Weddings humble me
Weddings humble me.
It’s a weird thing to think and say, I know. But they do.
I think it stems from my love and deep desire for words of affirmation. And probably my hidden, secret (or not so secret) narcissism.
I’m blessed that many of weddings I attend are very honouring. Honouring to the bride and groom. Honouring to their parents and families. They are joyous days of celebration. The bride and groom affirm their love for God and one another. Their bridal parties, families, and community affirm them too. They speak highly and eloquently of their character, poise, friendship, joy, and grace. Their qualities and characteristics are on display for all to see.
At their wedding, the bride and groom are presented as reflections of their best selves. Only the cute and funny anecdotes of their childhoods are shared. Not the moments where they screamed and threw tantrums and pushed their sisters. Only the stories from university of friendship bonding and faithfulness are shared. Not the moments of selfishness, conflict, and forgetting to clean the toilet or put out the garbage. Only the moments of dedication, perseverance, and grit are told. Not the moments of failure, giving up, or falling into sin again and again.
In a way, the presented perfection of the bride and groom become models to look up to. It’s easy for me to compare my imperfection and weaknesses with all that’s affirmed in them and I long to be like them. It humbles me.
In my narcissism and knack for comparison, I easily worry that if I ever have a wedding day, people won’t have all those good things to say about me. My perception of myself can be full of my weaknesses and imperfections. It can be full of shame and disappointment. What version of my best self will be presented at my wedding? If I even have one.
I know that’s the wrong thing to think or worry about. It points back to my own shame and weakness - Erin, get your eyes off yourself and onto Christ and others. Yet, in a way, it’s okay to self reflect. Am I a good friend? Do I bring blessing and joy to other’s lives? Have I persevered through trial?
When faced with perfection, our imperfections are mirrored back to us. How are we to respond? It happens with God too. When faced with the perfection and example of Jesus, I can see that I don’t live up to his standard. What am I to do?
I’m learning that I’m to respond with godly sorrow over my sin and weakness, and take each day to walk by faith looking to Jesus as my example to strive for. Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The cloud of witnesses - that is a reference to the godly examples of believers from Hebrews chapter 11, the “faith hall of fame”. Examples in Scripture for us to look to and model. Were each of those people perfect? Definitely not. All of them had dark pasts and much brokenness. But by faith they followed God and are now with him forever, perfected in eternity because of Jesus’ blood shed for them which covers their sin and brokenness because of their faith, even though they died before him.
Weddings humble me because they remind me of excellent qualities and affirm which I long to be more like. They remind me of areas of growth, and point me toward a better version of myself. Weddings humble me because they also point me to Jesus. They remind me that without him, I have no hope of growth, sanctification, or transformation. Weddings humble me because I see the seriousness of the marriage covenant and I see how impossible it is to keep without the daily grace and mercy of God, and the giving and receiving of love and forgiveness.
It’s okay to self reflect and agree with God about my imperfection. Again, we are called to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”
Oh God, please help me run with endurance the race and life that you have laid before me. Not the life I wish I had, or the lives that others have. Help me trust you with each day, and let go in surrender of my sin and weaknesses to lay them aside. Help me look towards Jesus who is the foundation and perfecter of my faith.