Tag Archives: Motivation

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

The Mind of Christ – The Obedience That Wins

While humility, prayer, and seeking the face of God are the first three legs of our race towards victory, obedience is the power that pushes us across the finish line and unleashes the blessings of God in our lives. This analogy to the relay in track and field illustrates that obedience is only powerful when done out a heart of love – a heart set on humility which in turn leads us to prayer and seeking the face of God. If our obedient action is not motivated by love, then it is motivated by greed or by fear. Too many of us are obedient to God because we simply want to use Him as our cash cow!

 Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Cash cow obedience is not born out of love but instead is born out of our greed and self-seeking.

Jesus gives an example of obedience that does not please Him when he describes the people that put ashes on their cheeks to show they are fasting. Although they were being obedient to fast (for Christ says when and not if you fast), the motivation behind it all was the adulation of the people around them. In actuality, their action had morphed into a form of idolatry, with their god being the need to be recognized. Since the penchant to be glorified rather than give God all the glory comes out of fear (of not being good enough, or of rejection), we see that it cannot please God for it is not done out of love. This is why Cain’s offering was not pleasing to God; why Jesus called the seemingly perfect and obedient keepers of the law brood of vipers; why our obedience at times do not yield any fruit for us

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Obedience is simply a seed. Just like any other seed, it has to be sown into ground that has been fertilized by love to be effective and yield fruit

Since the opposite good is evil (wickedness) and anything that does not flow out of God (love) is no good, it becomes clear that the command to ‘turn away from our wicked ways’ is not simply talking about turning away from disobedience, but is also addressing obedience that is steeped in fear. Therefore, the only way to turn away from our wicked way is to turn to love. Why turn to love-driven obedience? We do it so that healing can take place in our life and we can have peace. See, while our obedience can yield fruit in other people’s lives, why we are obedient is what determines whether fruit is produced in our lives. A fantastic example of this is Prophet Jonah.  Although his preaching of the Gospel yielded the fruit of deliverance for the people of Nineveh, it produced bitterness in him because He was not obedient out of love. This is why Jonah asked God to take his life even when Nineveh was spared. Sheesh!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: What we do determines whether other people are blessed. Why we do it is what determines whether we are blessed!

Once we have truly developed the heart of love behind obedience, the question is how do we put it into practice? How do we ensure we do not fall into the trap of looking at ourselves in the mirror and forgetting what we look like as soon as we leave – of falling into complacency? (See James 1: 23 – 24).

Some Practical ways to ensure we do not fall into complacency and into disobedience are as follows:

  • Read the Word (Give no place to the devil – Ephesians 4:27): We do this by arming ourselves with the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). We have to get to the point where we are so filled up with the Word of God that it leaves no room for any junk to enter.
  • Have Accountability Partners (Bear one anothers burdens – Galatians 6:7): We help each other lift our loads when we do not forsake godly gatherings but keep each other accountable to lead a godly life
  • Stay Away from Ungodly Company (A little leaven leavens the whole lump – 1 Corinthians 5:11): We have to ensure we rid ourselves of the sin (leaven) that is leavening our lump. At times, that means we must distance ourselves from people who do not care to discard their sin for any leaven is infectious and has a tendency to spread. Once the leaven is removed, the fellowship may be restored. Note that the relationship was never broken.

Food For Thought: Those who love God obey Him because they love Him

3 Comments

Filed under Victorious Living