Recently, my views on marriage have been confronted. Don’t worry ladies and gents, I’m still on the market. But my opinion on this “long-term commitment” has definitely been tested. So in my quiet time this morning (super-Christian over here!) I made a feeble attempt to figure out what the point of marriage is.
Growing up as a “product of divorce” has shaped my views of marriage, and commitment in general. If you know me on a personal level, I’ve probably shared my extremely negative view of both. When my parents got divorced, I made the decision that probably any child would make in that situation; I decided that I would never get married.
When I was a freshman in college, I did a research project on divorce statistics. I loved to prove to people how pointless the institution of marriage was, and how easily people jumped from one relationship to the next. In my mind, commitment was a waste of time. I would debate anyone and everyone about this. To the point where my friends were a little scared to tell me if they liked or, God forbid, fell in love with someone.
It has become part of my identity over the years. “Oh, there’s Katherine. She loves the color orange, cats, any type of okra…and she hates commitment.” And like anything that becomes a solid part of your identity, it’s something that is hard to shake off. It becomes this entangling web that you cannot get out of. It’s easier to keep the same views than to challenge them, which is what happened to me.
As I sat at my desk with my Bible and journal this morning, I ended up staring at a chapter in Romans for about 30 minutes. I learned absolutely nothing about marriage. I can’t even tell you what the Bible says about marriage, because I still don’t know! What I did learn this morning is that I have an incredible fear of losing control. I would rather say that I’m going to stay single forever and move to a foreign country because I can control that. I want to take the easy way out; the safe way out.
The reality of that is: when I think I am in control of my world, I am really just letting the world control me. I’m letting fear control me, and I’m letting statistics control me. That’s the silliest thing I could ever do.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!” [Romans 8:14-15]
How insulting to God is it that I am still living in fear as an adopted child of his Kingdom? What do I have to fear? How much am I trying to limit his power in saying that something like marriage or commitment cannot exist? And this can go for anything that I might think is impossible, not just marriage. When I accepted his gift of salvation, I gave up control. Who am I to try to take that back? Why would I want to take that back? It simply doesn’t belong to me anymore.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [Romans 8:32]
What do I believe about God? Do I believe he is all he says he is? If I do, then I must believe that he can do anything. I must believe that despite the failure of my parents’ marriage, I could still have a lasting, committed, Christ-centered relationship. That is the beautiful reality. Statistics don’t matter. My hours of research, while they may have proven that marriages have the ability to fail, cannot stand in the way of something that God is in control of. That is, if you let him control it.
I have spent years trying to hold onto this bitterness. He has a very interesting way of revealing himself and his plans for my life. I have slowly (very, very slowly) started to realize that I cannot continue to try to control my own life, lest it should explode. God has successfully rescued my soul from the actual pits of Hell. If he can do that, can he not do anything else?
I’m tired of trying to limit God. It’s very draining. I can’t see anything other than what is right in front of me. I can’t see where I’ll be in ten years or who I will be with. I can’t guarantee that I am going to make it home today after work. I can’t even tell you what the daggon weather is going to be like tomorrow. I know nothing, but God knows everything. He can see today, tomorrow, and the rest of eternity.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. [Isaiah 26:3]
When I can learn to trust God with these commitment issues, anxiety issues, and just my life in general, I will have peace. When I can learn that he does in fact have a plan for my life and he can turn any crappy situation into something completely glorious, I will have peace.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. [Jeremiah 29:11-13]
It is time to stop looking at life so negatively. To live in fear is to live in rebellion. It is time to lose control. When God is for me, who can be against me?
In the words of Lenka, “I’ve got to let it go, and just enjoy the show.”