Nathan and I began our marriage by literally running. We were so overjoyed as we raced through the crowds, raindrops, and bubbles to our getaway car. It’s interesting how even in that moment — one of the most ridiculously, ecstatic, happy moments of my life — we were running in a rainstorm.
In my journal entry from a few days ago, I wrote:
“I definitely don’t feel that I have become the “perfect wife” just yet. I realize I’ve only been married for two weeks, but I wonder if any wife in any moment feel that they are living up to their full potential. Will I ever reach mine? Will I ever run without falling? Love without stumbling? Respect without still remaining selfish?”
In Tim Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage, he talks about the value of a marriage versus a romantic fling. Sometimes it pains me that Nathan knows me so well, because that means he is well aware of my flaws and sees me at my worst. But Keller speaks of the value in this kind of authentic relationship:
My husband, who knows me well, is well aware that I am not perfect, yet he loves me anyway. In this very beginning stage of our marriage, I have been experiencing some very unexpected health challenges…some obstacles that have left me frustrated, confused, and feeling inadequate. Like I said, Nathan knows me well, and he knows that writing is not only my therapy, but it is my way of remaining authentic and true to my own struggles. Why? Because perfect isn’t all that relatable (anyone with me?).
So, here it goes, friends. Here’s the ugly truth. Some days, I choose joy, and I’m really good at it. Other days, my emotions take over. The sadness, frustration, discouragement gets the best of me. It is a day to day process, and that’s the only way I’m able to look at it.
We wouldn’t be able to run a marathon without training. Could you run a 5K if you didn’t know how to walk? No. You see, if we put the pressure on ourselves to be joyful and faithful everyday for the rest of our lives, we know we will fall short. But I am trying to wake up and choose for this day…to run today’s race well. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or the next day, or the next year. But today, I can work on loving my husband better. Today, I can try not to let my emotions take over. Today, I can be the support he needs, even in the midst of my own obstacles. Because I don’t just want to start our marriage well, I want to finish well. But in order to finish well, we must train, stretch, prepare, and run each day the way God has commanded.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
-2 Timothy 4:7
How can you prepare for your race today? How can you stretch your heart to a deeper capacity? How can you train for a life well lived? Perhaps that is through committing to a daily bible time, finding a mentor, calling a friend, serving someone who needs it, or praying consistently. Don’t be defeated if you are feeling unprepared or inadequate today to finish a race or task perfectly. I feel the same way. But our God isn’t calling us to finish today, He is simply calling us to begin running the race with faithfulness in this day He has given us.