Monthly Archives: May 2010

Rules, rules, rules…

I am a rule follower.

I can’t help it.  I really suffer from anxiety when I don’t do things the way I should.  If we don’t clean up our dogs’ poop immediately I am sure the HOA will send us a letter.  We went into a state park one time that had a $2 admission with an honor system box; we only had a $20 bill so we went on in and I was fairly certain that a park ranger would see us on a (probably non-existent) security camera and arrest us.  Once, when we were dating, my husband and I went to the dollar theater to see a movie and when it was over we snuck into another theater to see a second movie and I worried for the entire time that an usher would storm in and bust us.  Over a dollar movie.

Yes, it gets ridiculous at times.  Yes, my husband laughed at all of those examples while they were happening.  He is constantly saying “You’re such a rule follower.”

Like that’s a bad thing.  Sheesh.

Because I’m a rule follower, I get very irritated when other people don’t follow the rules and still avoid consequences.  I see co-workers slacking and get frustrated that they don’t get into trouble.  I talk with friends about how (sometimes high-profile) people (often in ministry!) have treated them badly and I’m so upset that no one is seeing them for who they really are.  I have conflict with people and feel like I’ve been wronged and I can’t stand that they get away with it.

It’s not fair, I think.  Why do the rest of us have to follow the rules and they don’t?

Rules can be good.  They keep us safe and provide boundaries that we desperately need.

Rules can also be bad.  Rule-following can easily, easily, easily lead to self-righteousness, and therein lies my struggle.

I have no right to harbor ill feelings toward people who don’t get anxiety from breaking the rules like I do.  This does not mean that I think everyone has the right to disregard the rules, but rather that I have no right to harbor that ill will in my heart.

You see, even though I may be a “rule follower,” I can be a pretty crummy Christ follower.  I fall easily into gossip.  I worry and fret about things completely out of my control.  I don’t always put others first.  I lose my patience.  I lack self-control in so many areas.  I don’t always choose joy and peace.

I fall short yet I’m forgiven.

If I consistently fall short of God’s standards, how do I have the right to expect others to live up to God’s standards?

If I need the grace of God in my life, how can I not offer that same grace that I’ve been given to others?

If I am incapable of living a sinless life, how can I hold other people to that impossible standard?

I don’t want my rule following to turn me into a self-righteous person.  I’ll probably never be a person who completely disregards the rules.  I’ll continue to drive right around the speed limit and I’ll make sure my library books are returned on time.  I’ll keep wearing my retainer every night (embarrassing but true…sigh…) and I’ll worry when we have a few people over that we’re taking up too many parking spots and we might get into trouble.

But while I’m following all of those manmade rules I’ll remember that there’s dozens of other rules that I’m breaking on a consistent basis without even thinking about it.  I’ll try to remember and appreciate the grace that has been bestowed on me, and I’ll strive a little harder to extend that grace to others.  If I can’t make it through life without messing up and doing wrong, how can I get frustrated when others can’t either?

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” — James 4:10

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Six months…

It seems unreal.

We had our last Sunday at our old church exactly six months ago.

It’s been six months since I’ve been a worship pastor’s wife.*

It’s been six months since I had to help unload a trailer at 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday.  It’s been six months since DH had a restless night of sleep because the responsibility of leading worship in the morning weighed so heavily on his heart.  It’s been six months since he was working 50-60 hours a week to make each Sunday morning service happen.

It’s also been six months since I got to worship with some of my good friends.  It’s been six months since I’ve even seen some people I care deeply about and who were a huge part of my life for years.  It’s been six months since I’ve last seen the smiles on kids’ faces that made getting up early on a Sunday totally worth it.

The last six months have been some of the most challenging in my life, and though I don’t like to speak for DH I’m pretty (or totally) sure it’s the same for him.  We’ve experience higher highs and lower lows than we thought possible.  We’ve laughed together and cried together (sometimes at the same time!).  We’ve had to disappoint friends and family by not making trips home because we couldn’t afford for DH to miss a gig.  We have explored our city and found tons of cheap (and free!) things to do for our weekly Date Day.  We’ve had weeks where we drove as little as possible because we needed to conserve gasoline until another check came in the mail.  We’ve both celebrated birthdays and our wedding anniversary.  We’ve watched some of our friendships fade because things can be just plain awkward sometimes.  We have been given opportunities to do the things we love and actually make money at the same time, which is something we certainly don’t take for granted.

Through it all, we have seen God’s faithfulness carrying us through each step of the way.  I am daily reminded of His love and His mercy even though I am so undeserving.  I’m ashamed at my unworthiness yet He continues to bless us, and I’ll never understand it though I am so grateful for it.

Six months.  Holy cow.  They’ve been utterly exhausting, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23


*There is a remarkable difference in the reaction I get when I tell people my husband is a musician vs. a worship pastor.  When I told people he was a worship pastor, it inspired a conversation about the church he worked for.  Now when I tell people he’s a musician, I get an “Ohhh,” a pitying glance, and a change of subject. HA. ;)

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Providence…

We have less than $10 in our checking account.

An awkward confession?  Probably.

A sign of God’s faithfulness?  Absolutely.

Even though we have less than $10, our bills are paid.  We have food in our house.  Our mortgage is current.  We know that paychecks will be coming in the mail and direct deposits will be showing up in our account by the end of the week.

In a few days, it will be exactly six months since DH left his job in November.  Six months.  It’s absolutely unreal.  It has been six months since we have had a regular, full time income in our household, and even though there are things that I want to buy, there is nothing I need to buy.

We are so well provided for that it’s overwhelming.

We stress, of course.  We worry and fret and sometimes have to tell the power company that they’ll get their money a week late.  We have to turn down opportunities to have dinner with friends because the fanciest thing we can afford right now if Chick-fil-A, and even that is only for special occasions like Date Day.  Thankfully, we rarely worry at the same time, which we believe is God’s way of making marriage work.  The calm one can always talk sense into the stressed one. :)

God has blessed us with work.  We both have been given opportunities to make money by doing the things we love, whether it’s playing music (DH) or teaching and caring for children (me).  We are still living free of any credit card debt.  Money doesn’t fall from the sky, but sometimes the chance to make money seems to.  I was given the opportunity to do some typing for a friend’s business and the amount I made added up to enough for me to buy shoes and get my hair done for a wedding that I’m a bridesmaid for in a few weeks.

I know that we probably won’t always live the kind of life where I’m happy to have only $10.  I may even be able to one day get my haircut without budgeting tightly or buy dog food without checking the bank account.  I think, though, that when that day comes, I will miss having to rely on God as much, as strange as that sounds.  On a daily basis we see God’s faithfulness in providing exactly what we need, even if we selfishly think that we need more.  We are reminded that our sustenance comes from God and God alone.  For some reason He has seen fit to bless us beyond our wildest imagination, and we are thankful beyond words.  As much as we turn to Him in the desert now, I hope that we turn to Him even more in the harvest that is to come one day in the future.

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