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Relationship Change is Exhausting and Invigorating – Just Like Moving.

Around this time last year I moved. It was exhausting and difficult, and every day I crawled in bed close to tears. Change is hard on so many levels and this is true in relationships as well as household changes. I was recently reflecting on how difficult it can be to change how you relate to your spouse when you have related in the same ways for so many years. Like moving, transition in relationships can be hard. You have to decide what you are going to keep and discard in your relationship transition. As people grow and change, what they need in the new relationship is not necessarily what was needed in the past. Many changes in the course of a marriage will impact what the marriage needs and what each person needs as time marches forward. Births, deaths, illness, the ages of your children, the work status of each person, spiritual crisis, emotional crisis, extended family issues, holidays and many other things will impact how your relationship needs to transition. The new relationship will require both parties to move around how they had positioned themselves toward one another. Rare is the occasion when how the furniture was positioned one house can be positioned in the same way in the new location. In all relationships moving, to the new way it is to exist will require some difficult conversations often filled with pain and hurt. The pain and hurt is usually so large that it is exhausting for the couple and yet they must push through the pain and exhaustion to get to the other side. One person cannot move the relationship alone. You just cannot carry the relationship to the new without both parties doing the heavy lifting and feeling the pain, but that is a hard task. Rare is the person who embraces emotional pain and allows themselves to sit in it until it can be moved and yet it is what is necessary to make the move together. Relationships cannot be moved to the new alone, but they require heavy lifting, pain and exhaustion close to tears. We cannot do it alone. We need the supernatural medicating power of God to assist us through all transitions as he has the power that we can lean into when we do not feel it in and of ourselves.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.


My Break-Up Letter with Fear


The other day, some friends and I were sitting around a table talking about the person we want to be and the goals we have in life; however, fear always seems to stand in the way like a controlling partner. In the course of conversation, my friend Cristina declared, “ I just feel like I need to write a breakup letter with fear!!” and all of us exclaimed in unison that we felt this to be a great idea. I, of course, thought it to be a wonderful therapeutic exercise for clients. So this is my break up letter with fear and it is dedicated to Cristina, whose idea birthed much truth. Go write your own break up letter with fear after reading mine.

Dear fear,
This letter has been a long time coming and I am finally strong enough to say goodbye to you: GOODBYE! I hate you and what you have done to me!! I don’t need you anymore and I don’t want you anymore! I used you to protect me from scary things for so long, that letting you go feels scary and freeing at the same time. I remember how I used you to get comfort from people by telling people about what you were doing to me and people would bring me comfort. I would use you as an excuse to not do things I didn’t want to do and I would use you to keep me in a controlled little box that felt safe. But, no matter what, you kept me alone and abandoned when I was in your box. It was a sick, sick relationship!! It makes my stomach turn when I think of all the things I let you do to me. I let you control who I talked to, when I talked to them, and what I would talk about. I let you control when I went out, when I went to bed, where I would go, what I would eat, and how much money I could spend. I let you determine my worth, my value and my honor because I would always be thinking of what you would think about it if I let those things come into me. Fear, you were always in my thoughts! I ran everything I said and did through your twisted filter. Every education decision, career decision, relationship decision, etc, etc.. I am so tired of you running and ruining my life and I am not going to let you manipulate me any longer! You manipulated me to comply to you so many times I can not even count and you shamed me and accused me of things that were not true to get me to comply to you. The sad truth is that after being with you I wouldn’t know what was right or wrong! Seven people could be telling me one thing and you could be telling me another and I would believe you and trust you more than seven other people telling me loving things! You are evil and no longer am I going to choose evil over the voice of love!! I am choosing love and all that means over you. Love will kick you out and love will make good decisions for me! Love will propel me toward my future and will not abandon me! And most of all love will give me hope that no matter what happens, He will work it out and things will be to my benefit. Love honors me, values me, protects me, blesses me and love has never failed me.
So fear, this is your official break up letter. Do not try to contact me again because I do not want to converse with you any further! You will only try to confuse me into believing you are right, but I see the fruit of my relationship with you and it is rotten. By the way, that person named Love, His real name is GOD and He rocks my world!

1 John 4:18 The Message (MSG)
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.