Have you ever had a moment when something just clicked? Something you had such a hard time conceptualizing before? Nine times out of ten these moments don’t just happen. They take time, consideration, and maybe even practice.
I remember having my first great run. I had been working on stamina for at least a year, on and off. One day I decided to go on a run after school. Nothing seemed different. I did everything the same as I would on any day. Yet on this day, I was so comfortable in my run that I lost track of time. I had never easily run over one mile, but before I knew it I was at a mile and a half and not even tired. Then two miles. I ran two and a half miles before I considered stopping. In just one day, I more than doubled my mileage. No tricks, something just clicked.
Weirdly enough, I had a similar experience the day after my wedding. Everything I knew about relationship with God became so incredibly tangible. All this time, I looked so forward to completing my relationship with Austin, and my greatest joy was God giving me not only a precious man, but more of Himself. The beauty of my relationship with Jesus clicked. Here are three reasons how.
1. I have a constant accountability partner.
Austin and I have a (sometimes) sweet way of telling one another when we are failing. Like I wrote in “Dirty Dishes and God’s Grace,” he never forgets to tell me about my inability to correctly wash dishes! Likewise, I rarely neglect to inform him of his habit of leaving clothes in the bathroom floor. Both these very tangible examples are simply part of the reality that I have an constant accountability partner. Yet that accountability goes far beyond the mere tidiness of our home.
Austin knows when I am gossiping. He sees through my pride. He has a way of recognizing and calling out my sinful nature even when I am unable to see it. It is such a blessing, yet it is so hard to hear.
The same is true of a Christian. Having the Holy Spirit living within my being so quickly reminds me of my utter inability to keep my covenant with my God. Whether it is a sly thought, a critical look upon another, or an outright, blatant sin, the Holy Spirit is continually showing me and convicting me of my sinful nature.
Here’s the difference: My covenant with Austin will only go so far as both of us are on this earth. My covenant with my God is everlasting. I have a choice. I can choose to wallow in my insufficiency, I can choose to rebuke the accountability that has been placed into my life, or I can choose to utilize it to produce fruits of the Gospel. That is the beautiful thing about my relationship with Jesus. Obviously, one of those options will bode better for my for my own growth, but The Holy Spirit is going to chase after me until the latter is my desire.
2. I strive to be better for a greater purpose.
The world likes to give me a nice long list of purposes I could have in this life time: be a good person, influence your work field, make a bunch of money, look twenty forever! Okay so not all of those are said out loud, but they are definitely influencing how women young and old live our lives. I have always been told to strive to be better, but I have never had something to work for that wasn’t myself. That is, not until marriage entered my reality.
I must strive to be better for the purpose of my marriage. The small sins I was able to keep hidden before, not only effect me, but have an effect on the father of my future children. They can either foster or hurt my communication with my forever partner and confidant. Yes, Austin will only be my husband as long as “we both shall live”. He is, however, who God gave me for this world, and my strivings must now take into account his wellbeing. I am no longer my own.
In a much more eternal sense, my purpose on this earth can no longer be to promote my own name. I have to fine tooth comb everything through the Gospel’s lens. The reality that more lies beyond the layers of this earth is both exhilarating because I have a hope that lies in heavenly places and horrifying because not everyone has that same hope. If my words and actions are not pointing toward the One who holds all, what are they pointing toward? Mere worldly pleasures? Ideologies that will only last as long as the grass is green? How am I reflecting the Gospel? How is my witness building the Kingdom of God?
3. I have lost my own life.
Which brings me to my final point. One of my favorite lines in a song goes,
‘I do’ are the two most famous last words, the beginning of the end. But to lose your life for another I’ve heard, is a good place to begin. Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down.
Marriage has been the most surprising example of laying life down for another. I feel so lucky that God gave us such a tangible example of His Gospel through marriage.
Losing your life does not mean hulling yourself up in your house and never leaving when you get married, but it has been good to live a life so different from the one before marriage. It just feels right. It is so natural to live with the one I love. I am in a better follower of Jesus for it. I am more focused on my relationship with The Lord. Friends, this is how He designed my life to be! And it is so satisfying.
In the same way, He designed us to be in covenant relationship with Him.
He is the only one who can bring peace to our broken and scattered lives. When we are not married to His being, we are not living in the beautiful life He has prepared in advance for us.
Marriage is awesome. I am loving this life so. I am also reminded of the relationship we are called to have with a Groom so much greater than my already amazing man. This relationship promises so much more than anything this world has to offer. It is a relationship He has pursued since before the beginning of time. He pursued Israel out of Egypt and into the promise land. He continued pursuing them when they turned their backs upon Him. He allowed His own being to come from their line to make Himself available to all of us. He pursues us now with His Holy Spirit, chasing us even when we stray from Him. He will continue pursuing us, changing our desires all the way so long as we seek Him. Join in His call. Seek Him as He has sought you.