Hi friends—in just three days Anything is being re-released with a Bible study.
As I have heard from many of you over the years since writing Anything, one of the biggest questions and tensions from those who are married on surrender and obedience is some version of this:
“I am all in! But my spouse (who is a believer) is not on the same page.”
And for many who are not married, it has often been … “I am all in! But my parents or friends do not get it.”
Today we wanted to address how that has played out in marriage, but many of the thoughts can also apply to your family and close friends if you are not married. Last night we got in a date … a movie and a good talk over queso, and one of our kids even took our photo—never happens!
I begged Zac to talk about his perspective on the process of aligning on mission as a couple. Nobody can address this better than my husband, Zac. We have worked through this tension from both sides multiple times.
I am married to a zealot of a girl. She is emotional and deeply connected to God and easily shares her feelings and thoughts.
I am more steady. I am slower processor. I also deeply love Jesus but haven’t always had the tools to share openly about it.
I remember in our early years of searching for my purpose and calling, Jennie would feel so clear on God’s call for our lives. And …
“Please stop sharing what you think we should do—those are your convictions, not mine.”
What began as two years of asking God and one another where we could be used for His purposes, turned into a deep place of conflict in our marriage … because as God’s calling for us began to get clear for Jennie, it was murky for me at best for me.
Jennie kept telling me, “I look at your gifts and our passions and I sense God is calling you to be a church planter.”
Her confidence only exacerbated my uncertainty, and I had to finally tell her to stop. And she did.
Because I carry this huge weight of responsibility for our family, I know the weight of commitment and impact of big radical decisions. I want to make a decision based on what I know, so that I can move our family in a healthy way and not be impulsive. And I bet that is true for a lot of your spouses.
For Jennie, even if she thinks God is calling us, it’s simple. You jump, you go, you do it. But for me, it felt more complicated.
I am sure, looking back, when I shut down this conversation, I seemed practical and disconnected and unwilling to make sacrifices to follow God. But it was just the opposite—I wanted deeply to obey God … I just needed some space to figure that out, and it would look very different than Jennie’s passionate and emotive ideas of surrender.
Time + Thought + Space + Prayer is not disobedience.
Several months after I told Jennie to stop talking about planting and leading a church, I sat down with a mentor who said to me, “Zac, I look at your gifts and passions, and you are made to plant a church. Why are you scared to plant a church?” Haha! God was on the move, and what started through Jennie’s passion and belief in me, with space and time, God was now revealing to me and making it my conviction.
That the God of the Universe lives inside a believer and leads each of us into obedience is a miracle. But when you stop and think about it, for the Holy Spirit to lead a husband and wife in the same direction at the same time is incredible!
So for those of you who are married but are not aligned on mission, here are a few things to consider.
1. Don’t assume a lack of emotion is a lack of love for God.
Trust: God is sovereign over your spouse’s heart and can lead in His time. Proverbs 21:1
Consider: Writing your husband a letter and sharing what God is teaching and revealing to you, at the same time praising your husband and telling him how much you trust his leadership. The letter then serves as your release to allow God to lead your husband. I can promise you that those words will not be forgotten, and your husband’s heart will move toward you, not away.
2. Though what you are saying may be from the Holy Spirit, you may not be the voice God uses for those words to sink in.
Trust: The Body of Christ has many parts and many functions, but one Lord. I Cor 12:4-6
Consider: Going to dinner with a few couples and the question of the evening being, “Where is God leading your family?” You and your spouse may not have the same answer, but you each get to voice your thoughts and dreams in safe company so others can ask questions and know how to pray and walk alongside you.
3. Your spouse is not the obstacle to your obedience.
Trust: God has placed me right here, right now for my good and His glory. Acts 17:26
Consider: Reflect on the numerous ways you are aligned on mission, rather than the few you aren’t. And praise God for those blessings.
See why I wanted him to address it? Bottom line, my man is married to a hot, dramatic, passionate mess, and following God together has taken a lot of communication and work and time and prayer, and it is so worth it!
Many of you wish this was your problem. Maybe your spouse isn’t even a believer, or perhaps is even hostile toward your faith. Zac and I are praying for all of you today who find yourself in that category. Do not lose faith. Feel free to post anonymously if needed, but let’s pray for each other here. Look forward to hearing your stories and thoughts on this. What advice would you add?