Sheila’s Marriage Moment: When God Asks You to Wait
Every Friday I like to run a 400-word inspirational piece about marriage. Here’s the New Year’s edition.
As the New Year dawns, many of us have made resolutions and printed out goal sheets. And we’re frantically asking: What are we supposed to do this year?
For some that question is routine. But for others it’s desperate. You and your husband would like to change your life radically, but you’re not sure how. And you so want to hear from God about His plans.
It seems to me, though, that there is a vast difference between vision and plans. God often gives us visions, but they usually aren’t very detailed. Think of all the visions in the Bible that need interpretation (Daniel or Revelation), or ideas that weren’t fully formed. He gives us a glimpse of what SORT of thing he wants us to do, but not necessarily the where or the how or the what (think Abram leaving Ur without knowing where the Promised Land would be).
It’s like what God says in Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord….
He knows the plans, but He doesn’t necessarily share them in detail!
Or think Paul in Acts 16–he knew he was supposed to minister to Gentiles (the vision), but the exact where and when (the plans) weren’t revealed to him until a very specific dream to come to Macedonia. God didn’t tell him until he absolutely needed to know.
God will likely give you and your husband a vision for your family, and it’s good to seek that vision out–to feel that calling on your life for kingdom impact.
But He’s very unlikely to share with you His plans immediately, because the most important thing, to God, is the refining of your character. And often that refining is best accomplished as we wait.
This year, God may be asking you and your husband to wait–To live, day by day, enjoying the moments, even if you don’t know what’s ahead. Can you withstand the temptation to bicker with each other because you’re both frustrated with where you’re at, and instead concentrate on supporting each other as you wait? Can you appreciate life, even if you can’t see progress?
The real test in any relationship is not how you tackle projects or changes, but how you tackle the mundane, when nothing is happening and you want it to be. Don’t put your life, or your love, on hold until the next big thing comes. Live in the moment, love in the moment, and stay open to what God is doing. That is the only way to wait well.
What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?
#1 NEW Post on the Blog: I Want to Grow Old With You!
#1 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Ways to Initiate Sex
#1 from Facebook: How to Memorize Bible Verses Using Evernote (I really loved this post–it was the most shared last week, too!)
#1 from Pinterest: Why I Didn’t Rebel (a 19-year-old explains!)
Speaking of Waiting…
In it Wayne Stiles teaches about the concept of waiting from a Christian point of view, using the Old Testament story of Joseph. It’s really profound. Here are just a few quotations:
Waiting is a very active part of living. Waiting on God, if we do it correctly, is anything but passive. Waiting works its way out in very deliberate actions, very intentionally searching the Scriptures and praying, intense moments of humility, and self-realization of our finiteness. With the waiting comes learning. I can’t think of much I’ve learned that’s positive from the times I’ve plowed ahead without waiting on God.
Or what about this one, talking about how Joseph was in prison for a further two years after the baker and the cupbearer got out:
The Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph remained forgotten for two years. Both were equally true.
And then I’ll leave you with these two, which are hard–but so on track:
We won’t experience the joy of his power if we keep running away from the pain faithfulness demands of us…
The Bible never diminishes the reality of our struggles. Not once. Instead, the Scriptures challenge us to put things in perspective. To see with both eyes.
Have Some ACTIVE Date Nights!
My daughter just wrote a great blog post about how to have a more active date night. She and I have been talking about this concept recently–how when we call for date nights for married couples we put people in boxes and we sometimes recommend the wrong things.
Think about it this way: When you’re just dating it makes perfect sense to go out for dinner a lot. You’re just getting to know each other, and you have a lot to talk about.
Once you’re married, though, if you tend to talk a lot at home, then sitting in a restaurant over dinner can be, well, boring. And then you feel guilty for it being boring.
So why not instead treat a date night like a chance to have some fun and create memories? It isn’t all about just talking–it’s about LIVING.
So she’s got 9 ideas for active date nights that can make you laugh and have an adventure together. I love it!
(And this morning my husband and I are going on a long hike, too. He has the morning off of work, but he’s working tomorrow, so I’m taking today off and working tomorrow, too!)
Okay, This Seriously Made Me Laugh
I know the sarcasm is huge, and I hope no one is too offended by this. But I seriously laughed at this spoof on what we consider proper “Christian” culture. When the fruit is all about appearances, we have some major trouble (which is the point this video was trying to make):
Now THIS Is a Smart Read–“The Bible Isn’t a Democracy”
Just read this blog post from Marc Alan Schelske about how “biblical proof texting” is really quite unbiblical.
A few quotations:
When we quote specific verses in isolation, specifically for the purpose of proving a point, we are relating to the Bible as if is a policy manual, some list of standards and practices. We treat the Bible like it is a democracy, where every verse from cover to cover has exactly equal say and weight. This is a complete misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Bible.
This is just not the case. Consider only two examples.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus does something interesting. He says “You’ve heard it said…” and then quotes an Old Testament scripture. Then he says, “But I say unto you…” and proceeds to give a new and deeper interpretation of those passages.
Do you see what’s happening? Jesus’ words (which are in scripture) supersede the verses he was quoting (which are also in scripture). Biblical commands on adultery, divorce, making oaths, and how we see our enemy all get this treatment, among others. Jesus’ action here shows us not every verse of scripture carries the same weight.
And then later on…
People often say they just believe the Bible and do what it says. This is never true! Everyone who reads the Bible makes priority decisions about which texts to give more weight to. We make the judgement that certain verses, or certain voices within scripture, have higher authority than others.
If you grew up in a more conservative or fundamentalist church and home, that statement probably feels uncomfortable to you. It may sound like I’m advocating tossing out precious truth and the authority of the Bible. I’m not. The Bible itself tells us that certain verses supersede other verses. Certain verses become the lens through which we see others. We aren’t expected to treat a story about Israel’s military campaign against its enemies with the same weight that we treat Paul’s letters to the church. Even Paul’s writing must always be subservient to and interpreted in light of Jesus’ words and actions.
It’s a really interesting read, if you’re up for it!
That’s all I’ve got for you all today! I’m going to go have a shower and head out on our hike now. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!