SOMETIMES I really wish I could have pure motives.
I was listening to a sermon yesterday and the preacher was talking about struggles during the first years of marriage and he said that the major problem was that he was trying to make his wife love him as he wanted to be loved. He was trying to make her act in certain ways so that he felt loved.
It resonated with me because I know I sometimes do the same thing.
I had a few friends over for a roast chicken dinner last night and then we played board games and I was questioning my motivation in doing that. Sure I hoped that they would enjoy the meal and company, but my motivations were multifaceted and I’m not sure whether the desire for their happiness was greater than my desire for my own. After dinner it seemed like I would have plenty of leftovers, which I was really excited about. Then one of my friends became hungry and suddenly I was worried about my beautiful plan of eating delicious leftovers. I wasn’t very concerned about their hunger or satisfaction.
Sometimes I’m aware my motivations are not as pure as they could be and I regulate my behaviour to make sure that no one knows this. Then I’m weighing up what I want, what I think they want and what I can do that makes me look loving, but does not impact on the outcome in my favour. Not that I consciously evaluate it using those labels, but it’s basically what’s happening.
I wish I had pure and good motivations for everything that I did. That I was truly seeking the best for others and their happiness and ultimate joy rather than being a mix of desires. And I’m not exactly sure how I get to that place or into the situation where my motives are becoming increasingly pure.
I LOVE that time following a move to a new location (in terms of house and the wider community) and it feels like home.
I’m feeling that this month. My friends who live here have adjusted to my presence and invite me to their place or activities and vice versa frequently. The roads I now use and the shops I visit feel somewhat familiar. I like going to the local library on Saturday morning, when I happen to be free, to slowly read the weekend newspapers. My garden is slowly growing and surrounding my home with green life. I see my family, in person, almost every fortnight. I have settled into work at my school and am ready to create many positive learning experiences in Term 2.
My church is going great. I love it. I feel at home there. It is deep and biblical and passionate and real. I’ve started going to a home group and it is amazing. The same great things about the church are present there.
I’ve been having a tough time with temptation and thankfully there has been some let up in the past week or so, which has been refreshing and much needed.
One of the common pains experienced by many guys dealing with SSA is that they feel like they are always the initiator in friendships and never the receiver. The current four days I have received five invitations for various meals and activities compared to only one I made. It’s hard to feel the weight of that. My life isn’t how I used to think about it 7 years ago. I don’t say this to boast or shame, but simply as a way to highlight that sometimes the sun comes out and it’s a beautiful day even if there’s been a lot of cleansing and refining to get to this point.
I guess the other point to make is that even if at one stage I thought what I saw as minimal initiation was a major problem (and to be honest I probably always exaggerated it anyway; people have always initiated to some degree) the solution has been less helpful than I imagined it would be. I think it’s an important point that our dissatisfaction or ‘needs’ can feel so strong and yet their fulfillment can feel so ho-hum as if the issue was not what we thought our needs were but the power we gave these quasi lies over our emotions.
I feel like my post on internet friendships may have sounded like the words of a bitter, lonely person sitting at home wishing someone would say ‘hi’ on skype, but it’s not the case. I have a full and satisfying physical life with the people around me as demonstrated by this weekend. I also desire a full and satisfying internet life with people from all corners of the globe. I enjoy interacting with people over long periods of time and would always welcome the opportunity to get to know anyone reading this more if you’d desire to befriend an Australian guy.