Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lars & The Real Girl

We recently re-watched the movie "Lars and the Real Girl". Rob and I really enjoy this movie - it's a different role for Ryan Gosling (who doesn't love Ryan Gosling??) and it's a really, quirky, thought-provoking, refreshing movie. I'm not sure everyone would love it (it is quirky) but we really do.

We hadn't seen it in a few years and not since we've been married. This time around, I had a completely different take on it. This time, I was a lot more intrigued with two of the main characters in the movie - Lars' brother and sister-in-law, Gus & Karin.

(Any Parks & Rec watchers out there? Yes, that's Mark Brendanawicz.)

They live on the same property as Lars and they are some of the only people who interact with him on a daily basis. They are a totally "normal", healthy, loving couple who have been married a few years and are expecting their first child. So basically in the same life stage as me and Rob which is probably why it caught my attention. 

One of the things that Gus & Karin realize throughout the movie is how they got so wrapped up in their marriage that they missed out on opportunities to love and reach out to their brother, Lars. It made me ask myself if Rob and I could learn anything from that. 

My immediate answer was no - we are both actively involved in ministry both in our full-time jobs and the ways we serve outside of that (neighborhood ministry, our families, our homeless friends, hosting people in our home, college students, etc). But then I started thinking of ways that we've created space in our life or how we spend our time and I tried to think of it with a fresh perspective.

I think I can tend to fall into a rut and feel like I'm giving to/serving/loving others just because I am giving to/serving/loving Rob. I spend a lot of my time investing in my spouse and in a healthy marriage. I think of ways to make him feel special or loved, I lay down my preferences on how I want to spend our down time, or I use my extra energy to clean our house so that he doesn't have to help me with it later. I love thinking of new ways to surprise, bless, and love him. And please hear me - those are all good...great things. They keep our marriage healthy and the ways we give to and serve each other are a lot of the reason why we enjoy our marriage so much.

But I think I realized that we need more balance with it. While we pray for and work towards and strongly desire a healthy long marriage, that's not all we want to be about. 

Ultimately, we want our lives  (and by extension, our marriage) to be about the mission of God. We want our lives to be centered around, obsessed with, and driven by the good news of Jesus. We want the success of our lives to be Christ glorified through us and the advancement of His kingdom through us. And the great news is that a healthy and long marriage is a by-product of us pursuing that together. Whether we are single or married, the more we can take our eyes of ourselves and the more we are able to put them on Jesus, the more satisfied we are in Him and the more glorified He is in us. This helps foster healthy lifestyles, marriages, homes, perspectives, and relationships. It's what we were created for.

So that's what the Lord is currently teaching me through this quirky little movie! PS If you are interested, it's on Instant Streaming on Netflix! (If you are wondering if you would like it, and I know you, shoot me a message and I'll let you know if I think you'd enjoy it :) ).

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