Equipping Your Reimagine Journey
I have a new theory—I would even call it a discovery—about two of life’s greatest mysteries. The two mysteries are related, and my theorem explains both.
The first mystery is why there are so many unhappy marriages, and the second is like it: Why is it often so difficult to find fulfillment in the modern-day churches we attend?
I call both of these “mysteries,” because God intended something far better. He created marriage and the church to be enjoyable, life-changing institutions.
So what has gone so terribly wrong?
That brings up my theorem, which I discovered while cooking eggs for breakfast recently. I’ll start by applying my discovery to churches, then proceed to marriages.
Most modern churches are like a carton of eggs. People come and sit together in neat rows of stadium seats, never touching, never relating, never sharing their hearts. They just sit there and observe the show, which probably would be more enjoyable if popcorn were served. After an hour or so, it’s time to leave. But the churchgoers, like eggs still in the shells, are usually unchanged by the experience.
How sad! No wonder millions of Christians have chosen to opt out of the egg-carton church experience. They’ve concluded that they might as well stay home and listen to a podcast.
Here’s the problem with this scenario, as my theorem so beautifully illustrates: Life-change only happens when there is vulnerability, and vulnerability requires brokenness.
Put simply, the eggshell must be cracked open if anyone is going to enjoy the egg. I don’t know anyone who eats the shells—it’s what’s inside that counts.
So if you’re going to have a meaningful experience with other believers, there must a touching of hearts (involving the egg whites and yokes), not just a superficial touching of the shells. That’s why so little transformation occurs while you sit, unengaged, as a spectator in a church congregation. The experience failed to reach your heart, will, or emotions in a meaningful way.
That brings us to an even more illuminating application of my theorem: unhappy marriages…
Last year I overheard a conversation that really troubled me. A recently divorced man was complaining to a married friend, saying he didn’t like being single. The married man just smiled and said, “Brother, do you realize how many million men would gladly trade places with you?!”
Ouch. The statement reflects today’s common view that it is preferable to be single than to be in an unhappy marriage. It’s a pretty sad commentary, but King Solomon reached a similar conclusion (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19).
Fortunately, my egg analogy helps to explain the demise of marriage in our culture, and it also offers hope for better outcomes if we learn its lessons.
The Bible says marriage involves TWO people who become ONE (Genesis 2:21-25, Ephesians 5:22-33). However, this phenomenon is often misunderstood, as my egg theorem shows:
If you are unhappy in your marriage or church, I wish I could sit down with you and apply my theorem to your specific situation. The good news is that it may not be too late to unscramble your scrambled eggs. But there’s no time to waste.
To rediscover the joy of intimate relationships, here’s what I recommend:
1. Make sure you are broken and vulnerable in your relationship with the Lord. Let Him get past your hard outer shell and deal with the issues of your heart. You’re never going to restore your marriage or find a life-changing church experience unless you first have a tender heart before God.
2. After you’ve been broken before the Lord, you can expect a new fragrance to emerge in your life, affecting all of your relationships. In a pivotal story in the Gospels, a woman broke an alabaster jar of perfume in order to worship Jesus. The resulting fragrance filled the house and changed the entire atmosphere (Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8). The same can happen with the atmosphere in your home or church.
3. As hard as it may be, you must let down your guard (i.e., remove the eggshell) and expose your heart and your emotions to the people closest to you. Men tend to have an especially difficult time with this. Too often, we come home from work, curl up on the couch to watch our favorite sports event on TV, and never take time to become emotionally vulnerable. Hmmm…no wonder that scenario doesn’t lead to a satisfying marriage.
Wow. There’s so much more I could say about my eggshell theorem. I’m praying for you to regain your tender heart and the joy of true intimacy—starting with God and then working outward to your marriage and close friendships. You’ll be amazed by how the atmosphere can change.