Growing up, I hated the rules of the house. Make your bed, clean your room, no phone after 8pm, Sundays with family. Ugh.
I remember rebelling against the rules, just because. I had no real reason except I didn’t want to follow them. They didn’t make sense. They didn’t apply to me. I was my own person.
That attitude worked for me when I left the house. I could make my own rules. Make my bed? Ha! Nope. Let the dishes pile in the sink? Why not!
What didn’t work so well was other people's responses. One roommate piled all my dirty dishes on my bed. She said she didn’t mind them but she needed to make room to wash hers. I had to rethink my plan. Maybe my rules infringed on others.
Over time, I’ve come to realize the same thing with God’s rules. (Yes, I rebelled against those for a while too!) Perhaps they were designed with me in mind. Instead of believing they were made to hold me back, I took on the notion that just maybe they intended to strengthen me, boost me, and comfort me.
God poked me big time with the recent news story: Stressed?Do Someone Else a Favor.
The premise of the research was that, “…When you focus your attention on someone else's wellbeing, it actually reduces your own stress levels. As a result, that curbs the negative impact that stress can have on health, says lead study author Michael Poulin, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo.”
So the Golden Rule applies after all? Who knew?
God did. Jesus came and taught us the Eternal plan by laying forth the ground work with The Sermon on the Mount, the Greatest Commandment and the Judgment of the Nations (Matt 5, Matt 22, & Matt 25).
“Whatever you do for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40)
(And once he laid the ground work, he laid down his life. That sacrifice leaves me in awe every time I contemplate it.)
Now I begin to understand there is something even more foundational that our Father is trying to teach us with that ground work . He was educating us on how we were made. Yes, in His image, but something more profound in the fabric of creation.
God designed us for community, for each other and for Him. Random acts of kindness are not so random. They are designed to help us help each other and in doing that we help ourselves. There is a circular connectivity, a “coming around” so to speak that enables all of us to reach beyond ourselves.
I know many people who choose to live a solitary existence. Every now and then, they let someone in, but it’s very calculated and is usually accompanied by a self-made wall they have deemed necessary for their own protection.
My mother used to comment, “They don’t know what they’re missing.”
Now I understand that wisdom with a whole new vision.
Walls are built to protect. They safeguard those who’ve been hurt, lost or neglected. But eventually those walls become a prison and the owner wishes for escape.
This is where God’s plan comes in. When we help others and do it on a consistent basis we help ourselves. We choose to live the healthy plan of circular love that God designed for us.
Isn’t it fascinating that our Father chooses such quiet ways to reach out to us, to love us? Isn’t it fascinating that it takes us so long to get it?
Maybe the “House Rules” really aren’t so bad after all…
I’m just thankful that God doesn’t leave my “dirty dishes” on my bed. I’d be in a world of hurt.