We fast and pray on Mondays for a) men to lead, b) women to soften and c) God-honoring marriages for those who desire them.
I recently went on a weekend trip to Jamaica with a dear friend to enjoy the sun and the sand. We called it a “friendmoon” because neither of us, it appears, is taking a honeymoon anytime soon. Not having a wedding is no reason to miss the beauty of the Caribbean in the dead of winter, we thought.
Unfortunately, our “resort” ended up being more like a cheap hostel near some water. “All inclusive” didn’t include wine or bottled water. There was peacock poo in the hallway. The buffet was sketchy. Our first hours at the resort made us seriously question why we had ever spent money on the trip.
As the trip wore on, we realized if we didn’t consciously adjust our attitudes, it was going to be miserable. So we started writing down all the ridiculous things that happened to us, and my friend coined a helpful motto: “Not perfect, but really good.” She felt God wanted to teach her heart on this subject – that nothing will ever be perfect on this side of eternity, but don’t miss the really good things He is doing in our lives right now. And so as the two of us tried to tan on the cold and windy beach (unsuccessful)…or as we ate a lovely lobster dinner with an absurdly loud dance remix of “Call Me Maybe” throbbing in the background, we just looked at each other, laughed and said, “Not perfect, but really good.”
Isn’t this so much of life? We look at our interminable list of summer weddings or play with our friends’ beautiful children or flip past another ridiculous online dating profile or endure the ever-empty spot in bed next to us and think, “Seriously? This is definitely not perfect.”
But what if we can look at those painful places where our present reality and our expectations diverged and still say, “Not perfect, but really good.” What if we could let go of how we thought it was supposed to go just long enough to see and hear that God is still at work? What if our underlying hope was so deeply anchored in God’s character and love that we could stay calm when life unfolds in the most unexpected ways?
So, yes, I thought that getting married somewhere between 24 and 27 would be perfect. Ideally also before my younger brothers. I thought dating should be intuitive and easy. I thought that I should not be the last girl from my college friends to get married. I’m 29, two of my three younger brothers are getting married this summer, I’m a case study in “how to date badly,” and one of my last single college girlfriends is getting married in May.
Certainly not perfect, but really good. All of those marriages are for people on my Monday prayer list. My future sisters-in-law are amazing, godly gals. I’m grateful for what the Lord has taught me about Him over the past few years, including sometimes through (or despite) my dating disasters. I’m grateful for the wonderful encouragement of the fast.pray community and other writers. I’m humbled by God’s persistent faithfulness and grace. Those are really good things.
So, this week, wherever your chasms are between reality and your expectations, I pray that God would anchor our underlying hope in Him, and then when life’s details take a bizarre turn, be able to say “Not perfect, but really good.”
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [Romans 5:1-5]
By His Grace,