Today's guest blogger is Whitney Standlea. You can find more of Whitney's writings here.
I recently spent about 36 hours moping
around in a state of hopelessness and despair. Interpersonal conflict between
my husband and I had reached a point of great tension. There was no anger,
yelling, or fighting. But a difficult situation between the two of us had left
me feeling like there was no way our circumstance could change. It was a
dead-end battle and there was no hope for my attitude changing. I really
believed that there could be no desirable resolution to the conflict. That was
Now this whole time I knew something was
wrong with my heart. There were several tell-tale signs: hopelessness, telling
God it was impossible for anything to change, running to other things besides
the Bible for answers, and an unwillingness to get advice because I thought no
one could help. After opening up a bit to a friend, she began to show me there
were a few holes in the blanket I had thrown over my head. Maybe some light
could shine in on my situation.
After crying in despair for my unchangeable
heart just the evening before and offering up prayers of sad resignation, her
promptings led me to think more thoroughly about my situation. I soon found
myself disclosing thoughts to my husband that led to resolving much of the
conflict. It’s amazing what a little heart-to-heart can do! Bouncing around
with joy that the light of the Gospel afforded hope for my silly
unreasonableness, I have been enjoying the revitalization that the resolution
brought to our relationship.
Now that the storm is past I have been analyzing
my heart and trying to prevent such an event from happening again soon. I could
pin the tail on the donkey of my unbelief rather quickly. I knew I wasn’t
trusting in the power of God to work in my situation. But that wasn’t all of
it. I was surprised to see the direction the same friend mentioned above took
it. She told me it was pride! It wasn’t just an unbelief in God, it was an
unfounded belief in myself that quickly brought me to the state I was in.
Why would anyone suggest that a miserable,
hopeless person was acting in pride? I was so weak. I
wanted to have my heart changed, but felt there was no way I could make it
better. I wanted help from others, but no one had been through the same things
as me. I wanted to help make my husband
understand, but nothing I had done worked. That does not look like a state
of pride to me. But I listened, and I learned. It didn’t take long to see how
my unbelief was loaded with pride. By looking at my preceding comments, it
becomes quite clear…
1. I wanted to have my heart changed,
but felt there was no way I could make it better. I was missing it. Pride says I change my heart. When I can’t seem to change it, that’s when
hopelessness sets in. But isn’t it God that changes the heart of man?
2. I wanted help…but no one had been
through the same things. There
is nothing new under the sun. To allow myself to despair because I thought no
one had been through anything similar was the equivalent of saying “I and my
circumstances are so unique that no one has ever struggled enough to relate to
me. Not even Christ.”
3. I wanted to make my husband
understand, but nothing I had done worked. I had tried to communicate. I
had tried to help him see how I was feeling. If I could just explain things
correctly, then he would understand and change. Boy, was I missing it again!
Its not about me changing anyone’s heart. Its
about allowing God to change it.
Its easy to walk in the pride of relying on
myself. I like to do things my way. But now I’ve learned that when I’m met with
a situation that I can’t fix, pride quickly leads to despair and hopelessness.
Hopelessness in any situation is really pride clothed in mourning. But if we
can strip the garments off and see the pride for what it is, we can have true
humility. And humility brings hope. Hope because we believe that when wecan’t, God certainly
can. He can in any situation, any conflict, any heart, any circumstance.
Labels: Guest Blogger