Taking it back to the beginning

If you have ever experienced love in your life, then you understand what I'm talking about when I say that giddy feeling. You know, the feeling of being on cloud nine, of excitement, the butterflies, whatever you want to call it.

I remember when my husband I started dating and the giddy feeling I'd get when he was around, how I wanted to spend every waking moment with him and still do, and how nothing else in the world mattered but him. I'm guessing you've been there before too, but I'm also guessing you've since married that sweetheart and things aren't quite the same as they were back in the beginning.

When Dustin and I married, things changed slowly but surely. We became adults with jobs to attend to, children to care for, bills to pay and calendars to keep up with. This new life doesn't change my feelings for my awesome sauce hubs, but it's just a little different than in the beginning. I'm so grateful Dustin and I have maintained a great relationship after 15 years of marriage, but it definitely has taken work. It's involved a lot of date nights and reminiscing about the beginning of our relationship. I've read in several books and heard from hurting couples one of the best things to do for a hurting marriage is to go back to the beginning, back to when you first fell in love — those giddy feelings — and remember the joy your spouse brought you.

I believe this is the same concept in our faith walk. We were once so in love with Jesus and what he did for us, but then life happened. Then we began to spend less time with Jesus rather than invite him into our life. I believe with everything in me Jesus and our every day were meant to collide. Jesus told us in Luke 9:23 to give him access to everything, to surrender all and surrender gives us access to a fulfilled relationship with Jesus.

If you and your spouse tried to live a life apart, your marriage likely wouldn't last too long. But when we purpose in our heart to live life together, to continually go back to the beginning — dating, reminiscing, sharing, surrendering — our marriages grow and it's the same for our relationships with Jesus.

So let's take it back to the beginning. What did your first date with Jesus look like? What caused you to fall so in love with him? What was it about him which gave you such a feeling that you devoted yourself to him? For me, it was his love for me, how he traded me places on the cross and sacrificed all for me. It was the grace he extended when I made mistakes, the joy he brought in the middle of my madness and the peace he gave when I was in turmoil. When I think on those things, it ignites such a love for him inside of me: love to carry me through another day, love to fix my focus and love I can carry into my every day and to the people I meet in search of a similar love.

Maybe you feel disconnected from God's love today, perhaps it’s time to go back to the beginning. Focus on how things were when you first fell for Jesus. I encourage you to do some reminiscing and some examining of your heart. What are the things you've placed before him? What are some things you need to surrender to keep your relationship with him healthy? If you're struggling in your earthly marriage, I encourage you to apply this same principle. Take it back to the beginning. God has beautiful things for your marriage and your life, but you're going to need to surrender all.

“But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.” — Revelation 2:4.

Downs serves as a young adult/college leader at her church with her husband. She writes faith-based columns in southern Missouri newspapers.

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