We Don’t Get To Choose

I was talking to a woman yesterday who’s been betrayed and searching for answers. She’s doing very well and working hard to wrap her mind around the mess of the betrayal. With a strong grasp on theology and a passion for purpose in life, she’s working to make sense out of this in the eyes of God, the eyes of her spouse and what seems like a thousand onlookers at her daughter’s school.

I was sharing with her that this may in fact be the opportunity for transformation. We don’t always get to pick how transformation is packaged in life. Sometimes it’s packaged in an encounter at church or through a weekend retreat or something of those sorts, and yay for that. Other times it’s packaged in a great counseling session or a book which causes you to see things differently.

But I have found in life that more times than not, transformation comes packaged horribly, disgustingly. It’s almost as if the package says inherently in its wrapping “Do not open this package. You don’t want this. Run away from me. I will wreck your life. NO ONE wants THIS package.”  

My infidelity being exposed and made public was a package that showed up on Samantha’s doorstep. It seemed like the end of us, the end of life, the end of financial stability, and the end of happiness in our home as a family. It was humiliating to Samantha, to my reputation, to our church and the hundreds of onlookers who came to know of my moral failure. It seemed we were in a vacuum and every close friend and safe person we thought we could talk to was being sucked away from us almost overnight. Those that helped baptize my kids, those that worked closely with me every day, those that I talked to almost every single day, were seemingly gone in an instant. Our kids were five, four and six weeks old. Life itself was being sucked out of both of us, none more so than Samantha. We needed help and had no one. Samantha said more times than I could count, “I never signed up for this.”

This package ended up being the very transformation Samantha had literally prayed for, for years. Samantha had been praying desperately for things to change with my relationship with my boss, with my approval addiction, with my travel schedule and with my controlling tendencies in the home and in my leadership.  I was a wrecking ball.  I had a messiah complex. I was becoming more and more a person Samantha despised.

We don’t get to pick how transformation comes often times, or how it’s packaged, but we’re sure glad when it comes. It’s not uncommon for Samantha to stand on stage now, almost 9 years later, and do interviews or consult with other betrayed spouses and say literally word for word “I wish it would have come a different way, but it was the very answer to thousands of prayers I had prayed.” Yes, if it could have been packaged in a DUI, in a minor car crash, a near death experience or just financial failure she would have chosen that.

I would have chosen that too.

But, it came this way, due to my own selfishness and self-absorption.

Perhaps this is a package you don’t want, but is the very change and life transformation you both want to see, need to see and have been praying to see.

How you respond, what type of help you get, and where you get that help are all factors which will decide if it’s going to be transformative or simply destructive.

Note: for some of you, I know your answer will be “But Samuel, I thought we were doing great. I didn’t even know we needed this transformation.  I thought our life was perfect.” I get it. I really do. However, though we may be totally unsuspecting of our need for transformation, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need for change in our life. It doesn’t mean there isn’t new life available for you both. Though you may not have been aware of some things, it doesn’t minimize the fact that how you choose to respond to your own infidelity or your spouse’s will determine the quality of life moving forward. It hurts like hell to be on the betraying side. It’s not suck it up and move on. It’s do whatever you have to do to heal and find new life and peace in your own recovery. You can’t control what they do, but you can control what you do in response.

I pray you find hope today and find comfort to take another step forward in your own painful, yet transformative journey. 

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