Since I picked on one of his songs in the last episode I figure I would give him props for admitting that there is indeed a part of the human condition in one of his songs. The song “Half of My Heart” by John Mayer, actually does do a good job of outlining a human condition, primarily a male condition. We actually compartmentalize our hearts. We put different relationships and different activities in different little boxes. Moreover we move things from smaller boxes to bigger boxes and back again given the amount of perceived happiness that we feel at any given moment. In the song, Mayer describes a man who has many halves to his heart and they are all filled with different emotions and thoughts, however he continually points out that he cannot be in love with someone. The explanation that I gather from the lyrics is that he cannot love someone because it would only be with half of his heart. So in reply to my own explanation I will pose this thought, too many of us love too much with only half of our hearts, or even half-heartedly.
Loving halfheartedly means that you are never fully invested into something or someone else. It’s basically the same concept as saying something without really meaning it. Have you ever done something half-heartedly? For instance, I can recall going to a high school play years back to support the kids in it, but I really didn’t want to be there. I played games on my phone the whole time. Insulting to the kids, yes, halfhearted yes, and something much more profound than those things, it was selfish. I can hear you moaning, did he really use the word selfish again? Yes, and the reason is that selfishness was the root of the problems in my marriage. It was the problem from the beginning, maybe on both sides, but I can only speak from mine, she can write her own book(sorry, I didn’t mean that mean, I actually think her insight would be amazing). The fact that I, and the rest of us too, love halfheartedly is because we are at our core selfish beings. I continue to admit that I am a selfish person. I struggle with that daily. I have moments throughout the day where I step outside myself and see a spoiled child trying to hold on to everything around him like it all belongs to him. It’s a scary thought.
This is what I have come to realize about the selfishness inside of me. Selfishness has done terrible things to me, and to the people in my life. It has divided my heart into all of these little places and compartments that I placed relationships in and gave them no room to roam free and get any bigger than they are in the beginning. It’s like everything was stuck in infancy. More than being stuck in infancy, everyone is kept at arm’s length. The problem with everything being at arm’s length is that there is never the ability to build any kind of foundation or strength there. In marriage that is a fatal flaw. It is a cancerous disease that eats away more effectively than acid on metal. If you never let your spouse inside of the struggles you are dealing with, how can you possibly grow close to them. If you never reveal the deepest depths of your soul to the person who you tell everyone is your best friend the how will you ever feel anything but loneliness. One of the things I told a friend when we first decided to divorce was that I had felt all alone in a crowded room for a long time. I wanted so bad to blame her for that. I wanted to blame her distance from me on her. The fact that I see now is that I was the one standing there holding her at arm’s length when she was always the one trying to get inside of who I really was. Again, it is a sobering thought that has taken much pain to realize. It is painful to admit that I only loved my spouse with half of what I should have loved her with. Had God not revealed that mistake to me, I would have gone from that relationship to another one doing the same thing, more on that in a minute. I want to open up for a minute something that has been revealed to me in the past few days.
The heart is actually a much bigger place than we can imagine. The problem that we face as human being is that we want to shrink it down into something that we can understand. In fact I actually did that with a lot of success, the problem is that the success was my own undoing. God has no intention of us loving with a human understanding. Jesus talks about love a lot in the recordings of the book of John. A worldly view of love is a compartmentalized love, where everything has a place. The Godly view of love is Agape love, love that knows no bounds. The Greeks had three definitions of love, there is eros, or romantic love, philos, or brotherly love, and agape, or unlimited love. Yes I have moved the definition of agape just a bit. Ancient Greek is a dead language so I can speculate a little if I want to. Christianity, has summed up agape love as the love the God has for us, or even love that we cannot understand. Those are good definitions. I have no problem with them, yet I am coming to understand a different side of it as my heart is being remodeled. Love, the love that God wants to put inside of us is limitless. After all, if God is giving us love that is limitless through His grace and His redemption, then why would the love he places inside of us be any different. Why would God want to give us something that is contrary to His nature. The fact is he wouldn’t, and He doesn’t. Let me give you proof in my life right now.
In the past two weeks as I have confronted myself, and seen what was really inside and asked for God to tear me apart and make me what He would have me, and not what I would have I have seen what this kind of love is. This is how I know what I am saying is real. I am closer to my ex-wife now than I ever was when we were married! Why, how, that’s not possible, you’re crazy, or stupid or just insane, no you’re drunk, or dude!? I hear your brain screaming at me. But it is true. The day I hit the bottom, I went to her. I hit my knees, actually I sat on the edge of her bathtub and bawled my eyes out apologizing, and secretly hoping she would take me back. It was the first time in my entire life with her that I really wanted her to forgive me for being the fake, and the liar that I had been. Come to find out that she had forgiven me a long time ago. And as I took stock of my wounds and began to let God heal them, he did something else amazing. He revealed to me what kind of love I needed to have for people, namely her. It was not a love that I could understand, or box up in a worldly understanding. It was a love beyond the limits of human understanding. It was indeed agape love. Now does that mean that we will get back together? If that is your question you are missing the point. It’s okay I missed the same point last week too. In fact I called a really good friend who made me answer a very tough question. The question was this, if God has someone else as a partner in mind for you further down the road can you live with that? My answer is yes, it was then and it is now. However I am coming to understand why I answered yes better now than I did a week ago. As my heart is being healed and remodeled, my love is being increased for those in my life. She will always be there, we share a child, and twelve years of memories and work together. But more than that, God has revealed that my concentration on her was flawed in how I loved her as a husband. It is not about holidays and anniversaries, or apologies and soft kisses in the morning. Real love is about loving someone above yourself and serving them in Christ. All the other stuff is just icing on the cake, but if you only eat the icing you get a belly ache. You have to have the foundation before you can ever build anything else in your life. That is my focus now, how can I serve her in Christ as a friend who knows her very well, and a man who cares deeply for her well-being above all other selfish notions that I would have. The point I am hammering is that God has already redeemed the relationship, I am free to love her without the bounds of worldly understanding or categories. It’s not about whether we get back together or anything like that. It’s about my ability to serve her as friend first, as a Christian brother. It just so happens to be that I am her ex-husband.
Time will tell what gets built on my foundation. Right now my focus must be on making sure that I am standing on the firm foundation of Christ. I can be nothing for anyone else if I am not rooted firmly there. Neither can you. You are not strong enough to stand against the world on what you would build on your own. This is another one of those “trust me” moments. Only a heart opened to the limitless bounds of God’s love can truly make a marriage work. Ask yourself honestly if you know that boundless existence. Do not go one more day without seeking it. I made the mistakes, so you don’t have to. Jesus died for you, so you didn’t have to be alone in this life. Let me close with this.
The world will never understand me. It will never understand how a man who loves someone so much cannot be seeking to gain from that. It will never understand that through all of the pain I have blamed on someone else that I can come out on the other side saying that I love them more now than before. It will never understand what limitless bounds exist in a heart that has been set free to love like God loves. The world only understands love from a family standpoint, and from a romantic standpoint. It has boxed itself in with a Hollywood, hot link understanding of what God would have for his children. I pray that as it continues to not understand me that my love for her, and other people, is a testimony to whoever would come into her life of what he really needs, and what she truly deserves, that without God, you simply cannot do it the right way.
PS. To the haters…
This is not a game I am playing to get her back. This is not a plot to lure her in. there are many conversations between us that you will never know about, and don’t need to know about that back me up. I am through playing the worlds games. I am seeking God’s will, and only His will. My desires have brought me nothing but ash, but even in the midst of my troubles the desires God has given me have provided more than I have ever had in my life. His dreams are so much bigger, and I have surrendered everything in my life to Him. My heart, my wants, my dreams, everything all belong to Him. That is the only way I can look you in the eye and say what I have said. If you are not convinced by my words on paper, then I challenge you to surrender yourself completely to Christ, and MEAN IT! Then you can come back and call me a liar. But when you are set free, you will know the joy I am speaking of, and you will thank God, no need to come back to me.