Does anyone else have those things in your marriage that you've just decided you don't do well together, so you avoid them?
It's sort of like "doing church", it sometimes seems better to just "leave things the way they are..." that way no one gets out of sorts.
For us it's moving furniture...
Personally, I'd be just fine if my furniture stayed the same until Jesus comes back. I don't like change. Often Ted and I can't agree long enough on the plan to make it happen. It took a hurricane to make it happen last time! We figured out it's easier to have a few ideas and then just "get-r-done". In 2004, I spent eighteen days in Biloxi, Mississippi, helping on a healthcare team after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through two weeks prior. We had discussed painting the bedroom for months, but just kept delaying. When I arrived home, he surprised me with a bedroom that was repainted and the furniture was all rearranged. I was thrilled. No arguing. Just done!
Well, eleven years have passed and it's time to redo our front room. I've been dreaming about a library/writing room. Pinterest hasn't exactly solved my indecision! Ah-hem. Yes, I confess, I've been dragging my feet. Dreaming is easier than committing, but it doesn't net you much.
My Pinterest Library Dream....
I'm not looking forward to the chaos I'll have to go through to get the final finished project.
But, last week when my daughter's boyfriend booked his ticket to visit from Ireland in November--I found my incentive and my deadline. I started chucking junk and cleaning out drawers of stuff I don't need. I dragged Ted into the front room and the proverbial furniture-moving-bickering ensued. We managed to carry two heavy items up the steps together without dropping them, hitting anything, or killing each other. It's just that his idea of how to hold and tip things is not the same as my vision of how to do it. Yanking, pulling, and grunting with it, upwardly we went.
I left for work the next morning wondering why after 27 years of marriage we still bicker over how to move furniture.
Change is hard.
Changing myself is hard.
Waiting for someone else to change is hard.
But it's often necessary. And I keep thinking of Jesus on the beach with his disciples after his resurrection, when they are fishing the same old way--the way they'd done it forever and ever. But their nets were empty. Their efforts exhausting. I can imagine the bickering. "John, I said set the hook better." "Pete, don't tell me how to do what I know how to do." "James, row us over to that really good spot, no, not there, over the other direction."
And Jesus. He's on the shore and calls to them, "cast your nets on the other side..."
Do it differently than the same old way you've always done it. Cast on the other side.
I can just see the bubble clouds in their heads, questioning the Lord. Wondering what could possibly work better than their own time-worn ways. But, they set aside their questions and doubt and obediently cast their nets on the other side. Bickering aside. Joined together as one in a unified task.
And the nets are filled to overflowing. It wasn't the first time Jesus had asked them to cast on the other side and filled their nets to overflowing. He'd first done it when he called them as disciples and made them fishers of men. I wonder if they listened better the second time around? What if church is like that? What if marriages are like that? What if we make things more complicated than they are?
On the way home from work, I was still thinking of all these things. My day had been intense at work. I felt a bit woeful and repentant that Ted and I had argued and was ready to make peace and "cast my net" how ever he wanted to do the furniture. Ready to tell him, I walked into the house and he'd finished it all! The carpet was ripped out, the furniture was all moved. And he smiled and said, I've called someone for a quote on that bay window you've been dreaming about.... Sigh.
Yes. There's a mess. My dining room is stuffed with things. I can't get into my writing office, the doorway is crammed with a file cabinet.
Change is messy.
What if the church of the future doesn't look like we had envisioned in our little thought bubbles in our heads? What if it's less about warming a church pew, and more about getting outside the church walls, touching lives? Moving furniture? What if the church of the future is messy? What if we do it differently?
Casting our nets on the other side, should net us not only fish, or bay windows--but relationships, joy, peace, faith, hope, and unity.
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
John 21: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
If the Father is building mansions in the heavens, shouldn't we be about moving the furniture? Fishing for men? Casting our nets on the other side? Setting aside our ways, for His ways...
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.