I hope your Christmas holiday brought many reminders that our hopes and fears are met in Him. This is an easy season to polarize, isn't it? Either all we feel is fear or all we feel is hope. Yet, when we let ourselves be still for a moment, those hopes and fears crash into one another and every optimist becomes a realist and every pessimist becomes one too. If we're children of God, our reality is that all these hopes and dreams and fears and sadnesses converge in one grand truth: that He is enough. Should we never have a home, never have a child, never have the job we want, never be out of debt, never be well all the way through, never go home, never be whole, never be brave, never be quiet, He is enough. This past month I've realized something about life for me now. Since I was nineteen, for seventeen years now, I have been mostly autonomous. I made the choices I thought were best for my life. I dove into schooling, church life, roommate living, vocation, vacation, schedule, and more. I ate when and what I wanted to. I woke when I wanted to. I moved when I wanted to. My existence wasn't selfish—I tried my best to submit myself to pastors, leaders, friends, community—but it was in many ways self-directed. This is a beautiful aspect of singleness and one that is inordinately useful for the growth of the kingdom of God. Paul wasn't wrong when he wrote of the undistractedness of singleness. Godly singleness is a time ripe for so many endeavors and adventures, and I'll never stop being grateful for all those God gave me. Marriage, also like Paul said, is full of distractions and I find the primary one to be our lack of autonomy.
Before marriage it sounds delightful to be united with a partner forevermore, to go to sleep next to and wake beside, to cook dinner for and budget with, to pray with and laugh with, to build traditions alongside and create a home with another person. It sounds delightful and it is. It has been nothing short of a gift. But it is also a thousand little deaths, primarily that my dreams, hopes, plans, desires, and time are in the mutually submitted and mutually sticky position of being inextricably linked to another person sinner man husband, and his to mine. Nate's hopes sometimes clash with my fears and my hopes with his fears. When this happens it would be easy to manipulate my way into getting what I want or for him to exercise dominion over me in a perverted attempt to lead, but a godly marriage this does not make. And so, a thousand little deaths we die.
If your hopes and fears are met with clashing and smashing ideals in every direction, if every time you feel the inkling of hope, it meets with another's fear or maybe your own, if every fear you have is pulled into the vulnerable arena of another's hopes, I am praying for you today. I am praying all of those hopes and fears are met in Him today, not in the gain of what you want or the getting of what another wants. In Christ alone.
Here are some things I've enjoyed this week:
This interview of Brett Lott on Cultivated.
This piece from Jeffrey Overstreet on Watership Down.
This article from Gina Delfonzo on Graham Greene, Glennon Melton, and Jen Hatmaker.
This conversation between John Blase and Winn Collier.
This response from J.D. Vance on the success of Hillbilly Elegy.
We taught ourselves Pinocle last week. No telling whether we're doing it right. What other two person card games are there?