reasons for this lack of communication in marriage. Keep in mind these are not the only reasons, but they are valid reasons. As he talked about the hours we spent on opposite ends of my parent's couch talking, talking and talking some more, I realized that is when we began to learn how to communicate with each other. We spent many hours of many months communicating this way without a hug, a kiss or even holding a hand. There was physical distance because we were communicating and getting to know one another. How many couples quickly skip past the awkwardness of "talking" and fill the silence with physical communication. After all, doesn't the physical communication speak loudly? It speaks alright, but it is not true communication. It leaves room for misinterpretation, insecurities and a shaky foundation. I am convinced that one reason some couples struggle with communication in marriage is because they never laid the foundation for true communication, but instead they have tried to replace it with physical communication. This might satisfy the desires of the flesh and give a sense of closeness for a time, but there are areas in our marriages where "real" communication is a must. Don't get me wrong, you have to have a healthy, godly physical relationship, but marriages must have a strong foundation of communication. The same is true in our relationship with God. Imagine with me if you will, if the only communication you had with God was asking for things that gratify your desires and poof those things are granted. That is not a relationship with a Holy God, that is called a genie in a bottle. A true, loving, honest relationship involves sharing your heart, your shortcomings, your desires with God and then listening to Him and knowing His response. It involves knowing His heart and being willing to do His will even if it means our wishes are not always granted. That is communication. This brings me to another reason for a lack in communication in marriage. So often we are so concerned about what we want and need that we never really listen to the other person. Another word for this is "selfishness." We don't really want to know what the other person is saying, but because we were raised to be polite, we sit nodding, pretending to be attentive all the while rehearsing what we will say as soon as the other person takes as breathe. We are more concerned about our voice being heard than we are hearing the heart of the one sitting across from us. It's the same way in our relationship with God. We are so busy seeking His hand and giving Him our wish list that we fail to listen to Him or we don't take time to listen to Him. Wow, communication in marriage and communication with our Heavenly bridegroom have some real similarities. Matt and I consider ourselves to be good communicators, but God has challenged us to become better communicators, especially with Him. In the year 2010 we do not simply want be men and women that pray but we want to be "praying men and women" and to lead His church to be the same. I encourage you this year to work on your communication skills both in your marriage and in your relationship with Christ. It will clear up a lot!!

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

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