We laugh at that because it rings true. Sometimes we can feel like the only place to find a “stable” relationship is, well, in a stable. That’s especially true if we’ve been burned relationally more than a few times. We start to yearn for settled, reliable, safe. But stable relationships are few and far between, as much as we may wish that weren’t so.
Here’s the thing: My sister has horses; four of them and she loves them like children. But she will be among the first to tell you, the only thing stable about them is where they live.
They’re beautiful and unpredictable, thrilling and a little – or a lot – dangerous. (Ask her sometime about dislocated shoulders, torn ACLs and loosened teeth.) To watch them run with wild abandon is to be inspired and awed. (Even the old guys.)
I’ve always loved how God calls attention to the horse’s power and beauty in the Old Testament book of Job: “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” (Job 39:19) At the final judgment, we are told Jesus will ride in victory on a majestic white horse (Revelation 19:11). That’s just cool!
Which brings me to this: When we get right down to it, is a “stable” relationship really what we want out of life?
Recently I was going through a workbook/journal I had kept in connection with a book I read about 10 years ago. I came across something I had written then that not only reminded me of where I was at that time, but how far I’ve come. Here it is (don’t laugh):
First of all, I still want all those things, but that phrase “with another person” is the deal breaker. I have since recognized that I already have that kind of love in my relationship with God, the Maker of the universe. He is the only One who will ever love me unconditionally and I am already His top priority. He initiated this relationship with me through Jesus many years ago and accepted me exactly as I was, as soon as I asked Him to in faith. He still does. Daily.
Second, I’m not so invested in “safety” anymore. I still want to be safe, of course, but I don’t want Jesus to be predictable and contained. I want to be awed and humbled by His holiness. I want to be thrilled with joy and reduced to tears at His faithfulness. When I talk to Him, I want to trust our secure connection even when it feels like He’s “playing hard to get”. I want a God I can worship, not explain, and I want to be in love with the One who IS love.
Third, expecting that kind of love from another human being is a recipe for failure and not even fair. (What was I thinking?) No one can live up to that and if I go into any relationship thinking they can meet that standard, I’m going to be disappointed. Then – as I have done so many times in the past – I’m going to give in to despair and check out. I need to remember that and extend grace to people in my life who let me down.
I don’t think that means I wall off my heart and give up; I think it just means I try to love others for who they are and do my best to see them through a different lens. (That’s what Jesus does for me every single day.)
No, I don’t want a stable relationship. I want a wild, awesome, galloping, unfettered, mane-flowing, transcendent experience with a majestic Jesus. And it’s okay if we sometimes get real quiet and just hang out in a shady paddock together, too.
- Maybe This Will Help - February 10, 2017
- I’m Firing Olivia Pope - January 24, 2017
- I’m crossing some things off my list this year - January 11, 2017
- I learned a new word - November 30, 2016
- The best question I’m asking myself these days - July 18, 2016
- A tragic story with a tender twist - May 17, 2016
- Gosh, people are a mess - May 12, 2016
- I’ll take the red carnation, thank you – revisiting an odd tradition - May 2, 2016
- The surprising thing about “weakness” - April 20, 2016
- The holiness of a four-way stop - April 13, 2016