Divided Affections

Today’s sermon was truly an eye opener.  Pastor took
the lesson from Gen 25:27-34
The boys grew up. Esau became an
expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors
among the tents. 28Isaac loved Esau because he loved
his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.29One day Jacob was
cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. 30Esau
said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew–I’m starved!” That’s
how he came to be called
Edom (Red).31Jacob said, “Make
me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.”32Esau
said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?”33Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did
it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. 34Jacob
gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left.
That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.

Isaac, a son of the patriarch Abraham, is married to Rebekah and the two of
them have di-di twins.  The twins, Esau (eldest) and Jacob (youngest),
constantly vie for attention and prominence.  Each one of them is loved
more by one particular parent; Esau is a hunter and loved more by Isaac while
Jacob tends to stay in and is loved more by Rebekah.  Now I’ve always seen
their enmity as secondary to favoritism by their parents but never as a
reflection of the lack of blending between the parents.  See what caused
these two to be competitors and not compatriots was the lack of mutual concern
and nurturing of the parents for one another; not just for the other
child.  The children were seen by their parents as reflective of
themselves–their own likes, ambitions and goals.  The two parents never
took the time to blend their own lives in such a way as to be able to treat
both children with mutual love and admiration.

Isaac and Rebekah were playing like they were singles at a doubles match. 
They did not share each others’ passions and therefore could not share the
children.  And so it is with us.  We find ourselves romantically
attached and at first see only the positives of the relationship, relegating
those slight annoyances that we have with one another to the back burner. 
You know how it is–you talk about how wonderful he makes you feel, how cute
she is, how sweet and gentle he is, how much you have in common–but you never
take into consideration all the things that upset you.  And without
realizing it you’re dating seriously then married then divorced because you
never took the time to look at all the negatives of that person and ask
yourself if you could live with them.  And you never asked yourself if you
could give up parts of your individuality for the commonality of your
relationship.  You must remember that what is notable during your
relationship becomes perpetually present during marriage. 

Then we must ask ourselves what can we accept about this person that we do not
like?  An inherent tension between individualism and partnership then
develops.  I wonder about that–if I want to go out with my girls and he
wants to stay at home or just hang out with me then will I chafe if he becomes upset? 
What about if I want to travel by myself or go be by myself as I am wont to
do?  Will he feel neglected?  Will he want to know where I’m going,
what I’m doing, where I am, how I’m feeling?  How will I be able to handle
giving up being single (and it’s more than just going out with my girls)? 
There must be death of some of my individualism for the birth of our communion.

Let’s be real.  Being an African woman, I have had to fight the
stereotypes from other African women who tell me that while my education is
nice, I still need to be at home for my family and husband.  I have to
fight the ideas of other African men who while would brag about my career and
achievements would still expect certain “womanly” qualities from me
that I don’t necessarily cling to or have developed.  Then there exists
the majority beliefs about my inherent ability to succeed, to not fit all the
boxes they have placed me in–after all of that fighting to be someone now I
have to give that up in order to share a life with someone?  And do I have
to give all of those up or just parts of it?  And how much pain will I be
in after I release those parts of myself?  I refuse to be like so many
other African women who have deposited their very souls into marriages and families
only to be disrespected, ignored and condescended to by their mates. 

Therefore there must be an understanding that relationships only work when
individualism blends with mutual regard and mutual
adoration.  I must give up and you must give up but above all, you must
see what it is that I am giving up as must I.  We must see and understand
the full extent of one another’s sacrifices so that we do not belittle them and
thereby undermine the inherent worth of the other person’s compromise.  In
the same manner we sacrifice our very bodies to Christ because we recognize
what He has done for us.  The Lord God did not have to give us His son but
out of love He did and Christ Jesus didn’t have to die but out of love for both
us and His Father He who was without sin was made sin that we might have life.

Instead of living my life I must deny my life.  Instead of going where I
want I must allow my steps to be ordered by God.  Instead of talking when
other people call I must obey when God speaks.  Instead of my will, it
must ultimately be God’s will.  Therefore the question remains:  as
much as I want and desire companionship–am I ready to sacrifice aspects of my
individualism and be shaped to a lifetime commitment of a shared marriage?

About papillion

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2 responses to “Divided Affections

  • millennialhippy

    “You know how it is–you talk about how wonderful he makes you feel, how cute she is, how sweet and gentle he is, how much you have in common–but you never take into consideration all the things that upset you. And without realizing it you’re dating seriously then married then divorced because you never took the time to look at all the negatives of that person and ask yourself if you could live with them. And you never asked yourself if you could give up parts of your individuality for the commonality of your relationship.”

    This has been on my mind in full-force as of late.

    “I have to fight the ideas of other African men who while would brag about my career and achievements would still expect certain “womanly” qualities from me that I don’t necessarily cling to or have developed.”

    Definitely not just African men. I am constantly back-treading from people who admire me for _____, ______, or _____, but who don’t understand what goes into that sort of personality or success (aka the sacrifices or allowances we might make as individuals to make those aspects of ourselves possible).

    Example: Guys might be inspired by the fact that I create brilliant works of art (in words or color), but not accept that it demands a certain level of ‘alone time.’ They might desire me for my intelligence, my apt wit, or my sharp honesty, but not accept that my mind Keeps Going and will continue to Go On, because that is what keeps me sharp, and funny, and learned.

    I hate having to self-censor (ie: reject people interested in me for a part of me, who I know aren’t prepared for the whole of me, by displaying bluntly the extent of my strong personality), but it seems otherwise that I’m ‘leading people on.’ I’m definitely not ready to sacrifice aspects of my individualism. Not now, not yet. And that is exactly what is becoming so clear to me this year, through these experiences.

    I hope I will eventually be able to build to that level, though. =)
    Thanks for sharing this devotion.

    • ladylord

      you’re very welcome. it just struck me as a bit disheartening to think that i may not be as ready as i thought i might be. it occured to me that i would have difficulty but didn’t realize just how much difficulty i would have y’know? and this sermon just hit all kinds of stuff on the head…

      i do agree that many men don’t realize that the very aspects of our characters that entice them have a great deal that created them. and they must come to understand that we are not separate but a collection of experiences, thoughts etc that make up who we are. so if they are attracted to your creativity they must allow you to have what it takes to be creative. o/w they will chafe you and wonder why you aren’t happy anymore.

      and it seems a bit unfair to have to almost drown people in the full force of yourself to prevent them from following you blindly and then blaming you for their own idiocy and near sightedness. hmmph!

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