Ok, I admit it. I’ve been watching Bridezillas today. It’s kind of like watching the cliched train wreck. It’s horrible but hard to look away. I’ve been sitting here shaking my head and wondering what in the world is wrong with these men, that they will tie themselves to women who act so atrociously. And the women… oh, my goodness. When did the idea of the wedding day being the bride’s special day turn into “it’s my day, I get anything I want, everyone needs to listen to me and do everything I say?”
For anyone who has had sense or taste enough to have never watched Bridezillas, it’s a reality show that follows women during the week or so before their wedding, as they totally melt down; screaming, hitting, throwing tantrums and objects, ordering everyone in sight to do things ranging from creating hundreds of wedding favors to getting on a scale in front of a room full of people, from waiting on them hand and foot, to full-fledged calisthenics.
Certain phrases seem to crop up often. Some of the most frequent are “It’s my day and everybody better do what I want”, “I’ll get what I want no matter what it takes”, and my favorite, “I’m a princess and I deserve it.”
It seems to be symptomatic of the current culture of entitlement. These women don’t believe that they owe their fiances, bridesmaids or families any consideration or respect because this is “their day”. The fact that it is a day that is special to them excuses any behavior, and the notion that for some reason getting married means they deserve whatever they want excuses whatever they have to do to get it. In fact, as far as they are concerned their family and friends owe them nearly unending time and attention because their wedding is coming up. I even saw one bride “fire” a bridesmaid for having the audacity to be in the hospital when the bride wanted her to be helping make wedding favors. The bride’s explanation? “She wasn’t dying. She could have been here. It’s my wedding and that’s more important than anything.”
As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that a great deal of our society has a similar sense of entitlement when it comes to God. There’s an assumption that God owes us a good life. That’s kind of what he’s there for, to take care of me and give me the things I want and need. After all, it’s my life, it should go the way I want it to. I ask God for certain things and they should happen. “I prayed and prayed for that job. Why didn’t God answer me?” If things get difficult, we tend to react kind of like these bridezillas – “It’s not fair! Why is God doing this to me? What did I do to deserve it?”
The truth is God owes us nothing. Yet he gives us so much – much more than we deserve, and much better than what we would give ourselves. Our desires and requests are limited to what we understand and what we can see right now. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows what will be the best in the big picture – including the struggles and trials that will help us hold on to him tighter and grow our roots of faith into him deeper. He knows which things we beg for that would be terribly detrimental a year or five years later. He knows the things we never thought to ask for that are our true heart’s desire.
I go back and forth between thinking Bridezillas is funny and thinking it’s just horrible. I know it’s trash. I find myself amazed that people can act so badly, and then I wonder why I’m surprised. Selfishness is at the core of human nature. Other than by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, we are all throwing the “I want it my way” tantrum, the only question is whether it’s on the inside or the outside, and if we do it in a quiet, civilized way, or a manipulative way, or a full-fledged fit. But only God can change us on the inside to genuinely want a way that isn’t our own, that doesn’t fall into our plans, that isn’t convenient or nice or self-satisfying. That’s one of the reasons I am so convinced of the truth of the gospel – I’ve watched people be changed like that. I’ve experienced it. And it’s just not something you can do yourself.
But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Romans 6:22 MSG