Friday, 09 December 2016 22:47

Marital Mud Pies

“…It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” - C.S. Lewis
 

As any parent or grandparent has certainly experienced, it is the perplexing tendency of children to disdain those things that adults so treasure. Waking up slowly on a lazy Saturday morning doesn’t hold a candle to the exhilarating experience of rising at terminal velocity with the sun. Decadent home-cooked meals are obviously no match for a couple of pop-tarts or nothing at all. A relaxing bubble bath? Out of the question! Though many of us would gladly trade our right arm for these luxuries, children simply have no interest in them.

C.S. Lewis, in his oft-quoted sermon published as “The Weight of Glory,” offered an explanation for these childlike preferences: half-heartedness and weakness of desire. According to Lewis, children would rather “go on making mud pies in a slum because [they] cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” In other words, because children are unable to comprehend the value of these treasures, they are content with trifles. Though the imagery employed by Lewis draws upon childish conduct, we too must recognize the weakness of our desires.

As a biblical counselor, it is often my privilege to sit with couples whose marriages are in a state of disrepair. These ordinary men and women are often those whose calm and composed exterior would arouse no suspicion of the despair harbored in their hearts. When these couples begin counseling, it is common for the brokenness of their union to burst forth as the weariness of “keeping it all together” gives way. It is nothing less than remarkable how often the word “tired” is used in these conversations.

Upon peeling away the layers of each spouse’s experience, it is common to find that this emotional exhaustion can be traced back to the desires that rule the heart. Many couples simply desire that things “go back to the way they were before.” Some couples place the burden of change upon their spouse and so desire a transformed husband or wife. Others take the previous desire and flip it, wishing that they would be transformed for the sake of their spouse. And when these desires go unfulfilled, frustration and weariness multiply.

Though it is likely that there is a godliness to these desires, they are, as Lewis described, too weak. Though many marriages fail when husbands and wives discount the significance of their union, many others fail when the marriage is viewed as supremely significant. God designed marriage to be a unique demonstration of His glory and a chance for sinners to know His heart. Marriage is not mainly about happiness, stability, or the raising of children. These are good things, but they are mud pies next to the eternal offerings of marriage.

If your desire for your marriage is rooted in yourself, your spouse, or any benefit your marriage may supply, your desire is too weak. Your husband may love you dearly, but he did not die for you. Your wife may be remarkable, but she did not suffer the wrath of God on your behalf. Earthly marriages are not designed to bear the weight of worship; they will crumble under the strain, and you will be left broken and weary.

If you are in Christ, you are members of a far more perfect union. Above all else, set your heart on Jesus, your maker and true husband. He alone gives rest and satisfaction. When your desire is to know and love him, love of husband, wife, and neighbor will be added to you as well.


Contributor: Scott Busby, MMFT, LMFT-A

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Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:02

The Last Room in the House

Somewhere in my growing up years, I ran across this religious tract or pamphlet that I never forgot.  Its purpose was to encourage Christian young people give all of themselves to God.  It used the analogy of our lives being like a house that had many rooms and closets and that we didn’t want to leave Christ in the living room as a guest, seated in the parlor.  The little booklet encouraged being honest and open with God and letting Him see the dirty corners behind the fridge, the overstuffed closets that was brimming with outdated objects of our affections, and even the bathroom, where we took off our dirty laundry.  As we allow Him in “our” rooms, hopefully we would recognize His rightful ownership of the property and begin to enjoy our lives with Him as the Master of the house.

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Monday, 07 July 2014 19:25

Getting Some Much Needed Rest

Hebrews 10:14

 

For by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

 

As one who has spent 61 years trying to be good enough, this verse gives me hope, peace and joy.  Between my own heart wanting to perform for others and God, my difficult childhood, and an obvious physical disability, I spent much of my life trying to become perfect so that I would not be found unworthy of love and acceptance. Influences from my family, church, and teachers prodded me along in the deception that I could achieve perfection if I just tried hard enough, worked long enough, and was competent enough. 

 

So I spent the bulk of my adult life trying to prove to others that I had paid the price and was deserving of respect, admiration, and influence.  What I failed to notice is that Jesus, by His sacrifice on the cross, had already done for me what I had spent my life trying to achieve.  This verse says that He has forever made me perfect in God’s eyes.  It also says that I am still in process, being made holy.

 

I am learning to rest in the fact that if He can make me perfect, He can also make me holy.  I am likely continue in Bible study, prayer, and church attendance but have come to realize that unless He grants me repentance and change, it is not going to happen (Acts 11:18).  In the end, He will get the glory as it should be. This leaves me free to enjoy our relationship, love others, and get some much needed rest. 

 

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012 17:16

Do I Worship My Own Approval?

When a counseling intern sits down to write a blog that he/she knows is going to be published on a website that supervisors will read, clients might read, and potential clients might stumble across, all kinds of thoughts go through the head of that intern.  Is my writing going to be doctrinally accurate? Is it going to be inspiring? Is it going to be helpful?  Will what I write make sense?  Will it make me look like a spiritual first grader?  Do I have anything to say that has not already been said?  Will it bring glory to God? 

 

Taking my cues from Alcoholic Anonymous literature, I decided that my best bet is to stick to writing about where I have experience, strength, and hope.  Maybe I will sound more spiritual if I say that I am going to aim to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” from 2 Corinthians 1:4.  How about the radical thought that others struggle with the same things I struggle with and what God teaches me might also be helpful to them?

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Monday, 23 July 2012 19:11

Manna

 

If you’ve been around church for years or maybe not at all there’s a pretty good chance you would be able to name or describe a story or two from the Bible. Whether it was the story of creation in Genesis or the birth of Christ in the book of Luke. Maybe it’s the story of God parting the Red Sea or feeding the masses with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. Many of the stories are hard to forget because often times they seem so crazy to us. Can you imagine the Red Sea parting and the ground beneath the water being dry enough for hundreds of people to pass! How I wish I could have seen something like that in real life.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:49

Not Wrong, Just Different

If you want to really learn how different men and women are, try raising a child together! Now, I know I am generalizing a lot and this is not just a male/female thing but its how things have played out in our house the last four months. My wife and I have a wonderful 4-month-old son and we are having a blast with him! We do seem to have different opinions (to state nicely) as to how some things need to be done however. For instance, if we drop his pacifier on the ground I’m thinking “5 second rule” however my wife has purchased all natural food grade pacifier wipes that must be used before we give the pacifier back. Am I wrong (maybe)…is she wrong? It’s not wrong, it’s just different! Little boy spits up on his shirt..I think, “a little spit up never hurt anyone”…however before I even have time to say what I’m thinking; my wife has already got him in a new onesie. Who is wrong? Neither of us! Not wrong, just different.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:36

When Shame is Your Middle Name

 

For as far back as I can remember, Shame was my middle name.  Of course, that is not hard to imagine if you also grew up in the generation I did and the adults around you used the phrase, “Shame on you!” to control your behavior.  We don’t seem to hear that as much since John Bradshaw and others wrote on shame and its effects during the decades following the 1950’s but it was a fairly common expression when I was growing up.

My shame began at birth.  I only realized this when my mother wrote a chapter for a book for Christian women.  She asked me to listen to the tape and edit the copy for her.  She told the story of her remarkable life and when she got to my birth, the story became sad.  She described her alcoholic mother coming to the hospital intoxicated while her Sunday school class was there visiting.That event, coupled with the fact that she had given me her mother’s name as my middle name, only added to the shame.  Every time one of the relatives called me by all three of my names, I felt a pang of shame.  People in our community and family associated that middle name with dysfunction, sin, rebellion, and addiction.  In addition, I looked like that grandmother so it was not hard to identify with the association that everyone had made with that name.

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