Who Are You Leaning On?
By: Anne Peterson
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. - Proverbs 3:5-6
It was April 1972 when Bill Withers wrote the song, Lean on Me. A song many are familiar with. It addresses how we all have pain and sorrow in our lives. That we know there will be a tomorrow. And it invites the other person to lean on me. Assuring them we can be a friend, we can help them carry on, and that at one time or another we all need someone to lean on.
I’ve always loved the song. And yet, I don’t think our spouses were made so that we fully lean on them. I think that’s God’s place.
Are we to be there to help family and friends? Yes. Especially those who become our spouses. But if we lean on others instead of leaning on God, it isn’t fair to anyone.
There are so many verses telling us to rely on God. Psalm 9:9, tells us that the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 18:2, tells us that the Lord is our rock and our fortress and deliverer. It goes on to say we take refuge in him, he is a shield. You can practically feel God’s power as you read that verse.
Psalm 55:22, tells us that God will sustain us if we cast our burden on him.
When I find myself in the card aisle trying to choose a birthday or Christmas card for my husband, it’s sometimes frustrating. I don’t always find cards that say what I want to say. The picture they paint is that of a person who is everything to us. One we can’t live without. And that’s not true.
I love my husband. I really do, but it’s God we can’t live without. And to put that on another person is unfair.
I have a confession to make. I used to be codependent on my husband. Which simply means if Mike wasn’t happy I thought I couldn't be happy. My feelings were dependent on his. But with counseling and a lot of reading I came to understand God wants me to depend on him. He’s the one I’m to rely on.
If I was to depend on Mike instead of depending on God, that is too much responsibility on him. And when things don’t work out, I’d be constantly disappointed in him. But by learning to rely on God, I’m doing what God instructs me to do. To trust him, the almighty God, the everlasting Father. The one who can do what’s impossible for man to do. I’m learning to trust the one who loves me so much he sacrificed his precious Son for me.
I’m trusting the one who started a work in me, as it says in Philippians 1:6, and who will one day complete it. The one who will never give up on me.
I’m trusting in the one who knows me better than I know myself. The one whose thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and whose ways are higher than my ways, Isaiah 55:8-9.
And the exciting thing about relying on God is that it frees up our spouses to be who they were meant to be. Someone to come alongside, to love and support. God is to be the center of our relationship, the core.
And as each of us grow closer to God, we’ll find we grow closer to one another.
I know God wanted Mike and I to be together. I prayed and committed our relationship to God, and asked him to guide and direct us. Have we struggled? Yes. But God was there for each bump in the road. And God has been open to each and every prayer, even those we never verbalized.
Sometimes we get Proverbs 3:5-6 mixed up. Instead of leaning on God, we trust in ourselves and lean on our own understanding. But God reminds us he is the one available 24/7. And like Peter who walked on water till he took his eyes off the Master, when Peter did fall, all he had to do was call on the Lord. Matthew 14:31, tells us immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. Immediately. All because of love. Oh how he loves you and me.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There:Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
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