Note: I’ve had this one sitting in my drafts for a few days now, waiting to be published. So this first paragraph is a couple days old.
I have now had two good days in a row!! Both days I could feel depression trying to creep in and bring me down, and the first day I turned the music up louder in my head (Counting Every Blessing by Rend Collective) and reminded myself of truth. Yesterday I saw two things in quick succession that made me sad, and I was fighting that feeling until God said “Anessa, it’s alright to be sad, and just because you’re sad about this doesn’t mean that you need to lose hope.” So I was sad and I cried, but it’s ok. I didn’t go hopeless and wallow in lies. My mentor said she believes that’s called the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith. And that she was proud of me 🙂
We also had a very good discussion the other day about (what else?) Trent. We talked about her conversation with him the other day and the answers she got from him. Talking about the reasons he gave for breaking up with me made me realize something about myself. Something uncomfortable and wrong. Something I need to fix.
If you’ve ever been to a marriage conference or read a book about marriage from a Christian perspective, you’ve probably heard that it needs to be God first, your spouse second, and your kids third. Trent mixed that order up slightly when we were together. So did I.
A long time ago I became convicted of my need to make God the number one priority in my life. I did that by committing to never read anything else in the morning before I read my Bible. I stuck with that for like, 20 years. But making a hard and fast rule like that can wander into legalism and that’s where I found myself. I was super holy because I always read my Bible first thing in the morning. If I ever messed up, looked at words other than Bible first, I’d feel so guilty. In the past year or two, I’ve relaxed that rule. Yes, I still always read my Bible in the morning, but I don’t always do it first. I’ve been realizing a lot lately it’s not a rule like that that puts God first, it’s a heart attitude. My heart attitude has been pretty messed up, especially this year. After we got engaged Trent’s attention wandered from me and I fought very hard to get it back. I put Trent first in my heart, instead of God. I went to Trent with all my problems, expected him to make me happy, expected him to eventually provide everything for me, looked to him to be my everything. Yes, he filled the man-sized hole in my life pretty well, but I tried to make Trent fill my God-sized hole too. That was wrong, that was expecting too much of Trent and he let me know that several times. God was still in my life, sure, I still read my Bible every day, prayed occasionally, we even did devotions together sometimes, which I loved. But I made Trent my god, which explains a lot of the issues that broke our relationship.
One major point of contention between Trent and I was that he wanted me to move to Indiana before we were married. I’m pretty sure that idea was planted in his head by his best friend, but Trent really liked it. I always saw it as a litmus test to prove that I could leave my family, unlike his ex-wife. The entire time we were together I felt like I needed to prove to him, his family, and his best friend that I wasn’t her. I am very close with my family – they’ve been my primary support system for my entire life and I live with my parents and two of my four siblings. I love them very dearly but we have our issues and I’ve known for years that they aren’t my future and that although they love me and I love them, they aren’t enough for me. I was eager to marry Trent and move to Indiana with him. I feared the loss of a support system and I did not want to leave the security and safety of my family until I had the security and safety of a husband. Since I was trusting in Trent, instead of in God, I looked to him to take away my fear of moving 14 hours away, basically by marrying me. Trent was unable to do that. He couldn’t take away my fear because he feared marriage just as much as I feared moving alone and being alone. He was Trent, not God, but I expected him to overcome his fear first and my continual refusal to move made him feel like I was choosing my family over him and that I didn’t love him as much as I said I did. My trust and hope were fixated on the wrong person and that hurt both of us.
Yet another reason I am thankful for the break up: breaking up destroyed my Trent-idol pretty quickly. I know, you think “Wow Anessa, you’re still awfully focused on Trent, are you sure it’s destroyed?” Yeah. I know I write about him a lot here, but I don’t go to him with problems anymore. I don’t expect anything from him anymore. I talk to God. I lay awake in bed in the mornings and I talk to God about my family, sometimes about Trent, myself. I ask God to provide me with my daily bread. I ask God to work in my family, to make all of us more like Him and to help us figure out where we’re messing up and how to fix it. I ask God to work in Trent’s life, to mold him into a man after God’s own heart. I ask God to take away my fear of moving and give me strength and courage to go where He wants me to go.
Am I going to mess up? Yes, probably. I’m learning though that the closer to God I am, especially the more time I spend talking with Him, the easier it is to keep Him first.
Who is first in your heart?