Keeping score or giving 100%?

“It’s not about power; it’s about love.”

This is a beautiful statement that I heard last night.

I was sharing with some friends that my husband often gets up with me when I can’t sleep and will make pancakes for me, watch a movie with me or pray for me.

One of our friends was being cheeky and asked him, “how long do you think this power over you will last?” My husband replied, “it’s not about power; it’s about love.”

Beautiful! He summed up the impetus behind our family’s motives and actions much better than I could.

Often we think about relationships in terms of keeping score – making sure we are doing an equal amount of loving acts, favors and signs of affection for one another.

However, there is a more spiritual way to look at things.

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I were given the gift of attending a seminar called “Celebrate marriage!” (we had only been married a couple of weeks at this time). The speaker shared many valuable things; one idea that has stuck with me is that marriage isn’t about each person giving 50%. Marriage is about each person giving 100%. When each person in a marriage gives 100% all the time, there is no withholding of love or affection. Each person is looking for opportunities to give all the time.

Wow, what a revolutionary and spiritual view of relationships! It really symbolizes our relationship to God, who is always pouring out more love than we could ever accept! God’s love is unconditional (this is illustrated in Christ Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, for instance). And God doesn’t keep score – thankfully! 🙂

So, if we are made in God’s image and likeness that means we are capable of loving unselfishly – the way God loves. We can pour out love to the people around us – taking every opportunity to give and not worry about what we might get in return.

This seems like a tall order, but it’s nothing more than a mental discipline – not giving in to fears about lack, limits or the future that would prevent us from being as generous and as loving as we can be this moment.

Christian healer and teacher, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote:

“Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 57)

And she asks these pointed questions:

“God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?” (Ibid, p. 2)

Sometimes we may forget just how big and limitless God is. But maintaining this infinite view of God illustrates just how big and limitless the love is that we have to give to each other. And this love blesses us making us feel fulfilled and joyful.

 

 

 

 

Marriage


People say that marriage takes a lot of “work”. That sounds a bit daunting. I’m discovering that marriage is a “witnessing of each other’s spiritual identity.” The “work” is because relationships hold up a mirror and show us where we need to grow.

Marriage is witnessing that your spouse is the loved and cared for child of God. When we look to man as the source of fulfillment, or perhaps to keep us from feeling lonely, or to satisfy all our hopes & dreams, we are disappointed. There will come a time when that person is not around or too busy or simply incapable of fulfilling your hopes and dreams. In these moments we have the glorious, healing opportunity to turn to God, divine Love, and realize we have never been alone; we have always been tenderly cared for by our Father/Mother God who is satisfying our hopes and dreams right now because She made them in our heart.

Each month there is a something special read at my church. For me it is such a blessing and a guiding light in my relationships. I pray with this passage each morning as prepare for my day. It’s called “A Rule for Motives & Acts” and it goes like this:

Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church. In Science, divine Love alone governs man; and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness. The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously.

As I meditate on this each morning it gives me stillness and humility to take through my day. It helps me see that my will isn’t the “right” will; my unsolicited advice doesn’t encourage someone else’s new discovery; my judgement doesn’t heal others; looking down at someone doesn’t enable them to rise up; and influencing someone doesn’t help them turn to God – the source of all true guidance for that individual.

I humbly pray and strive to express this “rule for motives and acts” more in my daily life. And it alerts me to see that marriage can be “attacked” by these harmful characteristics; if entertained, they can uproot the seeds of joy, hope, patience, and unselfishness that have been planted in marriage.

Here are some closing quotes that have helped keep me spiritually grounded in marriage:

Soul [God] has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul [God].

Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.

Mutual compromises will often maintain a compact which might otherwise become unbearable.

Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship.

Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man.

All the quotes shared in this post are by Mary Baker Eddy; they can be found in her main written work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

Feeling successful

Everyone wants to feel successful. Often this is expressed in terms of a house, marital status or kids and a job. And we can often feel pretty unsuccessful if we don’t have one or all of these things. But don’t believe it! Each one of us is the valuable, needed and worthy child of God with divine inheritance. 

Recently, my husband and I were contemplating our future dream house and trying to make this more of a reality. However, I was feeling frustrated and unsuccessful because it didn’t seem like there was any way to start this project.

I got my journal to write and pray about what was bothering me. I saw that I love progress. Progress is a sign of productivity, success and being on a divinely right path. I was seeing this house and future plans as a sign of progress. And I was feeling really unproductive and lackadaisical because it didn’t seem like it could happen. 

As I prayed about this from a metaphysical and spiritual standpoint, I began to see that progress is really mental. Progress is new thoughts about God and your relationship with Him. Progress is a new understanding of your spiritual selfhood and identity. Progress is seeing the true, spiritual nature of your fellow-man and loving your neighbor better. Progress is the victory of Truth over error, spirit over matter and the throwing off of material limitations or the so-called carnal mind. 

“…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1, Amplified Bible)

This new view of progress really uplifted me and aligned my priorities back to God’s. I saw that each moment, each thought, could be full of progress. So rather than having one big lump sum of progress represented in a house or some other material thing, I could have a hundred steps of progress in thought each day. 

So if you’re feeling trapped by a financial situation, relationships status or some other thing, focus on the progress you can make today – right now in this moment. This illumination of present good and the activity of goodness in your life will surely lift your spirits and open up new views of what is possible today.