A little over two weeks ago, I got married. And after taking our honeymoon, my wife and I moved back into
my our house and began to settle into a “new normal”. For the first couple of days, the house was an absolute wreck, what with wedding gifts, luggage, and another persons stuff to put into the house I had been living in. But over the next few days, my wife and I got the rooms organized, began a garage sale pile, and went shopping for some things. Slowly but surely, the mess got sorted and put away, and the house became our home. There was just one problem:
I didn’t know where half my stuff was.
Now, I was mentally prepared for things to get moved around. I knew that the kitchen would get reorganized from the way I had it. I knew the bathroom was going to need to get rearranged. And I knew the bedroom was going to moved around.
What I was unprepared for was the amount of emotional attachment I had to misc things and their places. The sofa was always under the windows, but not anymore. Never mind that I like the new lay out, it’s just weird. My cereal was always on the counter, not the cabinet above the fridge.
All of these small changes got me thinking about how someone’s life changes when they first become a Christian. Here are a few ways being a newly wed is like being a new Christian:
Security Blankets: I hadn’t realized how much comfort I took in the “familiar”. There was something comforting from having my cereal or sofa in the same places, or being the only one who could adjust or move them. But now, there’s a whole other person who is messing with my “security blankets”. It’s not bad, it’s just different.
One of the things that is difficult for someone pursuing faith in Christ is the realization that He is going to mess with your “stuff”. Those things that gave you comfort and security before get moved or adjusted all of the sudden. Maybe it isn’t where your cereal or sofa are. Maybe, instead, it’s your morning routine suddenly getting thrown out of whack by trying to add prayer or reading the Bible. Maybe you didn’t realize how important your free Thursday night was until you didn’t have it anymore because of a Bible study. Christ will mess with your security blankets. And you won’t know what they are until He has.
Mirror, Mirror: My wife is a sweet woman, who is bubbly, cheerful, and warm to everyone she meets. So when she responds to me with a sarcastic comment, or is seemingly rather glib or frivolous about something I’m talking about, I can be caught off guard. “That’s not like her” I think. And I’m right.
It’s like me.
There are times when I begin to see how poorly I actually communicate, or how dismissive I can sound, or how much I assume she can read my mind because of the missteps we have. My wife and I have begun to take on some of each others traits and habits, and it catches me off guard to see how she has changed over the relationship, namely because it shows me some of who I am.
Inviting Christ into your life has a way of showing you who you really are. You may have thought you were loving or compassionate, but then comes some chance encounter that leaves you feeling a bit stunned. A friend hurts you and you lash out like you used too, for example. When you regain your senses you begin to realize just how angry you can be.
Climactically Anti-Climactic: My wife and I had been together for two years before our wedding, but we had been committed to each other since very early in the relationship. So standing in front of a room full of friends and family, committing our love to one and other felt a little anti-climactic. On the one hand, everything had changed, but in a very practical way, nothing had. We hadn’t been dating around and suddenly now we’re committed to each other.
And yet, with each day that passes, the reality of that commitment and thus that moment begins to settle in. There is no more “first kiss” to have, no more “first date” to go on. Instead, there are all new firsts to encounter.
Some people encounter big emotional swells when they first become a Christian, and some don’t. But everyone has a moment where they wonder “is this it?” The church has built up the transformation to be such a monumental thing that when life after Christ feels vaguely familiar (which it will), it strikes someone as odd. The transformational relationship with Christ is climactic, but it’s a much more gradual climax than we typically think.
Marriage, like a relationship with Christ, is described as a mystery. There are things that can only be known once you’re in it. They can’t be adequately explained or expressed any other way. But hopefully, this has helped you remember, or see, what it’s like when you first begin a relationship with Christ. For some of us, we need a reminder. For others, we need a glimpse of what could be.
Remember, I love y’all and there’s nothing you can do about it…