I was going to post this in my last blog post, but I didn’t want to make it any longer than it already was! This is the last little bit that I wanted to share from “When God Writes Your Love Story” Once again I’ve underlined what really stuck out to me.
Our Practice Field
When I was nineteen, God got ahold of my life. All the excitement I had for the Denver Broncos went directly into my love relationship with Jesus Christ. Everywhere I went, I would tell people about Jesus, and everyone who knew me before “the change” thought I had just taken a dip in the loony pond. I was a new Eric! I was loving people, serving people, and even hugging people. I was a changed man, throwing a great big love party! I was a great big bundle of angelic compassion everywhere I went, except when it came time for me to go…home. The problem was my family never received the invitation.
I’ll never forget the day the tall, lanky stranger muttered the words. I have heard many words in my life. Most of them have traveled down my ear canal at the speed of light, never even slowing down for as much as an hors d’oeuvre before exiting out the other side. But these words stuck. They sat their gigantic derriere down, made themselves comfortable in my cranium, and let it be known that they were there to stay. “Did you know that you are only as holy,” the skinny man said, “as you are in your home?”
I was a good Christian. I had given Jesus Christ my entire ship. I was learning to love, to guard the treasure of my purity, and to be faithful to my future spouse. I didn’t know anyone else who was doing that! But God was showing me, Eric, if you’re not able to act like Jesus now with those most close and familiar, then what makes you think when you get married that you are going to be an example of Jesus to your wife? Eric, you are only as Christlike as you are Christlike around your family. If you start there, where it is most difficult to love, then it will be easy to display Christ everywhere else!
Family is our practice field. We take into our future marriage what we learn in our life with “them” in the here and now. If we learn to snub and disown those closest to us now, we’re setting habit patterns for broken trust and emotional heartache in the future. If we train ourselves in the here and now to verbally abuse our family members, we will be conditioning ourselves to bite rather than bless in the future.
When I was eight, my mom signed me up for piano lessons. I loved to tinker but I hated the practice. Practice is the most grueling aspect of success. But when the day of the recital came, I was always very glad my mom had forced me to practice. Because I was prepared, I was a whole lot less likely to make a fool of myself in front of the crowd.