Just follow the rules

I like rules. I always have. They give me a guideline for how life should be lived.

I’ve always been ‘a good girl’…except when it came to relationships with the opposite sex, but that’s a story for another time.

When there are set in place rules of how one should do things…it is my expectation that others think that they are important as I do. And i also like consequences, not so much for me…but for other people, who fail to meet these rule requirements. I have to be honest though. I do love rules, but then there are those I don’t deem as necessary and that I’m okay with breaking, even though there is a little niggling of discontent with the idea at the back of my mind.

This has been more than evident to me lately at my place of employment. There are multiple chances given to people whom I feel should have been let go around their third or fourth chance. But that doesn’t seem to be the way things go here…at least in most situations. As a rule follower, this is very frustrating for me. However, because I am not a manager, I am only privy to the information that I see, not what is actually happening behind the scenes.

I realized lately when an anger burned in my heart towards someone that I like rules and the boundaries that they create. You do this, you don’t do this. and its pretty straight forward. When others don’t follow that it messes with my order of life as it ‘should’ be. Mostly because I can’t begin to understand the choices that would lead some people to break these particular rules.

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Watching the ‘If:Gathering’ last weekend was a challenging time of being fed in God’s word and called forth by some amazing Christian women. One of the sermons that specifically spoke to me was Ann Voskamp’s. She made a very shocking comparison, of our making our relationship with Christ into a business transaction, like that of a prostitute. Like we have to do something in order to have something given back to us, and we don’t live in hope but rather a constant yearning to ‘get it right’ and make sure that our payment (Actions/deeds) are enough. ** And it burned deep. I know that I am sinful, but its a head knowledge and not a heart understanding. It doesn’t usually cross my mind how utterly undeserving I am of God’s grace and the fact that I’m living and breathing on this earth, because usually I’m convinced that I’ve done what I think is necessary to guarantee that I’m living right.

We were reading the book of Judges a week or so ago in our Bible study for church and all I could think was ‘God is giving WAY TOO MUCH grace’ in these situations. I didn’t voice my opinion, because I didn’t think that I would be able to explain where my heart was, and at the moment I was feeling particularly surly…so it might not have come across anyway. But it shocked me that I could see God’s continual deliverance of his people, time and again, even though they returned to their former ways, as something that was excessive and I didn’t agree with.

And one day as I was driving to work (where so much of my conviction and heart conversations with GOd happen, my car) I came to the realization that I don’t think that grace is necessary in my life. That the reason that I think that God’s grace is excessive in these Old Testament recollections, is that I see them continuing to resist the rules that He so clearly put in place…and they keep being given people to rule over them and bring them back to God…for a little while. And I think….why does he allow this? And I wonder, because I’m sure I don’t have the whole picture.

But this picture of the prostitute, and our relationship of earning our relationship with God, making sure that something is given so that something can be recieved…this resonated deep. Because the story of Gomer, it is one that I just can’t wrap my head around. I don’t get it. She’s loved with a crazy love, and she keeps running back to substandard love time and time again, and she is taken back…and loved with a love that only God can restore.

And I don’t see myself in this story….but that’s because I don’t want to see myself here. I want to see myself as the upstanding woman in white, whose hands are unstained and whose eyes have not seen this debauchery. And yet who am I fooling. Heard deep, and just below this ‘perfect’ surface lies the true heart beat of a sinner…unacknowledged. Because I’m sure that the red ‘Harlot’ burns brightly on my chest, my fingers are covered in the blood of my own brandishing against others and there are bruises and distrust on my face from where I’ve run looking for what I perceive to be truth.

Because in my life, its easy to fill my life and time with things that reflect Him into my life, but are NOT His words that I should be steeping my life and heart in. Conversations that seem to go so deep, and yet I wonder is heart and life change in them. Because really, after all this..do I see my sin? So i see the depth of it? Do i see grace as undeserved, rather than a gift I’m just sure I’m going to get? and I know there isn’t a place necessarily for grovelling in the hollowness of it all, after all He took them all upon Him, and yet by not acknowledging my need for a Saviour in the first place, in some sense I make the cross void of its purpose in my life.

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And so this week, with startling clarity I realized that I have no sense of the sin in my life. Of what a sinful creature I am and that is this un-exhaustible grace that continues to be lavished on me that is such a blessing and completely NOT something that I deserve. I am thankful for this conviction. But what will I do going forward. How will it change who I am, how I live? Will I see the beauty of the cross, and not just a place of horror and grace, but something that I need to make a life change reflection? I step forward in this knowledge, that I’ve thought its all about what I can do but instead its all about what He’s done…and how I need to see freedom and life change in this.

**Ann’s conclusion was that our relationship with our Father should not be lived in this ‘giving to get’ manner but rather in the freedom found in grace given and accepted.

Joining up with Jennifer and Emily for their link-ups this week.



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