Sometimes it's like living in the dark and difficult all the time for me. I am amazed at how many assumptions and expectations I live under. They change my perspective. They limit me in my understanding and leave me with a pallet for judgements. They leave me angry, disappointed and lost. They steal joy from me.
My husband and I had a wonderful conversation last night. It was a conversation steeped in real thoughts and matters of the heart. I will confess, we don't have those conversations all the time. We often are just trying to keep life rolling without rolling over us. So this was wonderful.
It was also one of those conversations that bring up all sorts of thoughts you've been having, or questions you want to ask, but you don't. You don't ask them because your in the middle of life, dinner, routine, schedules or a disagreement, or hard conversation, or like us, we just call it a plain fight. I am notorious for starting a disagreement and eventually working in five other issues I'm having with my husband or our life that have nothing to do with what we originally were talking about.
In my experience, this is the worst, most irresponsible and immature way to discuss problems you are having. Generally you stay on task on the issue at hand. If there are other issues, bring them up once the first is resolved. I also like to try to bring up items to discuss when we aren't upset with one another. I have found that we listen to each other better, and then it truly isn't a fight, but a real conversation.
Back on track. Last night we were talking about the new habit that we are forming with the kiddo's. It's called Feed your body, feed your soul. I'll write about that tomorrow. But we started to discuss it. I of course am looking at it as a way of teaching or modeling to our children what it means to bring the word of God into your daily life. Paul supports and agrees with that, but casually made the comment of forcing it, like a religion, that the kids want to rebel against.
This innocent comment of course brings up both of our histories and responses to the faith. Paul and I were both brought up in the faith, going to church on Sunday, confirmation, volunteering, youth group, Captive Free, prayer before supper, Christian music, you name it. However, I tried very hard for a couple years to find my own way. To reject or disengage with religion, while still trying to look the part just in case I needed to fall back on it. It was a confusing and a hard time for me. Christ and God's love for me didn't become really something that I started to understand till after High School. My husband on the other hand embraced it easily and lived up to the name Christian. Being good and honorable seems much easier for him, almost automatic. (Still to this day, right choices are easier for him. I still struggle and have to fight to do the right thing.)
So here we are two different people, coming from what seems like similar backgrounds responding very differently to grace and trying to raise children to love and embrace God. We started talking about how I live out my faith (emotionally, publicly, vocally, almost demanding). Then there is how Paul lives out his faith (quietly, internally, intellectually, automatically). I'm still not sure all these words are totally right, because this is what our conversation was based around.
I have for the last few years looked and watched Paul's faith and found him at fault. Found him lacking. I can say that now because I have confessed that to him and to the Lord and have been forgiven. I have judged his process and his rhythms and it is very unfair. I have projected my assumptions of what active faith looks like (meaning it should look a lot like mine) and because it doesn't, I have found him lacking. I was so convicted of this last night, not even realizing that that's exactly what I had done. I wanted him to say certain things to the kids to encourage their faith, and he didn't say it so I was disappointed. He wouldn't do prayer time the way I would, so I was frustrated. The list could go on, but for the sake of saving a little of my integrity, I'll stop.
We discussed internal faith vs quiet faith. Vocal vs external. And we discussed a lot about assumptions. We discussed how when faith can be just automatic than others don't understand your motivation of why you do what you do. We discussed the importance of still vocalizing our reasons behind the madness.
And then we discussed a lot about modeling behavior. That blog will come in the next week.
I assumed a lot of wrong things about my husbands faith and the way he interacts with the kids, his reasons for his behavior and the way he lived out his faith. He also assumed things about my faith and the reasons behind why I do what I do and the way I interact with the kids.
I knew expectations could be the hammer to destroy a foundation in a relationship, but what I got blindsided by was assumptions. Assuming you know what you don't.
The only way to get through assuming is to ask questions and have conversations.
They may be hard, but completely worth it. And most likely, you tackle the first one, it will reveal many more.