Rules for No Reason
“How horrible it will be for those who make unjust laws and who make oppressive regulations.” Isaiah 10:1
When my daughter, Melissa casually mentioned going to the grocery store three times in one day, I was surprised. She is hardworking and efficient, and every bit as OCD as her mother. I spouted off, “One time I forgot something and had to go twice in one day--” and here are the words I can’t take back – “and I felt like an idiot.”
Thinking back, I worried that my daughter felt like I was calling her an idiot. (She didn’t.) On the contrary, this was more about my ‘rules for no reason’ – my beating myself up – my OCD planning – and my futile and toxic attempts at perfectionism.
I forgot something – and I felt like an idiot.
How can I ever stop this judgmental attitude toward MYSELF? When will I let it go and allow myself freedom to mess up? To be human? I'm not talking about sin here -- I'm talking about forgetting something from the grocery store!
This reminds me of other rules – the kind of house I should live in, how much income I should make, what my work schedule should be, what I should wear, what I should eat for breakfast and even when I should eat breakfast.
That’s a whole lot of shoulds, right there. None of them affect morals, responsibilities or harming myself or others. So really – as long as my daily nutrition needs are met, who cares when I eat what? And so what if my work hours are 10-6 or 11-7? Or if I wear lace when it's not in style or leave the house without makeup? (Gasp!) After all, avocado toast was once unheard of and tiny houses were frowned upon.
Likewise, so what if I stop at the grocery store more than once a day? My daughter walks to the store and buys what she needs right now. I buy what I need plus what I think I might need to get through the next week. She spends less on groceries than I do -- a lot less. So there’s that.
Sometimes I forget stuff, and sometimes I want to eat something I hadn’t planned. As of now, I’m giving myself the freedom to do so without guilt or judgment. I’m reminded of my post a few months ago – The Fences of Freedom. Yes, we need discipline and boundaries. Efficiency and productivity get things done. Goals are good. But we don’t need rules for no reason. If tradition, habit, or other people’s opinions determine our personal rules, we might need to rethink whether they reflect God’s rules -- or His grace.
This new year, rather than restrict our lives with unreasonable resolutions and unnecessary rules, let’s enjoy the freedom of “no rules” whenever possible. With grace for ourselves and one another, we might just love life, others and Jesus a little bit more.
“And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done….
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law;
rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.” Philippians 3:6-9
If you enjoy taking Time to Enjoy, check out the book Time to Enjoy Your Blessings by Dianne Miley. To learn more about her books, visit her website at www.diannemiley.com.