“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
Dancing is a funny thing when you are in Junior High. Really, what is more painful and hilarious than watching a bunch of pubescent kids trying to be cool? Just think about these few things that occurred:
- You only dance during slow songs because you are terrified of looking like an idiot in front of your friends or that special one you had your eye on (except for that one crazy kid who didn’t care and would bust out all of his groovy disco moves; now I realize how cool he was).
- When that slow song did come on you kept telling yourself, “DO NOT STEP ON THE TOES!” while awkwardly shuffling in one spot.
- Body odor.
- Where do I put my hands?
Here is what I am getting at, marriage can often feel like that Junior High dance. It can often be awkward. You try not to step on each other’s toes, but often do. You discover your partner’s cleanliness is not the same as yours. You also find out that your body is a perfect place to warm cold as ice hands. The thing that could change everything for everyone is that they just learn how to dance.
Full disclosure, there isn’t anyone noting my skills and you aren’t going to see me bust out any awe inspiring moves. I also say that because when it comes to marriage, I was not the best dance partner. A lot of time has been spent searching myself to find rhythm. Figuring out what tune God was playing so that I would be a better dance partner is a priority. I am a work in progress.
I am becoming a better dancer.
There is a passage that a lot of people refer to in church in regards to marriage. The passage is in Ephesians 5 and it has much to say about how the wife and husband are to interact. You may even run across a popular marriage book on these verses. For this post though, I wanted to take a moment to hone in on the first verse of this section starting at verse 21. It reads, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” To me, this is like dancing. When two people engage in the dance, you find them cooperating with the music. They are engaged with the beat, moving and flowing together in a beautiful way.
God loves to play songs that draw people together.
In a strong relationship there are two people that have learned to hear DJ Yahweh’s beat. They can move with each other while following the tune that plays over them. The best of dancers are seen when each person doesn’t make it about themselves. They make it just about “us.” Mutual submission. The devine dance of marriage is waiting for you to allow the music to move you and for you and your partner to follow together. As you grow, you will be less like the Junior High dance and more like the dancers who have mastered the Tango. Trust the guy that has stepped on a lot of toes, you can always learn.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
As I am pacing around in my brain for my next blog post, it occurs to me how much I overthink things in life. Raise a hand if you are with me. (Yes. I see that hand! 5 rows from the back.) Our minds get caught in the gravitational pull of a mental black hole and it can be excruciatingly difficult to get out of it. In those moments my overactive imagination develops an idea. This idea tells me that I have to write something so elaborate and inspirational to spark interest in my blog. However, that’s not when I am at my worst. The most obnoxious occurrence of my own overthinking comes when relationships are involved. My emotions go haywire and I begin to think of every possible negative scenario that could happen. This usually happens when I’ve done some bonehead thing or get filled with angst about the great unknown, commonly known as “the future.”
Sometimes I just want to get out of my head.
I know that I am not alone with the individual who raised their hand in the back of the room. I know this because I watch my friends, coworkers, and people that I counsel do it all the time. Sometimes it is humorous to think about all of the things that my brain developed. Most times, it is just plain sad. Sad because all the scenarios (and there are some real dandies!) that I’ve spent a ton of energy creating in my head never come to fruition. Let me ask you this, how much time would you free up and at what level would your anxiety be if you didn’t overthink things? I know that I’d get more than a few days back in my life and a few more hairs on my head.
I think the biggest relationship that we tend to overthink is the relationship we have with God. If you are unsure if this is true, I bet you can find someone around you today who thinks that something bad happened in their life because God is mad at them. You might be that person. And it’s a shame that our minds take us there. If there was a parent who punished their child the way that some people think God is punishing them, I think that a call to Child Protection Services would be appropriate.
How did God become so cruel?
My guess is we are overthinking it (on top of some bad preaching). Just like we often create horrendous scenarios in our heads, we have the ability to do the same with our conception of God. That notion of God just doesn’t work for me. I am going to hang my hat on something simple and not too overthought. 1 John 4:18 reads, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” This doesn’t sound like the heartless, angry parent that some people call God. It sounds like a God that actually cares about our life and is not looking to punish us. How about you? Do you overthink things? Let’s put our brains and emotions to rest. Your head will likely become a much better place.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Here’s the thing about diets – nobody asks the husky fellow who gorges on cake and cheeseburgers how he does it. Instead, they seek out the fit person who demonstrates the discipline of eating good, healthy food. I’m the guy that loves a perfectly cooked burger and an icing encased piece of cake. But if I ate that every day, misery and regret would soon consume me. Nobody would seek me for nutrition advice.
It’s easy to eat junk food and not very impressive.
This is much like living in negativity. It is easy to be negative and, in the long run, it is not very impressive. For me, being negative is like junk food to my soul. It seems right in the moment and there is a sense of power when I do it. However, over time my soul becomes malnourished and my view of life fills with cynicism. I know this because it has often been my modus operandi. I can form a cynical opinion with ease. It has made being a friend with me difficult and even lead to the demise of some very valuable relationships. I have discovered that as people, we have an uncanny ability to pinpoint what is wrong with other people, the world, and even ourselves. If you need evidence, read Facebook.
The world doesn’t need more critics.
That is not to say that criticism doesn’t have a place in life. It absolutely does. Some of the most important changes in the world occurred because someone spoke up against the status quo. But I have no need to be better at that. My heart longs to be filled with good. I want to be disciplined in seeing goodness around me. I want to bring life and love with the words that I speak. My relationships could use a little more positivity on a regular basis.
I think I need a better diet plan.
The apostle Paul gave some wise words when he wrote that we should think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” More simply “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” When I do this I feel better about myself, my view of others improves, and I can see God more clearly. This is a good M.O. A much healthier way to live. A godly way to live. What do you think would happen if we spent more time looking for what is excellent instead of criticize? I think that cheeseburger and cake would be way less tempting than it used to be. Pray with me to have eyes to see all the good God is doing inside of you, me, and the world around us.