Why This Odd Fella Can Be Hard to Love

[caption id="attachment_1960" align="alignleft" width="259"]We couldn't figure out the meaning behind the name of this restaurant, and then it hit us. We are the odd fellas. We couldn't figure out the meaning behind the name of this restaurant, and then it hit us. We are the odd fellas.[/caption]

Have you ever learned or taught a spiritual truth, only to then be challenged by it and fail? Just this weekend, I was deeply moved as I was typing these words for something else I am working on, “Sanctification is not about becoming a so-called better Christian; it is about knowing Christ better.”

I typed those words early Saturday morning in Floyd, Virginia, a small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My mom had taken my sister and me for a weekend getaway. She spoiled us. I’m sure my sister agrees that it felt good to be the daughter for the weekend instead of the mom.

As I woke up early on Monday morning in my own bed, refreshed from a great time away, I wrote an article before the rest of the family started to move. It was kind of a humorous piece about how you would never guess what I did on Friday night. My step dad calls Floyd the place where the hippies and the hillbillies hang out together. I discovered the gloriousness of this truth when my mom took Brooke and I clogging in the country store. I filled the article with the indulgent details of a town that truly supports local business from the farmer’s organic food in the restaurants to the beautiful artwork and woodwork in our hotel room. The diversity of the people--old, young, black, white, hillbilly, hippie, visiting Bobo’s, European, and even tourists from the Philippines--dancing with one another to the banjo and violin on Friday night was like a picture of heaven.

But then Monday happened. I didn’t realize it, but my scheming brain was working against those very words that I just wrote on Saturday morning. I deceivingly returned home rejuvenated to be a better wife, a better mom, and a better Christian. And I had a whole list of how I was going to pull that off this week. Thankfully, my gracious God decided to show me I'm not all that better.

I finished my article just in time to pull off my task of making breakfast and packing lunches at the same time. All I had to do was some editing and posting. But the internet wasn’t working right. With kids to get off to school, a husband to send off to work, laundry, grocery shopping, a house to shine, a dinner to make, a much-needed workout, and a softball game ahead of me, I put that on pause with the intentions of returning to it after the groceries were hunted. Let’s just make that long story short by saying my battle with the internet seemed to reflect the battle I had with my other “mom” duties. (I think the resolution to my internet problems may be in a new modem that is being shipped.) In a strange twist, I lost my article—the kind of lost that can’t be “recovered.” I thought about all the things that can’t be recovered in life.

But I refused to waste anymore time on the computer. I sucked up my loss, and took it out on my workout. But festering inside were all the obstacles that are getting in my way of being the wonderful wife and mom I could be. I thought about how disrespectful my family is when they litter my house with all their crap. I thought about how no one cares about all the trouble I go through in making healthy homemade meals, even when we have softball and baseball games every night. Do they know how hard that is to pull off? I thought about how what I really wanted to do was read my Bible but I had no time because of the responsibilities in front of me. I thought about the wasted time from the morning that could have been spent in God’s word. As I was rushing to get my daughter’s uniform clean and folded, the resentment grew. I still had a lot to pull of to get the house ready for my father-in-law’s overnight visit to see the kids play. Running way behind, the obstacles kept piling up, and I was getting uptight.

When I did pick up the kids, those sweet faces that I missed over the weekend began to irritate me. Their goofiness was only annoying me as I was giving them the lecture about how things need to change in this house. They weren’t doing their homework quick enough, they were talking way too much, and they really didn’t appreciate my awesomeness. I complained to my overworked husband on the phone as he was busting his butt to get home to help coach the game.

I thought about the price a mom pays when she does have a get away. I felt guilty for taking the trip. I was ashamed of my attitude toward my family. I had left Floyd thinking about the love that town had for all types of people, how they served one another so well with their giftedness, and I came home finding my own husband and children hard to love.

It hit me when my husband and I were reading together before bed. Here is what he read from Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas:

I think marriage is designed to call us out of ourselves and learn to love the “different.” Put together in the closest situation imaginable—living side by side, sleeping in the same room, even, on occasion, sharing our bodies with each other—we are forced to respect and appreciate someone who is radically different.

We need to be called out of ourselves because, in truth, we are incomplete. God made us to find our fulfillment in him—the Totally Other. Marriage shows us that we are not all there is; it calls us to give way to another, but also to find joy, happiness, and even ecstasy in another (50).

Thomas connected some dots about the relationship between loving your spouse and loving God. Serving my husband is pleasing to God and I learn a lot about Christ’s love for the church when I am learning to love my husband. I may not have had the time yesterday to drink deeply from God’s word, but I had every opportunity to learn more about Christ through my marriage. Which brings me back to my own quote that I had already forgotten. I was working so hard to be a so-called better Christian in all that I was accomplishing that day. My focus was on all that I was doing instead of all that Christ has already done for me.

Yes, God’s word, not my experiences and feelings are authoritative. Thankfully, I have much of his word saturated in my soul, and the work of his Spirit applying it to me. And thankfully, I have a husband who spent some time last night helping me to know Christ a little better as he read aloud to me in bed.

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11 Comments

Aimee, praise the Lord! I can

Aimee, praise the Lord! I can say with certainty that He is using what you've shared to open my eyes and bring me to a more mature understanding of my day-to-day faith. I can now identify those feelings of "not being recognized" for "all I do," and realize they are a ploy of the adversary. It seems like a simple concept, but when you spell it out in your own experience, it jumps off the page like a brand new idea... And, oh! how easy it is to be lured into putting ourselves first. Thank you for being so transparent, because the beauty of the Spirit in you shines bright!

Holy Tension ..... what all

Holy Tension ..... what all true christians experience. Such a great article we each can relate to oh so well!

Thanks for the comments guys.

Thanks for the comments guys. Internet is finally working right again! I'm so glad what I wrote made sense because my thoughts have been so jumbled up the past couple of days, I wasn't sure if I communicated it well.
And yes, Sacred Marriage does make that exact point.

I love that book you and your

I love that book you and your husband are reading. I am constantly reminding myself of the subtitle: it's not about being happy, it's about being holy. Really good post! I think this is what the Holy Spirit wanted you to share with us :)

If I recall correctly, Gary

If I recall correctly, Gary Thomas' book Sacred Marriage is about marriage helping to make us holy more than making us happy!

It's like the Murphy's law

It's like the Murphy's law for teachers or something. Whatever truth I teach about on Tuesday, I will for sure and for certain be forced to apply that same truth in humbling and often humiliating fashion on Wednesday. :)

I can really relate with

I can really relate with everything you said here. I too wrestle with desires to be in the Word and in prayer more in such a way that I sometimes miss knowing Jesus more in the way I love and serve my family. I really loved this quote from your post: "Thankfully, I have much of his word saturated in my soul, and the work of his Spirit applying it to me." At church we have been talking about being aware of the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Here is a reminder for me to take my thoughts captive in ungrateful moments by telling myself that the Holy Spirit is working in me through my willing obedience.

This is fantastic--although I

This is fantastic--although I hear the pain in your words as you're writing them. Isn't it funny how when the Word gets inside of us, it feels like we're chastising ourselves when we realize we didn't "take our own advice"? I'm sorry it hurt to learn "the hard way," but aren't you thankful that the truth is still true whether or not we're living it out perfectly? Great post!

This one left me teary and

This one left me teary and resonated so well with me. I just had dinner with my ladies bible study last night and our leader asked the question, "What is a temptation that you struggle with?" My answer was selfishness. So many times during the day, I choose me, me, me, instead of preparing my house for my husband and children's return home. When they are here, I find myself stealing moments to myself and not serving or enjoying them. So true, Aimee. This was a great article for me today.

Aimee, I completely identify

Aimee, I completely identify with this: "they really didn’t appreciate my awesomeness." If only people knew how super duper I am, my life would go a lot more smoothly. And yet, as you say, it's about Jesus and what he's done, not about us and what we try to do.

I was listening to Darrell Johnson's talks on the Upper Room Discourse in the car last week (a three hour drive to Fresno and three hours back gives a guy some time for that type of thing), and he pointed out that being holy as God is holy is not about following a list of holy rules but about being indwelt by a holy presence.

There's sanctification for you. And for me.

Tim

My focus was on all that I

My focus was on all that I was doing instead of all that Christ has already done for me.

Too often, that is my focus as well.

Thanks for the edification and wisdom, Aimee. And what a neat idea to read aloud with you husband. :-)