She knows the honeymoon is over when she accepts the fact that he can make the bathroom smell worse than any gorilla exhibit at the zoo.
He knows the honeymoon is over when love notes on the mirror have been replaced by “bring home milk or don’t come home” texts.
You both know the honeymoon is over when dinner and a movie is Netflix and takeout.
courtesy of ScaryMommy.com’s 23 signs you know the honeymoon is over
But just because the honeymoon is over doesn’t mean there’s no romance or love. Honeymoons are great, but out of necessity, for the long term good of the marriage, they must come to an end. You then get on with building the firm foundation of the marriage. The same is true with your Christian walk. You have the exciting “first love”, and your baptism, and everything is exciting. You wake up at 4am every day and read and study for 2 hours. (Suuuure you do.) But then the trials come (or simply don’t leave as you expected they would). It’s also true with the local church. Or the new pastor. Or the new worship leader. Or the new …. (fill in the blank). Everything is exciting at first. All the worlds ills will be solved by the new (Whatever). Then it isn’t. And perhaps you become disillusioned. Ben spoke this week about bridging from Fan to Follower.
The fan is excited and emotionally vested in the team. But feelings and emotions are fickle. One day, you might wake up and you find you’re “just not into it.” You can take it or leave it. If your team is losing, perhaps you’ll just move on to something else so you don’t feel the downer emotions from the loss.
But that’s not what being a follower is about.
Sooner or later, you’re going to become disillusioned with your team, your spouse, your friend, your job, your church, your child, or --- you get the point. It has to happen. It’s just reality. It’s not like we should be surprised either. Everyone will tell you there are difficult times in every marriage. Raising children is hard. Every job has aspects of it that are not your favorite. One day your dog will leave you a present on the carpet, or chew up your favorite shoes. But what do you do about it?
The first thing to do is acknowledge those times are coming, and when they do, label them for what they are. The world is not coming to an end. It’s a phase your child will likely grow out of. It’s one part of your job that perhaps takes a few hours every week. It’s a financial struggle you can get through, perhaps with counseling, but help is available. Eventually she’ll forgive you for being a knucklehead.
I’m not trying to make light of the real trials you’re going through. Because some of them are huge. I get that. Remember that you’re not alone. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (the first scripture I ever memorized as a born again Christian) says “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” NLT. FYI – we should pay more attention to the word “endure” than the words “way out”. Just saying.
Like it was stated above, we shouldn’t be surprised. We were warned these times would come.
Is it hard? Yes.
Is it worth it? You bet. Nothing can be compared to eternity with God. It’ll be worth it. Have you become disillusioned with some aspect of your life? Your church? Your faith? It’s ok. Stick with it. You’re not alone. You’ll get through it. Embrace the struggle. One of my favorite lines from the movie, A League of Their Own, about a professional women’s baseball team, was when one of the players was complaining how hard it was to be a mom, a wife, and a team player. Tom Hanks, the coach, says, “Yes it’s hard. But it’s the hard that makes it great.”
That “hard” is what creates us into who God wants us to be. He’s not as much interested in our comfort as He is our character. Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered. Jesus. The perfect Son of God. He had to learn through suffering. Why should we expect any different? It’s part of the human condition. Yes, it will likely be hard. It was promised to be. But it’s the hard that makes it great. Is your honeymoon phase over?
If not, then revel in your emotional high. It’s great. Get everything you can out of it. But know it isn’t forever, and embrace the change as it comes.
If the honeymoon phase of your Christianity is over, good. Now you’re crossing the bridge from fan to follower. Now is the time to get on with building the real foundation of your relationship with Jesus. It’s here that you learn what it’s like to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Roll up your sleeves. We’ve got real work to do.