Why You Should Ditch Your Husband Checklist

Rachel Prochnow Faith blogger austin Texas.jpgA little while ago, one of my friends went on a date with a guy. He was attractive, fun, loved the Lord, passionate, and she loved spending time with him. But as her best friend, something about this guy rubbed me the wrong way. He had this long list of qualifications necessary to be his girlfriend. The many qualifications on this list ranged from “sexy,” to “passionate woman of God”, to “hipster.” Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. How dare he try to fit my beautiful, Gospel-loving, hilarious, adventurous, bold, compassionate, and thoughtful friend into this list where he was trying to play God to find a woman who fit into his ridiculous mold or standard.

I was furious.

After thinking about this, I realized that growing up, I was always told by very well-meaning people to make a list for my future husband.

I had tons of lists.

I have lately been convicted of how this took my eyes off Jesus. Before we begin, I want to be sure to communicate several things to you. The first is that you need to know what a biblical man is. If you don’t know, check it out here. When you date, don’t leave your brain at the door. If the guy is a punk or doesn’t love Jesus or isn’t kind to you or others-peace out as quickly as you can. I do think there is one certain requirement for who you marry (and therefore informs your dating) that the Bible outlines-that he is a genuine follower of Christ. I am explaining here the dangers of making a very specific list of shallow requirements and discrediting people who don’t fall into your stringent outline. Another thing I am not saying is to stay in an abusive relationship. If you are struggling, send me an email and I can encourage you personally. The last thing I want to communicate is that I am not letting men bow out of their standard set forth by God. I’m not giving them an excuse to treat you unkindly or in a disrespectful way. That is between them and God. Through this article, I want your heart and love for Jesus to be the focus. Ok, now we can start.

1. STOP FOCUSING ON A GUY AND START FOCUSING ON JESUS

There are many reasons why making a list might not be the best idea, but this is the most important. Putting anything before Christ is idolatry. Jesus Christ and the Gospel need to be at your core. When you have a deep love for the Gospel, you will be able to trust that within Him, all your needs are met and satisfied. Then you won’t look to fulfillment through a potential or imaginary “soul mate” as your “other half.” You have been liberated and completed in Christ. Until God is where He needs to be in your heart, you are constantly going to be complaining that your partner is not loving you adequately, treating you well enough, or respecting you like he should.

2. IT CAN PUT UNNATURAL PRESSURE ON YOUR PARTNER

Tim Keller said it best in the Meaning of Marriage, “It is the illusion that if we find our one true soul mate, everything wrong with us will be healed; but that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live unto that.” He goes on to say, “If your only source of love and meaning is your spouse, than anytime he or she fails you, it will not just cause grief, but a psychological cataclysm.” God needs to be your first and foremost love-not your boyfriend or husband. Trying to force him to fit into your little list puts too much emphasis on him and too little on Jesus and the Gospel. The Gospel and Jesus is where your identity lies, not in a relationship or man.

3. YOUR RELATIONSHIP SHOULDN’T BE A TRANSACTION

Think of Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Is your list putting another’s needs before your own? If not, it might be selfish. Also, I don’t know about you but I do not want my marriage to be a consumer relationship. Tim Keller explains it best, “Throughout history there have always been consumer relationships. Such a relationship only lasts as long as the vendor meets your needs at an acceptable cost to you. If another vendor delivers better services or the same services at a better cost, you have no obligation to stay in a relationship with the original vendor.” Biblical marriage is a covenant relationship not a consumer relationship. Keller describes a covenant relationship as “a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. […] The Bible sees God as the supreme good-not the individual or family.” You should want a relationship built on Jesus and love, not considering how much you can gain through the other person.

4. CHRIST CAME TO SERVE AND NOT TO BE SERVED

I always think of this incredible passage in John 13 when Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. Not only was Jesus presenting a beautiful picture of the Gospel to His followers, He was also showing us an example of how we ought to serve others. I remember Matthew 20:26 when considering this, “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus is our example. We shouldn’t be looking for what we can potentially gain out of a relationship, but how we can demonstrate Christ’s love to that person God has called us to be in a relationship with and how you can further the kingdom together.

 5. LOVE LIKE JESUS

Seeing my friend being held to this guy’s ridiculous standard enraged me. It made me realize just how arrogant and egocentric this particular guy was. He didn’t see the wonderful girl before him because he was so transfixed on finding this “ideal” girl developed in his mind’s eye. Instead of fitting someone into your mold, I want to challenge you to love selflessly, expecting nothing in return. One of my favorite pastors Matt Chandler says in his book The Mingling of Souls, “There is a beauty even in loving without response because that kind of love is truly selfless. When we love with no expectation or promise of reciprocity, we know what it means to sacrifice and deny ourselves in ways we wouldn’t otherwise.” Love that way. Love selflessly. Love like Jesus loved.

6. IT CAN BE A CONTROL IDOL

All sin can be traced to different root sins. Creating a list of requirements necessary in a man can be a way of not surrendering your desire to the Lord. It actually can be the opposite. It’s like saying, “God, you are not strong enough to control this, you have too much on your plate. Just let me take care of it.”

Hold on.

Remember that verse in Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” God knows your desires. He understands. Surrender that to God. Seek His face before anything else and hold on to the promise in Romans 8:28, “God works out all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

LYLAS

Rach

True Beauty in an Instagram Culture

Austin Fashion Lifestyle bloggerAs I open up my Instagram Explore page, I am bombarded with images that look similar: the most gorgeous women from all over the world: long, thick hair, full, pouty lips, curves in all the right places, and dressed to entice. As I am looking at these images of these women, thoughts pop into my head, “I definitely need to go to the gym today-shouldn’t have eaten that cookie!” “I wonder how she got her hair to curl like that, mine never stays-ugh I hate my hair” or “I wish I had longer legs”.

Self-centeredness becomes my mindset.

Comparison creeps into my mind on how I can look more beautiful.

This morning, after a solid one hour scrolling session, I brought these feelings to God. I asked Him what He thinks true beauty is.

I wanted to know what true, real, lasting beauty is that remains once the makeup is off, the hair isn’t cooperating, the filter is gone, and some weight is put on.

What does God say is beautiful?

The foundation of our beauty begins with what God says about us. He looks at you calls you daughter, worthy, precious, and loved. The God who put the stars in their place, who parted the Red Sea, who set the earth in motion, who upholds everything by the power of His word calls you daughter, beloved. Throughout this blog, I want to explore what makes us beautiful and what God says in His Word is actually a beauty that ought to be pursued.

“THE GOD WHO PUT THE STARS IN THEIR PLACE, WHO PARTED THE RED SEA, WHO SET THE EARTH IN MOTION, WHO UPHOLDS EVERYTHING BY THE POWER OF HIS WORD CALLS YOU DAUGHTER, BELOVED.”

But how do we know He loves us?

We know the depth of His love because He sent His Son Jesus, who was fully man and fully God, to die for us. Jesus didn’t have to do this, but He willingly submitted to The Father, and took on weak, human flesh. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He lived the perfect life. The He was brutally tortured, crucified, and was killed.

He endured all this for you.

But it didn’t end there, He was raised to life after three days so that we could be restored back into a right relationship with God.

That is the length God will go to call you His own.

He loves you.

That is why you are beautiful and beloved.

Now that we have the foundation of where our worth comes from (what God says about us and what Jesus did for us), let’s look at scripture where God outlines characteristics we ought to pursue.

QUIET AND GENTLE SPIRIT

As I was praying this morning, 1 Peter 3:3-4 popped into my head, “Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

As someone who has always considered myself a strong, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman, this verse took me a while to grapple with. I always wanted to be passionate, fierce, and opinionated. But maybe there is more strength in the ability to hear others, empathize with them, meet them where they are, and gently point them back to the truth of Jesus than to be someone who values independence and autonomy over everything. Because anyway, we are all thoroughly dependent on Christ.  Once we understand that, it frees us up to love people in a way that is marked by patience, kindness, and gentleness which is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us.

“BUT MAYBE THERE IS MORE STRENGTH IN THE ABILITY TO HEAR OTHERS, EMPATHIZE WITH THEM, MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE, AND GENTLY POINT THEM BACK TO THE TRUTH OF JESUS THAN TO BE SOMEONE WHO VALUES INDEPENDENCE AND AUTONOMY OVER EVERYTHING.”

PROVERBS 31

Proverbs 31 came to my mind as I was considering the type of beauty we ought to be pursuing. The entire chapter is full of godly characteristics we ought to cultivate.

She is trustworthy“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of grain.” Proverbs 31:11

She does good. “She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

She is a hard worker“She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands” Proverbs 31:13

She has responsibility“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” Proverbs 31:16

She is compassionate and gives willingly“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” Proverbs 31:20

 

She is clothed in strength and dignity. She doesn’t fear the future because her trust is in the Lord. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:26

 

She is wise and kind“She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” Proverbs 31:26

Lastly, She fears the Lord“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31: 30

These are the characteristics that contribute to real, unfading beauty.

Beauty that grows with each passing year.

Beauty that delights in the promises of God and treasures His Word.

Ultimately, the Bible points us away from external appearance and to the “hidden person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4) to determine where real beauty is found. I’ll be completely transparent with you, there are times my words are harsh, my heart leads me to judgement instead of compassion, my flesh tells me to pursue idleness rather than discipline. I fail on so many of these characteristics. But luckily for me, for all of us, Jesus is strong where we are weak. When we fail, He is there to pick us up. In our insufficiency, He is fully sufficient. When we fail, let’s turn away from that sin, ask God to give us a right understanding of the gospel, and praise His name for his goodness.

Join with me in pursuing this kind of lasting, enduring beauty. Let’s fight for that. Let’s fight for that when the entire world is screaming to us that physical beauty entices and sex appeal is the way to get attention. When I find myself nose deep in my phone, I take those feelings to God. I let Him know I feel insufficient, I confess that to Him and I ask Him to remind me of my true identity-the one that is in Christ alone. And I meditate on scripture that speaks into that truth (Ephesians 2).

So Let’s be women who trust in our identity that is rooted in Christ. A true identity tells us we are precious because God says so. Let’s pursue a beautiful heart that remains and becomes more lovely as we mature more into the image of Jesus.

-Rach