O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
"When I marry, Milholland will become my middle name, right Mommy?" piped up my seven year old last week.
"Yes, honey, just like Mommy you will get a new name when you get married."
Clara then proceeded trying out the last name of every boy she knows that she finds even remotely appealing. Suddenly some of these boys became more or less attractive on the sole basis of how good their last name sounded with her first. This little exercise reminded me of the time in college when I met a very handsome, friendly and godly young man whom I repelled the second I found out his last name was Shannon. There was absolutely no way I was going through life as a perpetual stutter.
Hi. I'm Shannon Shannon.
That was definitely NOT going to work for me.
But eventually I did find a name that fit and not because it sounded good with Shannon (although I think it kind of does). It fit because I was inspired by the one who bore that name. He is my guy and I want to be a credit to his name. I belong to him and he belongs to me.
Belonging should influence my behavior.
Because my children are mine, I give them grace.
Because my husband is mine, I speak kindly about him.
Because my friend is mine, I keep her confidence.
But the truth is I'm not always a credit to my husband's name. Sometimes I undermine his authority with our kids. Or I overspend even when I know better. Or I tell a story better left unsaid because I want the laugh more than I want him to feel respected. My track record isn't spotless in my other relationships either.
And sometimes I'm not the one who does a poor job at belonging.
You give your child the very best of your heart and home, only to have him walk away from it and not return.
You give your spouse the best years of your life, only to have her leave you.
You give your friend your time, only to have her take advantage of your kindness.
So how can I allow belonging to influence my behavior? By relying on His perfect faithfulness. When I glorify His name, He gives my mind patience to deal with another request from my kids. When I exalt Him, He gives my heart room to love my husband another day. When I adore him, He me the confidence to be a better friend.
O Lord, You are my God. When I choose Him, I choose faithfulness. Belonging influences my behavior.