Daily Archives: May 21, 2013

6 Relationship Lessons from ‘The Great Gatsby’

Be Yourself

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) portrayed himself as a rich when he first met Daisy – something he was not. In doing this, he misrepresented a part of himself that he did not like. In essence, he started off their relationship in a lie. As such, he had to become the lie he told in order to continue the relationship. Moreover, the person Daisy (Carey Mulligan) met was an idea of Jay instead of the real Jay. The real Jay was lost a long time ago in a fantasy world that He was willing to bring to reality no matter what the cost.

Fear and insecurity are the bedrock of lies when it comes to relationships. The moment you lie to yourself about who you are is the moment you begin to lose your identity. If you have misrepresented who you are to your partner, then what you have is the illusion of a relationship. In truth, your partner does not know you, so how can he or she ever truly come to love you? Moreover, the only reason you would ever try to be someone other than you is because you do not love yourself. If you do not like you, change you instead of pretending. It takes a lot of effort to be someone else and you will not be able to keep it up forever so do not even try it.

Building a relationship on falsehood is like building a house on sinking sand. No matter how majestic the building, it will not stand the test of time. If you are going to build something, build it to last. Start off by being yourself.

Take Time to Know Your Partner  

Jay thought that he knew Daisy but he did not. What he knew was an idea of Daisy he had concocted in his head. His own emotions – which he kept bottled up for years – blinded him to reality.

Likewise, it is likely that our partners can do no wrong when in the throes of infatuation at the beginning of the relationship. But the proof of love is not infatuation but sacrifice and commitment. These take time! While Jay was committed to Daisy, Daisy married Tom instead of waiting for Jay as she had promised.

If the love you have is true, then love waits. Conversely, self-interest cannot wait but always wants what it wants now. Remember this: Though you are riding off into the sunset with your knight right now, the horse will get tired at some point and you will have to get off. The ride is just the beginning of the journey. Make sure you have someone who wants to finish the journey with you and not just looking for a thrill ride.

Remember, the end of a matter is always better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Just wait!

Know what Motivates Your Partner

The love of money was what primarily drove Daisy and Myrtle (Isla Fisher). They could never be happy with anyone who did not have money – no matter how much that person loved them. Don’t get me wrong, Daisy and Myrtle wanted love, but they wanted it only if it came with a ritzy lifestyle. Money was their security and security was more important than love.

It is no wonder that money is the leading cause of relationship woes. Today, when most people say I love you, what they are really saying is ‘I love what you provide me and are able to do for me’. Love that is based on ‘what you have’ is not love but fear and greed in disguise for it is based on selfishness. Take this challenge: Go to your partner and ask what they love about you? Listen closely to the answer and see if he or she simply mentions what you are doing for them.

What you want is for someone to mention your character, your heart, your loving nature, your faith etc. You want him or her to mention things that have nothing to do with material things – the material things are simply perks. Only true love stands the ‘in sickness and in health’ test.

You cannot serve both God (love) and money (Matthew 6:24)

Forget the Past   

Instead of looking at the reality of the present, Jay Gatsby kept his focus on the past and tried to re-create the past. The reality was the Daisy was a married woman, but the lens of the past kept him seeing her as his sweetheart.

Holding on to the past will only lead you to miss out on a great future. The only way to let go of the past is to focus on the present. Focus on who you are right now and how you are changed instead of allowing the muck of your past to dictate your life.

Similarly, if your partner hurt you in the past, ask yourself this question: Is this the same person or is this a different person living in the same body? Trying to punish someone who has long since changed is akin to flogging a dead horse. It simply saps all your energy without yielding any fruit.

You and Your Partner Must Flock Together

Birds of a feather flock together! When Jay met Daisy, he was flocking around a crowd he had no business flocking around. Similarly, if you are Christian, you have no business trying to entice someone to whom you are unequally yoked. Though things may seem exciting for the moment, you are more than likely flocking towards disaster.

We are warned that two cannot walk together unless they agree with one another (Amos 3:3). If you and your partner’s spirit are not in agreement, then nothing else will. The best relationships are the ones where the individuals are both flocking towards God. In this kind of relationship, both people know they are always flocking in the same direction, and they know that goodness and rewards in life are found when they reach their destination.

Do Not Play God

Jay tried to turn back the hands of time in trying to get back with Daisy. He was willing to sacrifice his integrity and himself to give her whatever she wanted. He wanted to be her god with whom she would feel safe, secure, and loved.

Here is the problem with being someone’s god: You can never satisfy the person completely for you are not God. Trying to become a god puts undue pressure on you and sets up your partner for disappointment for they will make an idol of you. It eventually leads to unhappiness.

Today, instead of trying to be perfect in your relationship, just simply move in the direction of perfection daily.

4 Comments

Filed under Relationships

2 Things You Must Do to Experience Heaven on Earth

God desires that we live a life that is abundant in every way imaginable (see John 10:10). Not only does He want us to enjoy the treasures of eternal life in heaven, He wants us to enjoy a portion of heaven right here on earth. If you do not believe me, perhaps you will believe Jesus. Here is how He puts it:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life – Mark 10:29-30

It is clear that Jesus distinguishes between what we inherit in this life versus what we inherit when we pass through the door of death. In this life, we have the ability to receive a hundred fold in material wealth (lands and houses) and be awash in enriching and meaningful relationships (family and friends).

But because we live in a fallen world, we are to increase a hundred fold in persecutions in this life as well. Even so, God tells us that He will deliver us from all negativity that comes our way (Psalm 34:19) for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Moreover, great is our reward in heaven for enduring these persecutions. Therefore, persecutions are simply opportunities for us to be victorious in this life and store up treasures for the life to come.

Here are two things you must do if you are ever going to experience heaven right here on earth

Surrender Your Will

In other words, you must surrender your stinking thinking for the sweet thoughts that God has to prosper you and to give you a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). Many times, the way that seems right to us leads to terrible consequences (see Proverbs 14:12) but the way of God leads to honor, riches, and life.

Solomon understood this and so He asked for wisdom to do God’s will. Jesus also understood this and so cared not about His own will (see John 5:30).

Lightbulb MomentThe result of surrendering wholeheartedly to the will of God is wholehearted obedience to His voice and commandments. When you do this, He promises that blessings will overcome us wherever we are and whatever we do. Just read all the blessings He has promised us in Deuteronomy 28:1-14! How incredible. God will always make good on this promise for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).

If you love yourself, you will surrender to His will. If you want to know His will, start reading the word of God. The word of will speak into your heart.

Surrender Your Heart in Humility

A great reason to surrender your heart to God is because your heart is what He examines (1 Samuel 16:7). God wants to perform surgery on your heart but you must willingly surrender it to Him – God is a gentleman and not a tyrant. When you do, the first thing He does is remove all those hardened areas of your heart – areas of hurt, fear, insecurities, anxiety, and turmoil. He takes all the muck out of your so that you can start to enjoy your life. Instead of fear, you can enjoy love. Instead of anxiety, you can enjoy peace.

Lightbulb MomentWhen you open your heart up to God is when you open your heart up to love in all its forms.

When you submit your heart to God is when He is able to purify it so that you can see Him (see Matthew 5:8). No one see’s God without seeing the attributes of God. So when you see God, you will surely see love, goodness, mercy, kindness, patience, miracles, favor, peace, council, and so much more in your life. When you are poor in spirit (humble) is when you inherit all the goodies of the kingdom of heaven right here on earth (see Matthew 5:3).

I want to encourage you today to get over yourself (your past mistakes, your pride, your will) and surrender all you are to Him. You will not regret it.

4 Comments

Filed under Inspiring, Victorious Living