Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
Recently, I brought two different running shoes for my long morning run. It was a complete mistake and I had no idea I had grabbed my old left running shoe and my new right running shoe. When I arrived at the trail I laced up anyway and tried to run. 8 miles was the goal that day.
It didn’t feel right running with those two different shoes that morning. My left foot began to ache sooner than my right and as I tried to push through the aches just began to creep up my leg… my shin, my knee… I knew it wouldn’t be long before my hip would begin to twinge so around the two and a half mile mark I decided to turn around.
I walked back and for two and a half miles I thought about how ridiculous it is to try to run in two different shoes. Not only does it look funny it also feels strange and after awhile you begin to feel physical discomfort when you wear the old and the new at the same time.
The Old is Gone
On my long walk back I thought about Hebrews 12:1:
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
If you don’t get rid off all of the old… you can’t run. You can’t persevere.
I thought about 2 Corinthians 5:17:
If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come.
The old has to go away for you to walk in the new way God is calling you to.
It seems as silly as my mismatched shoes for me to think about hanging onto my old self as I walk in the new. But I still struggle with my old patterns and my old ways. I still have so much unraveling to do. There are so many layers to me and I feel like daily, as I read God’s Word, God is saying, “Hey you, put that off, that is the old way you used to think about that, use my Words and walk in them.”
When the old gets tangled up in the new it feels funny. I feel confused, sometimes isolated and off balance. Just like in my two different running shoes, if I try to walk with Christ with some old and some new after awhile it will begin to affect me emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Recently I have been thinking about an unraveled marriage. What would it look like for me to recognize and put off my old patterns and transform them with the Words and Power of the gospel? Could we run with more perseverance towards Christ? Could we feel more comfortable and in step? Would we feel less achy and less off balance?
I think yes. But I think we have some unraveling to do as husbands and wives.
When you come into marriage you bring so many unknown patterns with you. Learned patterns from your own family, learned patterns from your friends, learned patterns from your favorite books and movies.
When I am hurting, it is my natural tendency to stonewall or shut down, cold shoulder, give a cold but bitter “nothing” if my husband asks me what is wrong.
I live with the old pattern tangled up in what I know is true from the Word of God.
If someone sins against you, talk about it. (Matthew 18)
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
There is a burr in my side to be like the popular Disney Ice Princess and “Let It Go”. Let the old fall away from the new. And feel free, one with the wind and sky.
As a wife, I love my husband and I want to treat him the way God treats him. I don’t want to have old patterns I have brought from learned ways of the world and have them tangled up in the way God has designed marriage in the words of scripture. It looks as silly as those shoes and it feels uncomfortable and unsatisfying. You can’t run. You can’t persevere.
Unraveling is not as easy as switching out your shoes or singing a ballad on the top on an ice mountain. Unraveling hurts. It hurts our pride to say we are doing it wrong, it hurts and takes work to pray and hear and apply God’s designs for living.
Unraveling doesn’t happen once in a lifetime. Unraveling doesn’t happen once a week after a convicting sermon on Sunday morning. Unraveling doesn’t even happen once a day. Unraveling happens on the long hard miles of everyday life with your husbands, wives, kids, neighbors, and coworkers. I hope you remember to untangle the old from the new. I hope you remember both of your new shoes.
Rachel has her undergraduate degree in education from Eastern Kentucky University and was an elementary school teacher in her days before motherhood. At twenty-one she heard the gospel for the first time and at twenty-two she was married to Michael and alongside him at Covenant Theological Seminary while he pursued his dream of one day serving in the local church. Currently Rachel is a stay at home mom to the four children they had in four years- Ezra, Asher, Caleb and Lydia Jane. During naptime, Rachel writes on her personal blog and occasionally finds the time to speak at women’s retreats out of a deep desire to share the transforming power of the gospel in the every day as well as the humbling moments of being a pastor’s wife while raising, sweating and wrestling four young children in the front row. Rachel is the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at North Cincinnati Community Church where her husband serves as the Lead Pastor. Rachel is in search of time to eat, strong coffee, and a long trail run. You can connect with Rachel on Facebook, Twitter or on her blog, rachelcraddock.com.