Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Real Life Wednesday!

It's June 13th.

Thirty years ago this day,

I said "I Do" to the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

On that beautiful summer afternoon I could not have foreseen all the excruciating heartaches ...

and the wonderful joys of the coming years...

I've been thinking about this day for weeks now.  

My husband and I have been arranging for a getaway and just last night we were excitedly planning the weekend ahead - at the beach, just the two of us!  As I fell asleep I remember thinking "smooth sailing for the next several days - no worries...aaahhhh."

It's as if I were playing this R.E.M. video "Shiny Happy People" over and over again in my mind and the story would continue on in perfect harmony and splendid uninterrupted bliss.

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

..There's no time to cry
Happy, happy.

The only problem with this as you and I both know is it's not real life! It's the life I've conjured up in my mind to help me move through the disappointments and unmet expectations of life. Instead of Shiny Happy People, this account is closer to the truth:

  • My husband did not greet me first thing in the morning with "Happy Anniversary" or flowers or a card. [Translate: My expectations for a perfect anniversary morning went unmet]
  • A stupid argument over a Groupon discount nearly derailed our evening at dinner.
  • I woke up Thursday morning feeling queasy and exhausted. We did not get on the road until later that morning - 2 hours behind schedule.
  • I continued to feel groggy and sick during the short trip. Despite a great lunch and hopes of improving health, I was sick all night - our first evening in Marco Island.
  • After a wonderful day on the beach Friday we returned to our room - it was then that I fully comprehended the intensity of the sun - I was badly burned and seriously uncomfortable. We were headed out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary and I was dressed in glowing neon red :)
  • My husband discovered the need to replace one of our tires before hitting the highway...$165 :(
  • My husband's turn for feeling bad - forgetting to take prescription meds is never a good thing :(

Overall we had a great time and these little annoyances only served to remind us of our real life and our real moment by moment need for Jesus.  We both had [and have] expectations for our lives and often the reality does not meet the expectation.  I am reminded of another well known song by R.E.M. entitled "Everybody Hurts".

When your day is long and the night
The night is yours alone

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes

The truth is, we all hurt sometimes.  We all deal with unmet expectations and disappointments in the day to day grind of this life. We wake up in the morning and the "Shiny Happy People" hope for the day is shattered by the sin that so easily entangles us until we are left with the "Everybody Hurts" melody in the background of our hearts.

Just what does the gospel have to do with all these "interruptions" in our otherwise nice weekend?  If the gospel truly applies to all of life, what does it have to say in those moments of greatest need? of greatest disappointment? of greatest hurt?

In those moments of unmet expectations I can remind myself that I am a sinner - always bent on believing I deserve better that what I'm getting.  Rather than understanding that apart from Jesus I only deserve God's just and eternal wrath, I have come to believe I have some good to offer.  Haven't I put together enough good deeds and god-pleasing efforts to engender favor and reward?  

Instead of believing that Jesus said "no one is righteous, no not one", I am a perfect example of what Paul warned the Romans against when he said "do not think of yourself more highly than you ought".  When I am boasting in my own goodness I believe that I am somehow more deserving of favor and I actually have a right to expect what I do. My self-righteous thinking quickly leads to believing that others are somehow less than me and their desires mean little - unless of course my expectations are met first.  

Remembering who I am - more sinful than I know - humbles me and causes my heart to look outside of myself for help, knowing there's nothing good in me.  I can now look to Jesus - my Savior and the only One who can rescue sinners.  Because of His perfect record and His power to meet God's expectations without fail, I can rest in Him knowing that everything I need I have already been given in Christ.  Now it's about His Holiness. My hurts and my disappointments are met with His perfect love and acceptance for me and His approval of me.  All of my sin has been covered forever and completely by His perfect sacrifice and by His blood and righteousness.

When I don't feel well physically I can count on Christ's healing power that sustains and nourishes me. I'm reminded in those moments of weakness that Jesus is strong for me. When I might have been tempted to look down on others when they are weak, God reminds me I am the weak one in need of restoration. I realize that I am the unstable one, having to rely on Christ and on others for help in my time of need. When my husband is sick I can now look at him with compassion and know that Christ is strengthening him in the midst and I can see in those moments that we are the same. We are both sinners, weak and frail - saved by grace.

When I come to these annoyances or when I suffer during intense trial I can be reminded these are opportunities to recognize my frailty and Jesus' power.  God will once again turn my gaze away from the pretense of me to the reality of the gospel.  Paul is helpful here to remind the Colossians and us of what the reality is:
"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him" Col 1:21-22
By Christ's death I am reconciled to Him.  I am holy and blameless and above reproach before a Holy God all because of Jesus and his pursuit of me and love for me.

Every unmet expectation was met in Jesus.  Every disappointment was made up for in Christ.  Every sorrow, every hurt and every tear has been felt by my Savior.  Each heartache is held by Love.  I am reminded once again that Jesus is my Rescue and he alone saves me from the sin of unbelief and the self-centeredness of me in every moment and in every circumstance.

Thank you Jesus -
You are Savior!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lori,
    This post is awesome! I definitly can relate to this.
    Often times i too have these high expectations for things to go perfectly or expect to find perfection in circumstance or for my husband to be perfect as well.And very often leads to disappointment.Like you said every heartache is held by love from the one who is perfect!

    Many blessings