Tea ~ Jasmine Pearls
If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I highly encourage that before I continue. So sorry to keep you in suspense for over 2 weeks! I suppose my posts could be like an end of the season cliffhanger for your favorite drama, but I don’t intend to do that to you every time.
When Greg & I got married over 5 years ago (we will have known each other for 9 years on November 4th. Man, time flies!), I knew what I was signing up for. I knew that I had to daily die to myself and my desires to have a career. If you are not yet married, you must know that you do sacrifice self for your marriage in whatever aspect that might be. It’s part of signing on the dotted line and sometimes takes a good amount of pride-swallowing to be obedient to it. You are no longer independent nor is independence a good quality to have. You must trust your spouse completely for it to work. I know that I am a trustworthy person, but how easy is it to know that about another person? Right now, I am trusting my husband to provide financially for our family completely. And also right now, Greg is trusting me to make sure our bills are paid on time and that I don’t go on shopping sprees and putting us into debt, hosting family and friends and corresponding with them on behalf of our family, keeping the house a place of sanctuary that we look forward to coming home to. We share bank accounts, a mortgage loan, car payment and numerous other things that we are both responsible for. We are transparent with one another. But at any point, one of us could make the decision to not be faithful to our vows. And then what? Our lives are so intertwined that I cannot imagine one of us without the other, even just logistically speaking with how our household functions. This is a one way street, a “can’t push a rope” situation.
I knew that I was signed up to potentially move a lot for at least the first two years of our marriage with his engineering training program that could rotate us to a new location every 3-5 months. But I was naive. I thought “Ok, just suck it up for 2 years. Then it’s your turn.” I was so wrong. 5 years into our marriage, God is revealing to me how wrongly “independent” I was trying to be. I would sometimes tell people what I would be doing if I were still single: Playing professional volleyball abroad. Coaching at a Division 1 program at the collegiate level. Traveling. In ministry full time. Any of these things. I’m sure Greg has overheard me say these things and never once said anything about it. Nor has anyone else for that matter. Maybe he/they didn’t catch the sin in that, but I’ve recently been convicted of it. NEWSFLASH: I’m NOT single. So why am I talking about something that is not and will never be? Hebrews 13:5 says “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 1 Thessalonians says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I was not thankful in this circumstance, I was discontent and complaining. The idea of having a “career” was an idol to me. God knew and knows my heart and I am so thankful to be going through this trial to put this sin to death in my life (Colossians 3:5). Discontentment is such a broad subject and can range from saying or thinking about what you would be doing if you were still single or married, switching churches because they may not have the kind of music you like (but everything about it and what they teach is Biblical), the need to upgrade to the newest, latest & greatest technological advancement when there is nothing wrong with the one you have, concern over your looks or the name brand purse your friend has. Money and stuff in and of itself are not sinful, but the motive and intentions behind it or wanting it are. I’ll say this verse again: “Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have.” This certainly applies to me and the love of a career that I have.
Let’s do this instead…”Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:12-17
Thankfulness is in there 3 times! If we are not content and thankful, then we are selfish and prideful. Saying we know better than our loving Father and Creator of the universe. Just talking about this puts a bad taste in my mouth. How offensive this is to God, let alone to my husband in not being thankful to him for his love for me and sacrifice for me. Who says he wants to get up and go to work everyday? As my own father would say, “a bad day fishing is still better than a great day at the office.” While that may be true, we still must trust our Lord in the situation He has put us in, that He knows what is best for us and not think we know better for ourselves. Because we don’t. And when we try to do it our own way and on our own strength, we get burned out and have meltdowns. Case & point in part 1 of this discussion.
Now that this sin has been brought to light, I am so much more grateful for the free time I do have. I’ve removed all money-earning from my life and stripped down those temptations to fill my time with work that I think will satisfy me. Even before I did that, the joy was gone from them and it was very clear that the only thing keeping me going was my need to please others. When we moved to Chicago a year ago, I had the opportunity to be completely free of any working obligations and start over in a new city. I HATED that idea! I was just starting to do well in Dallas and was getting really good at what I was doing. It didn’t seem fair that I didn’t get my turn for more than the blink of an eye. It was only a few months ago that God spoke to me one afternoon and told me that I wasn’t getting it. I was replacing Him with a career and that was why He kept pulling me out of all of these situations where I was doing well and/or removing the joy in them. God was giving me time to pursue Him. I get to pursue Him with my time. Not everyone has that opportunity and I was basically spitting on it like it wasn’t good enough for me. I can’t believe it took me 5 stubborn years to figure this out. I didn’t want to hear it. I sometimes wish that someone had just shaken me and said “How dare you!” because that’s what I think about it now.
But what I did sign up for 5 years ago was so worth it. I get to go through life with my best friend. I love how different we are because he is strong where I am weak and vice versa. When you sign up to get married, you also get accountability 24-7. BONUS! Your spouse will (or should) always be sharpening you to be more like Jesus. Be humble and thankful for that. They care enough about your walk with the Lord to bring it to your attention. And if it’s not a spiritual topic, it probably doesn’t matter much…so let it go and make allowances for each other’s faults and clothe yourself in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12-17). And above all, be thankful.