I remember when Brooke and I were getting ready to get married over six years ago. We were so excited because, like most engaged couples, we were madly in love. I look back and think how "madly in love" we were back then and laugh because six years later that love seems so tiny in comparison to the love we have for each other now. Our love has grown, deepened and become way more exciting than the young love of two kids excited to get married. Both loves are great but I prefer the type we have now. Anyway, I remember so much about our engagement but one of the things that I remember the most is that.. Married couples can be SOOOOO negative about marriage.
We would hear things like,
"You just wait..."
"The first year is the hardest.."
"There will be times you are going to want to kill each other.."
Fast forward five years into our marriage and Brooke is pregnant -- again, we were so excited for our little bundle of joy, but people with kids again started saying things to us like,
"You just wait..."
"The first year is the hardest..."
"Say goodbye to sleep..."
And so on.
The most frustrating thing about the people saying these negative things is that they were Christians! What in the world is that?!? These were supposed to be people whose hearts, minds and worlds have been radically changed by the love of God and they are being negative about marriage and babies!!! Those are two things God loves! Like, a lot.
Come on Christians! Stop being negative and lean into the joy that comes with Jesus. Allow Him to change your heart to be a place of unrelenting joy! I get so frustrated when I hear Christians being so negative. The joy of the Lord is our strength! The fruit of the spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience....!*
We act like our lives are just as crappy before Jesus as they are after Jesus. No wonder people don't want to come to church. We, as followers of Jesus, should be the most joyful, radically optimistic people this world has ever seen. Jesus has won, the grave has been defeated, death has lost its sting, we will be given new bodies, we will spend eternity in the presence of God and, at times, all we do with that knowledge is tell people how hard their marriage or parenting is going to be.
I would love to see more positive Christians out there. People who when they are hear about someone getting married they say things like,
"Marriage is awesome!"
"Get ready to fall more and more in love with your spouse."
"Marriage is so much fun! The first year is exciting!"
"Spend the first year doing unexpected and awesome things for your wife/husband!"
"I LOVE BEING MARRIED! IT'S THE BEST!"
That's what I say when I find out my friends are getting married. Marriage is such a beautiful amazing gift from God and we complain about it way too much. Imagine if you took all the energy you spend complaining about marriage and put it into serving your spouse. I think you'd have less to complain about because your marriage would improve.
The same goes with children. We, as Christians, should be overjoyed when a new life that God created enters the world. We should be showering new parents with excitement and encouragement!
Now I know that I am painting with a very broad brush. I know there are tons of Christians out there who are positive about both these things, but the negativity is louder. If you are one of those positive Christians out there read this and be encouraged that your joy will make a difference. If you tend to be a negative Christian, which can be figured out if you want to comment on the blog and tell me why I am wrong about everything...😂, stop. Let the joy of Jesus be your strength.
I believe that when we walk closer with Jesus we will find more joy. That joy will carry us through the rough waters of life and people will be amazed at how our first response is always positive. I don't think people want to live life in a negative tornado, tearing and ripping apart all that's in their path. I do think that, at times, that's the only way they've learned how to live. Give "Negative Nellies" a new example of how to live. The example of Jesus. Show them you are overflowing with positivity and joy and when they ask you how you can always see the good in everything you can say to them, "The joy of the Lord is my strength! Jesus has changed my life and given me this unending joy in all situations...."
Those are the type of conversations I want to have with people, but I need them to actually see the change in my life before I can. If I am "Grumpy Gus" all the time no one will ask. If I am bouncing off the walls with excitement and joy I think they might ask my opinion. If when someone tells me they are getting married or having a baby and I say, "THAT'S AWESOME!! I LOVE MARRIAGE AND BABIES!" they might want to have more conversations about each of those things.
And I'm certain I can start with a conversation about marriage and end with Jesus.
I can start with a conversation about the brand of diapers I use or the time June pooped directly in my hand... and I can end with Jesus.
In all things our goal should be to point people to Christ and His saving grace. Let's start living like that!
* Nehemiah 8:10 // Galatians 5:22