Kristin Schroder resides in Brookline, MA, and is a producer for commercial photography as well as an assistant for Redemption City Church in Boston. She also founded TRIAD Magazine, which is centered around enjoying the beauty and wonder of everyday life. Kristin is passionate about God and his gospel transforming individuals and communities.
Not too long ago I discovered something about myself: I’ve been building a “wife resume.”
This resume got its start when I was a little girl, and ever since I’ve been tweaking it, updating it, and pondering if I should change it to "Single Girl Living In Complete Contentment As A Single Girl" resume.
Why A Resume?
Since I was young, I’ve operated under the belief that I must earn the position of wife. I must meet a plethora of standards before I am granted a husband:
- An evident Spirit-filled life, including a deep theology and understanding of the scriptures and of God's character
- Perfect contentment with my singleness
- Physical beauty
- Great cooking skills
And the list could go on.
This list exposes my belief that I must achieve standards before attaining the cherished role of wife. Some standards I enforce on myself, and some I wrongly assume God enforces. Yet, I am continually met with despair when I don't measure up.
The Lies of Achievement
In the midst of this resume building, I've told myself another lie -- I must somehow attain the perfect balance of a) being hopeful with my wifely desire and b) staying wonderfully "content" (i.e. not constantly thinking about marriage). Don’t desire it too much, and don’t desire it too little. I would need to find equilibrium on the “Desire for Marriage” pendulum before God would act.
Marriage at some point has been or is an idol for most of us. I've worshipped the idea of marriage. I have altered my life and my decisions around this little god rather than around the one true God and his Word. No questions asked: this idolatry is sinful and I must continually repent.
Thus for a majority of my life, I thought any desire for marriage, however strong, was sinful. Additionally with that deception, I thought that if I achieved the removal of the desire, then I would eventually win over God and he would say, "Well done, here is your prize: your husband."
Yet, in His kindness and discipline as a good Father (Heb 12:6), He put wise women in my life that taught me my desire for marriage is both natural and good. It's the way God has wired many women, and it’s not something to be pushed to the far dark corners of my heart. There is freedom to talk with the Lord about this desire, to ask Him about it, pray about it, and to seek wisdom from others about it.
So after coming to understand the desire can be good, I still carried with me this idea of achievement . . . that being a wife would only be earned if I asked Him rightly, if I prayed about it rightly. Only then I would eventually win God over and He'd say those words I hoped He would say before, ”Well done. Here is your prize: your husband.”
Sounds a lot like playing a game.
The idea of achieving the status of “wife” has at its core this ugly lie: that it’s completely dependent on what I do and how I act. It wasn't until recently that I realized this way of thinking is counter-gospel.
Operating with Gospel Lenses
Yet, the Gospel brings hope. God doesn’t love me because I’ve achieved anything. He loves me because that’s who He is. The gospel frees me from having to work for God’s acceptance because I am accepted through Christ, and I have been given His righteousness rather than having to earn my own. I brought nothing to the table; He brought everything.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works. Ephesians 2:8-10
If I apply the gospel to my desire for marriage, I come to realize that God won’t give me a husband because I’ve achieved it and reached “equilibrium.” If God does give me my husband, it will be in His own time, in His infinite wisdom, and as a gift, not as a prize that I’ve earned, but as something that is for my good and His glory. What freedom! I no longer have to hold myself to impossible standards. I’m free to trust God with my life and I’m free from the fear of messing up or failing to attain “equilibrium.”
So, if you find yourself in the same boat I found myself in, whether it’s in regards to marriage or any other desire of the heart, rest in this glorious truth: the pressure is off. Crumple up your resume, you already have the resume of the perfect one – Jesus.