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Fish Out of Water – “I Need to be Free!”

Are you in a rut? Do you wish that you could find freedom by breaking out? Is your job a drag? Are social norms and rigid “truth claims” making you feel suffocated? Perhaps you are like the goldfish who wants to get out of her fishbowl.

In actuality, many imposed or self-imposed constraints are not healthy. Too much can produce irritability, defensiveness, or even a sense of superiority.

As long as we are in the “fishbowl” we can blame the glass surrounding for our negative experiences. But when we leap from the water, rejecting all confinement, we find ourselves gasping on the dry grass. Ugh! But take heart! The pressure and suffocation of this experience CAN be a positive thing. But how?

If you are flattened right now, gasping for life, it’s a great time to admit “I can’t survive here.”

A fish grounded cannot get herself back into the water. She must ask one higher to pick her up and put her back. Faith is required for such a declaration.

As a wife and mother of five, I feel confined quite often. The pressures seem unending and I want to bolt. Loving family relationships require personal sacrifice and that is restrictive. Nevertheless,  rejecting those relationships produce isolation.

We cannot survive in such a place.

Think for a minute with me. What are we made for? A fish is made to enjoy the freedom of being who he is, swimming in the water, eating fish food, and playing fish games.

We humans are made to give and receive love. We are to create and make the world a better place. When selfishness, resentment and defensiveness prevent us from giving, we are losing the freedom to be who we are!

We will thrive in “living water” spiritually charged with encouraging words:

“You are loved and eternally important to the one who made you.”

“You have gifts that are to be used to help heal the broken world in which you live.”

“Selflessness, forgiveness, and hope are the attributes of your flourishing.”

Just being religious is not freeing. The fear of failure is always lurking. It can become dehumanizing to continually give up our freedom to a god that seems to only demand obedience.

Only one system of belief offers a love relationship with God in which he restricts his freedom for our sake.

The son of God jumped out of his glorious fishbowl and entered the dry deteriorating environment of our world for one purpose: to give us freedom. On the cross he gasped and gave his life away… So that we could have a loving relationship with him.

When anxiety, fear, and resentment build up we need to get back in the water. Restrictions always exist, but the proper restrictions produce amazing freedom and joy.

Do You Love Me? The Importance of Friendship and Marriage

When was the last time you said that? How recently have such thoughts immerged?

It is not surprising that that everyone needs love. It is one of the most basic ingredients for human survival– essential and life-giving. How sad it is when a husband or wife feels compelled to ask this question of a spouse.

What kind of love do we need? The Greek language has four different words for love.

  • Agape, love on a spiritual level
  • Eros, emotional, chemical, physical attraction
  • Storge, love a parent has for a child
  • Philia, friendship

We might argue that all are important to marriage. Nevertheless spiritual stoicism or animal magnetism does not a good marriage make.

Deep abiding friendship in marriage is invaluable yet often neglected, C.S. Lewis says.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

The actions of true friends communicate concern and admiration. Honesty and self-disclosure in a friendship provide safety and boundaries for nurture. A true friend always lets you in and never lets you down.

Every married couple needs the vital healing power of committed friendship. So how do we get it?

Be a friend to your husband.

* Respect and encourage him.

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.     –George MacDonald

“Cast a loving thought into his heart,” by showing him that you care about him. Small but repeated acts of consideration go a long way.

* Share your inner self with him. Let him in on your dreams for him and the attributes you most admire. Help him to become better!

Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your friend to become a perfect person. That’s true friendship.–Mother Theresa

* Don’t let him down.

Help him to know you’ve got his back. Don’t allow the needs of your children or home to make him feel marginalized. Perhaps, as a result of neglect, your relationship is more a marriage of enemies than lovers.

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. –Abraham Lincoln

Have the courage to risk extravagant giving of yourself for him. Be a friend to him and refuse to expect payback. Keep at it and you may be surprised to discover a mutual friendship developing in your marriage.

The only way to have a friend is to be one. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marriage: On Neglecting Your Garden

You may not have a green thumb. I know that I don’t, but the first time I bought an orchid I promised to be a good steward of that beauty. I read all of the instructions, put reminders on my calendar, and checked it several times a day.

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