Tag Archives: right

Following the Rules

Following the Rules (my journey through Psalms 119)

I don’t understand people who intentionally rebel against the rules.

Seriously. I don’t.

When I was in high school, my friends had curfews and had to call their parents at certain intervals to check in. Most of them had a strict rule system they were supposed to follow…sometimes they did, and sometimes they really didn’t.

As a kid, I always wondered why my parents didn’t give me the same strict guidelines, but as an adult I now (think) I know why.  I was WAY harder on myself than they ever had to be.

This is who I am.

On the Enneagram, the call it a “type 1”, the reformer (I don’t remember if I have talked about this before or not on this blog, but if I haven’t, you should really look this up. And even take the test. I am not what you would call a ‘people person’, but this institute has really helped me gain insight into others, and particularly what motivates them. In writing, it has helped me create more dynamic characters too. It’s fascinating.).  I love rules.

Psalm 119 speaks straight to that rule-loving, do-the-right-thing inner soul of mine. And I love it.

That doesn’t mean I always do the right thing. Lord knows I make a bundle of mistakes just like the next person, but my default setting is to follow these rules and be rewarded for my pains.

Get the A.

Get the recognition.

Get the appreciation.

Unfortunately, I don’t always like the fact that I do what is right and somehow that recognition and/or reward is not exactly what I expected; meanwhile, Joe Schmoe does whatever the hell he pleases and, by all appearances, is the more successful one.

What happened to righteous justice? To the natural order of things? To do what is right and be rewarded?

I’ve been learning a lot lately about obedience. I’ve never had much of a problem being obedient if I can understand why I must be obedient. Don’t touch the stove, you’ll get burned. Gotcha, I don’t want to be burned so I can follow that rule!

Like most people, I struggle to be obedient when the outcome is a little more…ambiguous. You want me to do what now? Give money to someone in need? But, what about my needs? I can’t afford to give any extra money–unless I want to eat Ramen for the next month or two.

Sometimes I’m obedient. 

Sometimes I’m selfish.

But that’s not what God wants from me, is it? He doesn’t want me just to follow the rules that keep me safe. He wants me to walk in his ways, to become less about recognition and more about recognizing others’ needs. He wants me to do WELL, not just to do RIGHT.

Do well, the right thing, and you will be accepted.

Not by the world, no, you may never be accepted by the world (let’s face it, Ash, you’re kind of a weirdo!), but you will be accepted by God. If this were the world’s definition, doing the right thing would lead to health, wealth and popularity.

But God does not follow the ‘natural’ order of things, he is supernatural and his definition is pretty eccentric: do the right thing and be accepted could lead, well, anywhere he needs you to be.

And it will be amazing.


Life isn’t Fair, but God is: My Journey through Psalms (56-59)

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

That promotion at work was given to a slovenly coworker.

Your boyfriend breaks up with you unexpectedly.

Those girls you’ve been hanging out with have started a vicious rumor about you.

Your parent dies.

Your child is sick.

You can’t get along with your mom to save your life.

Your dad abandoned you.

You got in a car wreck on your way to the hospital to see your dying grandmother.

A hurricane hits the weekend of your wedding on the beach.

There are complications with you pregnancy.

I could go on and on and on, but the only thing fair in all these circumstances is that life isn’t fair for anyone all the time. Though sometimes it feels like God plays favorites and maybe even picks on you more than most, he doesn’t.

Because then, he wouldn’t be God.

He’d be the product of an ancient myth, throwing golden apples in our path to distract us and entertian himself to fulfill some narcissistic desire.

But that’s not God.

In his Psalms, David epitomizes the nature and essence of God.

This man after God’s heart never asked to be anointed as King, but he was blessed with this great honor and for a short while enjoyed the favor of man.

But then life got unfair.

And David’s life of pleasure and privilege turned to life on the run, overnight.

You see, it wasn’t God playing favorites here either. It was man. And man’s approval is as unpredictable and changing as the winds. You enjoy the favor of man’s approval and maybe even seek it. Then when it shifts you’ll always be disappointed.

Life will always be unfair.

But when you pursue the favor and pleasure of God, that’s when life becomes FULL in spite of (and sometimes because of) the injustices.

“Do rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? (58:1). All day long, they twist my words (56:5). [but] I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until disaster has passed (57:1b)”.

Because it will always pass.

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the sky. (57:10)”

Even though “I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me (59:4). My loving God will go before me and will let me gloat after those who slander me (59:11) [and] I will sing of your strength in the morning. I will sing of your love for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble (59:16).”

It’s always darkest before dawn, but because our God IS fair. He IS right. He IS just. If we fight until dawn breaks, we will see just how glorious that morning can be!