When God takes Second

Photo on 2013-04-01 at 19.40Who is your God?  Mine can be so hard to define sometimes, and yet I live a life that would suggest the answer to be simple.  Daily I read the Bible where over and over and over again it says, God is the only God and there should be no other.  However, I live in a culture where so many things are deemed “the most important thing”; things other than God.  In Biblical terms, these things are called idols.

(See Psalm 96:4-6 and Habakkuk 2:18-19)

We make idols out of material things (computer, tablet, or smart phone anyone?), out of money, our jobs, and even people.  Lately, I’ve had conversations with so many people about how men can so easily and deceptively become idols in a woman’s life.

The question has been posed to me in different ways but all asking basically the same thing: Have you ever put your husband before God?  If so, what do you do about it?

Let me tell you that it’s very likely that I have a choice to make every single day whether God or man (in my case, usually my husband) will be central to my life, love, and happiness for that day.  It is probably more likely lately that I’m going to miss a beat and put my husband, Andrew, in that place.

It’s hard enough being married to a mechanic.  The long hours, the unpredictability of vehicles, and ridiculous pay system is a challenge in itself.  Anyone who is a mechanic, or is married to one, knows what I’m talking about!  Andrew and I have been challenged even more over the past several weeks as he’s taken a night shift–fixing cars that will be sold in a used car super-center.  He now works 3pm-3am four days each week.  I remain on a typical daytime schedule.  This means that we can go days without seeing each other or even talking to each other.  Even on the weekends, our waking hours only have a small overlap, so the time is precious.

I hate this!  Before I was married, I hated living by myself.  I always had a roommate if I could help it just for the sake of my sanity.  I would keep myself extremely busy in the evenings and on weekends so that I wouldn’t go crazy or become depressed.  When I finally got married I took a huge sigh of relief, thinking that I’d never have to worry about being lonely again.  Well, I’m back to trying to be busy nights and weekends, with an occasional visit to my husband during his break at work as we try to keep the romance alive in our relationship and even just catch up on day to day conversation.

This situation has really caused me to reevaluate my heart.  Am I putting my husband before God?  Wherein lies my satisfaction?  How do I know?

It may sound morbid, but my litmus test is imagining the worst.  I imagine that I get  phone call from someone telling me that my husband has died, has become gravely ill or disfigured,  or that (oh, God, spare us both!) he’s left me for someone else.  I ask myself, “If something were to happen, would I be ok?”  That is, what would I have to lean on to get me through such tragedy?  If my answer is not, “It would be extremely devastating but I know that God would be there to comfort me through the pain,” then I have a problem.

Even if I think this in the sense that I know that is the right answer but I can’t honestly say it isn’t true for me right now, then I have a problem.  I then need to redirect my heart, realize my husband is a broken and imperfect man (Romans 3:10-12), and God is the only source of satisfaction for my life (Romans 5:1-5).  I need to get down on my knees and seek God’s face.

I am truly grateful for my husband.  He’s a God fearing, honest, dependable, loving man.  He points my heart to the Truth of Jesus better than anyone else in my life.  God gave me a blessing when He gave me Andrew as my husband.  God also gave me a challenge; to daily remember who is responsible for my life.  If I don’t seek him with my heart first, it’s impossible for me to love my husband well or even receive Andrew’s love for me.  It’s also impossible for us to work through difficult situations together, like the recent scheduling challenges.

Just for good measure, the following is a shout out to my fellow mechanic’s wives who can identify with the occupational challenges of their husbands.

10 Signs that  You are Married to a Mechanic:

  1. Your husband comes home from work walking like he just climbed out of a really small box.
  2. You can’t find the dish soap by the kitchen sink and immediately look for it in the shower and find it there.
  3. Your husband never has clean or straight fingernails.
  4. Your husband smells like motor oil even when he’s not just been working on cars.
  5. While driving down the road together, your husband often makes random comments like, “Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.  That car <fill in car ailment here>.” Or, another favorite, I worked on one of those this week and I would never want to own one because <insert recounted experience here>
  6. You know what “flat rate” means and really dislike it.
  7. You understand when your husband sometimes comes home at the end of the day in a bad mood because you know that he probably worked several hours that day which he knows he won’t get paid for.
  8. Your husband has extremely strong hands and can open any jar no matter how tight.
  9. When you go out with friends, at some point during the evening someone will start making funny car noises and ask your husband what he thinks is wrong with their car.
  10. The only garage you take your car to for repairs is your own…unless your husband has access to the shop where he works, in which case garage hours are after closing time.

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