Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Perfect Match

I've been wanting to blog about our socks for a few weeks now. Valentine's Day weekend seemed like the perfect time to finally get it done!

I lost count at 61. There is a growing number of lost socks which I keep adding to after almost every laundry cycle. Back when I was dating Mark, I remember watching his grandma sit on the floor at his mom's house every weekend, trying to match mounds and mounds of socks. At that time I said to myself, "How can anyone lose track of THAT many socks?? I mean, how hard is it to keep a pair of socks together from washer to dryer?"

Oh, my foolish ignorance. That was pre-marriage, pre-kids, pre-load-of-laundry-every-day-or-drown. Now I have been humbled and reduced to this. And truly, I don't have a very good excuse. I mean, my mother-in-law dealt with primarily white athletic socks...and here I sit with all kinds of colors and sizes. I should be able to find the perfect match for every sock, right?

As it turns out, I am a terrible Matchmaker. My husband thinks that all women have this burning desire to couple everyone off for the "happily ever after". He also thinks that I am a terrible Matchmaker. And he's right. After three crash-and-burns in this area, I swore off matchmaking in 2001. (Yes, I remember the date because I wrote it on the back inside cover of my Bible!) Mark reminded me of that fact just this morning as I lamented how to get two people I know and love "together"--I say just as friends, but Mark insists that I expect something more (dating and marriage). I don't know anymore. Is there really only "one perfect mate" out there for everyone on this planet?

I used to think that we were meant for one and only one person. My true love. And now, as I delve into God's Word more and try to figure out what He wants for me, I realize that is pretty selfish, humanistic thinking. This is not to say that I no longer think my husband is my "one and only", because I still believe that he is, with my whole heart. But it's not about me and what I think is best for me. It's about God and what He wants for me, and that all starts with a relationship that puts Him first. #1. I remember hearing the pastor at our wedding talk about having Christ be part of our marriage, and she was very right on all points but one. He's not a partner with us; Jesus must be #1, above us and leading us. If both spouses don't put Him first, then all else will eventually go to pot. (Case in point: every divorce and troubled marriage out there.)

Pastor Matt Chandler* of the Village Church at Flower Mound, Texas, talks about the "You complete me" scene between Tom Cruise and Renee Zelwigger in the movie "Jerry Maguire". He calls that idea of people having only one perfect person in this whole world who can complete them--and I quote from his message--"a steaming pile of garbage". Pastor Chandler points out that his wife, Lauren, is the perfect person for him because God joined them in marriage, not because of anything he or Lauren did. Matt goes on to say,

"You see, in this idiot ideology that we’ve created with our movies, if one person marries the wrong person, doesn’t that jack it up for everybody? Because that means if Lauren is not my girl and I married her anyhow, that means I married someone else’s perfect one, which means they’re forced to marry someone else’s perfect one, which now means they’re forced to marry someone else’s perfect one. And so if you just do the little map, someone married someone 700 years ago married the wrong guy, and now we’re all in trouble.

This is a foolish, ridiculous idea. I’m just a man, and Lauren is just a girl. Lauren cannot complete me, cannot fulfill me, cannot make sense of my world and to expect her to is to put pressure on her that she will be unable to carry...which will create in me an anger towards her for not doing what she was never designed to do... So when a woman says, “This man will complete me. . .this man will make sense of my world. . .this man will make me know who I am. . .", you are putting weight on the man that he will be unable to sustain and it will only be a matter of time before he develops hobbies to get out from under that expectation. He cannot carry it. Put your hope in God, not men. We’re sinners. Which means sometimes on accident or sometimes on purpose, we’re (husbands) going to fail you and wound you. Don’t ask us to be more than we were designed to be; we will fail you. Put your hope in God, not in external beauty and not in men."

Sorry this is long, but that commentary just blew my mind. In light of thousands of passages in the Old Testament (our separation from God and His plan to join us back together) and the New Testament (calling Jesus the Bridegroom and His church the Bride), I couldn't say it any better than Matt Chandler just did. No one PERSON can complete me. God created us with a hole in our heart that can only be filled by Him. Some of us spend our entire lives trying to fill that hole with other people and things, looking for our "perfect match". It's a selfish way to look at life. (Who can help me? Who can complement me? Who can balance me out? Who can put up with me? Who makes me feel good? Who can love everything about me? Me, me, me, me, me.)

So maybe God wants us to settle for someone who isn't what the world would define as "our perfect match".

Maybe God's idea of the "perfect match" is to put Him first and let Him do the matchmaking. Lean into Him and ask for His help in smoothing out our "bumps"... our dirty thoughts and mending the holes in our hearts.

(Funny how a sock post turned into so much more! Crazy how my mind works.) The best pairs out there are truly people who put their partners first, which is an act of servanthood modeling the work of Jesus Christ. God puts us first, so why should we do any less? He is the Ultimate Matchmaker.

Now if I could just get Him to do my laundry!

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God...In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. --1 Peter 3:1-4, 7 NLT

*Pastor Chandler is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for a malignant brain tumor. If you are so inclined, please pray for Matt and his family. May his brilliant mind which passionately seeks the Lord continue to stay bright and strong, as he continues to preach the Good News to God's glory!


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