On Mondays at lunch, we pray (and fast) for godly men to be emboldened, for godly women to be softened, and for godly marriages to be formed and preserved in God’s timing and grace.
I probably have an overactive imagination. For instance, sometimes I imagine me being married. And by “sometimes,” I mean “with disturbing frequency.” The Married Amy is actually quite a wonderful human being. She is kind, patient, always smiling and so darn grateful to be married to someone as awesome as Whoever He Is (WHI). My laundry is always done, my interesting-and-fulfilling job is not stressing me out, my inbox is under control, I exercise multiple days a week, and WHI frequently remarks on his good fortune to have married me. Obvi.
I know, I know. It’s ridiculous on so many fronts! It’s laughable if it weren’t such a destructive lie. I’m effectively saying that changing my circumstances will magically change me into a person of virtue and grace. That the addition of this willpower-driven habit or that human relationship will fundamentally change me. Reality check: it won’t, and I know it. Truth be told, I imagine Married Amy in such glowing light because it is a subtle way for me to escape a continuing dependence on my Savior for the root-level heart surgery that only He can do.
So I’ve been trying to imagine Regular Amy – with all of her bad habits and constant need of grace – as Married Amy. And it’s not so lovely. I see that I’ve got lots of mind and heart patterns that might cause me and/or WHI lots of frustration. One of the big ones is my tendency to complain. Usually loudly. I insist on looking past the heaps of blessing in front of me and demand that my life happen on my timetable with desired gifts arriving when I want them, and often get sad or angry when it doesn’t happen quite like that. Because, you know, ingratitude is attractive, right? And I’m sure that would never cause problems in a marriage.
Honestly, my ingratitude really isn’t about singleness or marriage at all. It’s about my heart and my view of God. Who is He? What has He done and what is He doing? Can I trust Him? Does He care for me? What is my response to His work and provision for my spiritual and physical and relational needs? Those questions transcend my circumstances.
Instead of noting what I lack, what would it be to simply dwell on how absurdly gracious and generous God has been with an imaginative, envious complainer like me? A friend recently encouraged me to spend some time simply telling the Lord everything for which I’m grateful – and I want to use Monday and some of this week to do exactly that. (I invite you along if that resonates with your heart!)
To this end of greater gratitude, I really like Psalm 105 which is a retelling of God’s bringing his people out of Egypt. The first few verses are directed at the people, but the bulk of the chapter is about God’s strength and absolute governance of all of the surrounding events. The only things the people are asked to do are to give thanks, call on, make known, sing, tell, glory in, rejoice, seek, remember. All of those actions are focused on God. And that gives me a great starting point for looking at God himself instead of my circumstances or my desires or even my sin.
And somehow, I think a grateful heart is a bigger testimony to our amazing God than a well-oiled, self-glorifying life with WHI could ever be.
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
In His Grace,
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