Into the middle of a group of women lamenting their romantic failures walks Jerry Maguire ready to claim his woman. In this iconic scene of a humble and sincere declaration of love comes the infamous line, “You complete me.”
Women around the world let out a collective *sigh*.
That is what we think we want.
To have a man need us. To have him realize that we are his other half, that life would not be whole without you. You want to complete him.
A truly romantic, fantastical notion.
But not at all based in reality. And women truly don’t want it either. Not really.
We need to be needed. We strive to be important, significant, irreplaceable. But to complete someone? Really? You want to hitch your wagon to that half-developed star?
Lifelong relationships will only work between two full-people, not two half-people. These people complement one another. They don’t complete one another.
It was the whole point of another iconic romantic movie, “The Runaway Bride”. It’s what the whole deal with the eggs symbolized. Julia Roberts’ character was meandering through life as a half-person, taking up with different people hoping that they would complete her. It wasn’t until she met Richard Gere’s character that she was faced with the reality of her existence. She was so completely clueless as to who she was as an individual that she couldn’t even figure out how she liked her own eggs cooked.
Do you know how you like your eggs cooked?
Do you have your own set of values and opinions and experiences and emotional reactions firmly planted, making up who you are as an individual? Or are you a reed on the riverbank, bending whichever direction the wind takes you?
I know that it can be scary to look into yourself and ask “who am I?” But, it must be done. No one else can tell you what you think, what you feel, or who you are. You must decide what makes you, you.
Only when you are a complete person, in and of yourself, are you then ready to couple up with someone else. Preferably, another complete person because otherwise you’ll be spinning your proverbial wheels.
Throw out the dependence. Veto the co-dependence. Overrun the independence too. Instead, adopt an interdependence, in which you come together and allow the other person’s strengths to complement your weaknesses.
Find a way to *sigh* over the ways in which you are a match. Maybe one of you is level-headed while the other is passionate and headstrong. Maybe one of you is detail-oriented while the other keeps their eyes on the big picture. Maybe one of you is process-oriented while the other is people-oriented. Maybe one of you is a thinker while the other is a feeler.
The one caveat that I want to throw into this whole love-fest is that you will never, nor should you ever, find another person to fill the role that God is meant to have in your life. It is only God who can truly ‘complete’ you. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He has a plan for your life if you will let Him guide you, and these plans are much, much better than anything you have for yourself. He knows what makes you tick, what makes you smile, what makes you feel fulfilled and happy. It is with Him, and with Him only, that you should be dependent because He is the one who possesses your next breath, who holds the keys to the treasure of blessings waiting to be poured upon you, who carries in His hand every tear that you have ever wept, and who died to be your Savior.
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of love that makes me truly and deeply *sigh*.
Do good things and good things come to you.
Sounds like a simple enough equation. However, we all know that life is anything but simple.
Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. The sun shines and the rain falls on us all regardless of our moral standing.
Being a Christian is not a guarantee of easy living. In fact, multiple passages in the New Testament actually promise trouble for those that believe in Jesus. The only thing we can really hold on to is that God will work all things out for the good of those who love in Him (Romans 8:28).
So, there may be times when good comes of good done. Just as there will be times when bad comes from good done. The result doesn’t define the process or the intent upon which the action is taken. The blessing comes in the being and the doing and the giving.
Yet this head knowledge does little to rectify the troubled spirit and trampled heart that comes from disappointment, discouragement, or disregard. You wouldn’t be the first, nor would you be the last to look toward the heavens and ask ‘why?’
When life tosses you about like a ship upon a tormented sea, it is hard not to feel betrayed, let down, and even abandoned. There are many psalms that wonder where God went or why He hid His face or how long He was going to wait before rescuing His people.
Job asked why. Habakkuk asked why. Jeremiah asked why. We ask why.
“Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” Jeremiah 12:1b
One of the reasons is this: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5
The only thing guaranteed in this life is trouble. Trouble is coming. We may feel that we have our fair share of it already, but more is on its way. And everyone’s brand of trouble is different, which leaves us sometimes wondering if we are suffering alone.
We are never alone in suffering. Everyone suffers. And as the last days continue to barrel toward us, the suffering will continue. Trouble is only getting started.
So, if this is the future that we are all facing, if the horses are coming around the bend straight for us, if the thick of things is on its way, then how will we be ready for it?
We keep asking for God to deliver us, but perhaps the very trials that we are currently facing are His way of doing just that. God is allowing the struggle of the foot race so that we may be ready for those horses thundering toward us. That doesn’t mean that He will leave us abandoned to our present crisis, but it doesn’t mean that He will rush to pluck us up out of it either.
He is working it all out for the good of those who love Him. It’s the working it out that places us wherever we are for however long we are there. All we can really do then is wait on the Lord, trust in His wisdom and promises, count our present blessings, and be grateful that it is only men running alongside us in our safe country and not the horses we will someday encounter.
I find it hardest to be a good parent in the face of my children pushing my “buttons”.
It’s like a heat-seeking missile that targets my biggest annoyances and makes full impact, totally exploding them. My children each carry around a box with a big red button on it, pushing it at random and sometimes totally insane moments.
We are on the verge of leaving for a beach vacation and my boys are running through the house screaming (I swear they pierce the innermost workings of my ears). We are driving to the movie theater to see the very film they have been begging to see and they start bickering in the backseat. In the middle of things that they enjoy, things they desire, things that are meant for their benefit, they start detonating bombs and pressing buttons left and right. It doesn’t make sense, right?
I haven’t found the answer to this problem. I haven’t come across the magic solution in any of my studies or experiences. Most of the time I just try to bite my tongue and take deep breaths. If I can, I put either them or myself in a time-out.
I try to remember that my goal is to teach my kids how to be considerate, respectful, responsible, and honest. It’s not about me. It shouldn’t be about my buttons. I don’t want my children to merely learn how to manipulate mom.
Right now, I’m trying to work on some sort of mantra that I can chant in times where it feels like my blood is boiling beneath my skin. It really does help to have some handy phrase to repeat inside your head to direct yourself. It counters all the junk thoughts that pop up without permission, all the knee-jerk reactions that attempt to dominate the situation.
At the same time that I work on keeping calm, I also work on de-sensitizing my buttons. I do some digging around inside my noggin to see why it is that these particular issues mean so much to me. Is there some rule in my head that my kids are violating? Maybe I need to rewrite the rule. Is there some unresolved stuff floating around inside me that my kids are triggering? Maybe I need to search out those issues and deal with them without involving my kids.
My focus needs to stay on parenting for my kids’ sake, not my own. The goals that I want to teach my kids are priorities, but they need to remain teaching priorities rather than hot buttons.
So, here’s one blog post that doesn’t have a solution worked out for you. But, that’s life. We are all working on being the best that we can be, where we are at, in this particular moment. I’ll let you know if I ever find that magic solution to either getting your kids to leave your buttons alone or to throwing out the buttons altogether.