Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{day ten} at the foot of the cross I lay down the rules...

I'm a card-carrying, proud member of the rule following club.  Or I try to be.  I mean, I try really, really, really hard to be a rule-follower.

I love rules.  I love to know the rules going into any certain situation or environment.  And I love to follow the rules.  At the very least, I like to find an acceptable loop-hole, that makes it seem as if I have followed the rules. 

If you haven't gathered by now, despite my past that is cluttered with so many mistakes it's hard to even see the path, I live my life very much colored inside the lines.  Everything has a place, and everything must be in it's place.

But I'm learning something about myself and rules.  If I feel as if I haven't followed the rules, then I feel like a complete failure.  Complete and utter failure.  And then I work extra hard to prove that I can follow the rules.  That I am good.  That I am worthy.

God is whispering to me during this season.  He is revealing to me that I could never possibly follow all the rules perfectly.  Much like the Mosaic Law from the Old Testament, rules show us how messed up we really are.  How rebellious our nature is towards authority.  I'm not saying that rules are bad.  But I am saying that our belief that we can follow them perfectly on our own will is impossible. 

Think about it. 

Kindly wait patiently.  Be it in the doctor's office or the grocery store line or in traffic.  But how often do we lose our cool?  How often do we allow the inconvenience of waiting ruin our day?  Can we receive that perhaps it is during this time of waiting that God is calling you to place of stillness so you can listen to Him?

Or what about speed limits?  The state issues limits on how fast we can drive on any given street.  But how well do we follow the speed limit?  Don't we just view it as more of suggestion rather than a rule?  And then if we are given a ticket for speeding, might as well find someone you know to plea your case, right?  Because it's unfair to get a speeding ticket when we are speeding.  At least, that's our mentality.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  Except of course, when you don't agree with that person's decision or opinion.  Or when that person has offended you or hurt your feelings.  Then, it is absolutely acceptable to talk about that person behind their back, but only if you add a 'bless her heart' after the statement or a 'pray for so-and-so' before the statement.  Because then it's not really gossiping, right? 

Always tell the truth.  Except when the truth will get you in trouble or hurt someone's feelings, right? 

Forgive and forget.  But not really.  I mean, tell them you accept their apology, but continue to let the offense fester and build your case for your imaginary rebuttal or revenge. 

Obviously, I say all of this tongue-in-cheek. 

Or do I?  Isn't that how we live our very lives?  Day in and day out?  As if the rules only apply when they serve to benefit us?

The Truth {not the truth, but THE TRUTH} of the matter is that no mistake, no failure, no rule-broken is unredeemable.  Not one.  Not a single one.

Not yours.  And not theirs.

Just like my failure does not define me.  Their failure does not define them {even if that failure affects you or your loved ones}. 

The foot of the Cross is level.  We all stand on equal ground.  And it is in this very place that Jesus tells us that we don't have to follow rules.  We just have to follow Him and allow Him to guide us. 

I've spent the better part of my life trying to be 'good' and follow the rules.  I've worried over decisions and the future and the past.  I've worried over being right and feeling justified.

But today, I'm laying it down.  All the rules.  All the anxiety over following the rules.  All the confusion over breaking the rules.  Instead of living a life trying hard to not fail, I'm simply going to accept His gift of grace and rest in His mercy. 

I'm going to just love Jesus.  And then, I'm going to love others just the same.

After all, Jesus said these were the greatest rules.

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