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Everything Falls Apart: Who Am I Again?

April 26, 2011

This week we continue our five-week series entitled, Everything Falls Apart, exploring the major reasons why married couples wake up and realize they just don’t know each other anymore. For your convenience, I have linked parts 1, 2, 3 here.

From morning to night, our lives are filled with noise.

We wake up and turn on the TV or radio while we get ready for work. We get in our cars and turn on the radio. We sit at our desks and listen to music. Then, we get in the car and head home for an evening filled with television before falling asleep to wake up and do it all over again.

I’m certainly not casting stones here. There are times when I get in to the shower or lay my head down at night and, in the quiet, I think, “is this the first time I’ve stopped to actually hear myself think all day? Have I filled my life with so much other noise that this is the first time I’ve pushed everything aside to process my thoughts?”

Perhaps even more startling: What about the voice of God? If I haven’t even made time to hear myself, what have I heard from the one whose voice is described as still and small?

I’ll bet I’m not alone in thinking that perhaps, in the midst of all the noise of life, I might lose track of myself, of who I am and what I think and where I stand in my relationship with God.

I recently read that Americans, on average, see 3,000 advertisements a day. That’s at least 3,000 voices screaming for our attention and longing to fill our minds with noise. Those are just the unsolicited voices. Think, for a moment, of all of the other voices we invite in to our lives to fill our minds. Do you see how easy it is for us to lose sight of ourselves?

There are, of course, legitimate and illegitimate reasons for the noise that fills our life.

Michelle and I have often talked about the difficulties she faces as a stay at home mom. 95% of her day is spent in conversation, debate and negotiation with people aged five and under. “I used to be able to have real conversations with grownups,” she says half-jokingly. “I used to know about current events and have an opinion. I used to enjoy culture and meeting new people, going on adventures and reading great books. Now, for the most part, by the time I get all the kids in bed, I feel too tired and disengaged to do any of that.”

No matter what the reason, I’d guess that a lot of people feel very similarly; like their lives are so filled with noise from distractions or other responsibilities, that they don’t even feel like they know who they are anymore. This begs the question, if you constantly feel disconnected from yourself, how do you think your husband/wife feels?

Just as none of us intend to lose the spark of connection with our spouse, I doubt anyone ever intends on losing sight of who they are as an individual. It’s something that happens slowly, over time. It creeps up on you and, before you know it, you’ve become so focused on the world “out there” that you’re no longer grounded in yourself or connected to God.

The end result of this reality is that, by losing sight of yourself, you lose sight of what you bring to your marital relationship. By losing connection to the voice of God, you lose the reminder that you play a role in the spiritual growth of your husband/wife. “Why,” you might ask, “did my husband/wife ever fall in love with me in the first place?” The real question, however, is, what of you is still there to love?

This week, I bring a challenge to seek some quiet in the midst of your busy life. Turn off the radio on the way home from work and let your thoughts wander. While the first five minutes might be excruciating, it won’t take long for you to begin the journey of being yourself, full of imagination, your own thoughts and, perhaps, prayer.

Discussion Questions
Think back to the person you were when you met your spouse:

What were you passionate about?

What made you laugh?

What did you want to know more about?

What did you want to do better?

What made you most proud of yourself?

What was it about your spouse that you fell in love with?

Now answer all of these questions about the person you are today.

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