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Kind of Wrong

By |November 24th, 2013|

By now, I think an extremely significant portion of the internet-using population has read the article, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”

Seth Adam Smith, a more or less professional blogger, has some great points about what pop culture thinks marriage is, and what it actually should be.

But I’m here to say that I think there’s something missing in his theory. Not much, but a critical juncture in the plan. He’s not wrong. He’s just kind of wrong. Going into marriage thinking What will this do for me? will always land you in the lukewarm water of dissatisfaction. But there’s more to a holy relationship than just doing things for your spouse.

With thanks to Joe, the author of this GoTandem devotional I’ve just finished reading several times, here’s some thoughts on Smith’s viral views on vows.

For marriage not to be for you would imply that God is working in you only to be a servant of somebody else. While that is admirable, serving others is not a means to an end, but a “slow deconstruction and reassembling of two human beings who were made to fit together but don’t even come close anymore.” Marriage is for you, but it’s for your holiness, and not your happiness. Holiness is hazardous to your ego.

Marriage is a powerful tool God uses to break down the old you and raise up a new you in its place. But you can’t fix your own brokenness. You can’t expose your own blind spots. Only God can. And God does. God wants to transform your heart, expose your weaknesses, and reinforce your fortifications; the spillover of becoming a servant is a side effect of his renewal process. And marriage is sure to expose your blind spots, and make darn sure that you know just how selfish you really are.

“Serving” people with a selfish heart will create resentment and bitterness. It places an invisible burden on your loved one’s shoulders to “earn” that service, and that’s not how God wants it to be. So let’s take Smith’s advice on one condition: that it is not you who serves your spouse, but God who loves them through you.

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Is It Meaningless?

By |November 18th, 2013|

It’s one of those weeks where my thoughts get jumbled in the emotional end-of-the-year chaos, for many reasons. Holidays can tend to make me unstable and random. My normal ADD seems to be worse than usual. I dive into something. I immerse myself in some project that completely distracts me from the dark emptiness trying to creep into my soul.

Last week’s blog, ’Tis the Season, addressed a little of how people treat the holidays less like a special time and more like an excuse to become especially shallow.

I have the opposite problem. My holidays are spent in a deep, deep place. A place of perspective, which normally would be a positive thing, but, with full disclosure, Ecclesiastes repeating theme becomes very real to me. “Everything is meaningless… everything is meaningless…”

The Ecclesiastes 1 and 2 subtitles in the NIV say, in this order, that “everything, wisdom, pleasures, folly, and toil” are all meaningless.

It doesn’t really leave much to have meaning.

 

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‘Tis the Season

By |November 10th, 2013|

Forgive me in advance for my candor and potentially harsh words. But if they do not apply to you, please take them for what they’re worth.

Honestly, some people may think it’s to early to think about Christmas. I saw some Christmas lights up the weekend after Halloween. People love to get cozy by the fire, bundle up in a coat (or in Tucson’s case, a light sweater), and just bathe in the magic of the last 60-90 days of the year. But it’s not all season’s swell greetings as it should be.

K-Mart has created quite the hubbub on the news and social networks by announcing that they’ll be open on this Thanksgiving Day, 2013.

Now, to be fair, there are tons of businesses open that day, including service industry companies, medical institutions, restaurant establishments, telecommunications & power utility companies, and other essential services.

Lots of people work on holidays, including Thanksgiving in particular.

But for some reason, the outrage over this is different. K-mart is a retail company, selling only goods, and non-essential ones at that.

Thanksgiving is the gateway to Christmas, that most holy of times when we take extra time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior and Messiah.

We, in general, get uppity at the thought of ushering in the materialistic aspect of  American Christmas…

…too soon.

We’re fine with the Christmas “season.” We want it, actually. It’s the time of year where we pay special attention to the “specialty” of how the faith we call Christianity came to be. But for a lot of Americans, that simply means the delay of making Christmas what it shouldn’t be.

Everybody expects the Christmas “rush.” Most participate. Though today, trends lean toward Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays. Just because you’re not “rushing” to the mall or some outlet store for a sale doesn’t mean you’re completely averted to the storm of the season’s trappings.

Personally, I love, and I mean love, December… The lights, the cold, the festive spirit in the air. The coming of a day off spent with family and friends and giving to each other and…

and…

…And then January comes. Spirits dip, the atmosphere mellows, and life goes back to… normal.

Why does normal have to be so boring and mundane????

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To Forgive

By |November 3rd, 2013|

It’s my third time reading The Shack, and I learn something new every time I read it.

This particular time I was struck by the details of forgiveness. Without giving away spoilers, suffice it to say there is an offense committed against the main character, Mac, and he must cope with his offender’s actions.

God calls Mac to forgive his enemy. He elaborates further to say that forgiveness is not about approving of the sin, or forgetting it. Neither does forgiveness mean Mac trusting his offender, nor establishing a relationship with him.

All that being said, when it actually comes down to the practical act of forgiving in marriage, things get… complicated, sometimes.

The relationship is a unique one because we often confuse forgiveness with, well, just about anything else.

In marriage, it seems to say, “It’s ok.” Which it’s not.

We seem to say, “I trust you,” when we don’t.

It seems to mean, “Our relationship is fine,” when it’s not.

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