What the promise is for.

When I was four or five, I wanted to run away. I don’t really remember what happened. Maybe Mum wouldn’t let me play with my Lego all day. Or perhaps she told me I had to eat my vegetables one too many times. For whatever reason I felt that I had enough.

Life it that house was too hard.

It was too difficult.

I wanted out.

Turns out this is often how I respond to difficulties. When things get tough, I have a tendency to simply walk away.

When a friendship becomes difficult because the other does not seem to put in the same effort.

When a job starts to become drudgery.

When I lose interest in an area of study.

My first instinct is to shut down.

To close off.

To cut others off.

I have learned, however, that I grow the most when I push through the difficulty and stick with it. I find things worth fighting for, only when I actually fight for them.

This is especially true in marriage. My wife and I got married rather young after a whirlwind courtship (we met in September, were engaged in December, and married the next July; I was 18), and have encountered a number of tough times. There have been numerous occasions when we were unsure where we would get enough money for food or rent. Times when we have been so mad at one another that we could barely stand the sight of one another.

Times when we have wondered whether it would work.

But that is a weird thing to wonder, isn’t it?

To wonder whether this “thing” would work. As if it has to go all by itself. As if my marriage is not my responsibility.

As if the longevity of my marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the way I act within that marriage. The way I choose to act.

It is a choice, after all. It is a choice to resist the urge to run, and live up to my promise. If it was always going to be easy, what would the promise be for?

It reminds me of Andrew Peterson’s song “Dancing in the Minefields.”

We went dancing in the minefields.
We went sailing in the storms.
It was harder than we dreamed,
but I believe that’s what the promise is for.
We bear the light of the Son of Man
so there’s nothing left to fear.
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands,
till the shadows disappear.

This is harder than we dreamed,
but I believe that’s what the promise is for.

It is hard to live up to our promises, but promises wouldn't be promises if it wasn't going to be hard to live them out. 

General - Dancing in the Minefields

Maybe we need to count the cost a bit more before we make our promises, so that we will be willing to carry them out when it actually begins to cost us something.