Seriously?

A while back, our youngest bought a gift for one of her friends at school. She bought it with her very own earned dollars and was excited to get and give this gift. It was a cute little necklace. My daughter had one half of a charm that, with its other half, said “Best Friends”. She had her necklace and gave her friend the other half of the charm on another necklace.

The girl’s mother took it from her and threw it away.

Seriously?

My young one’s feelings were hurt and she was a bit confused by the mom’s actions.

Sitting at lunch the other day with her friends, the conversation came around to a place where my daughter finally asked the girl why her mom threw the necklace away. The short answer is the mom thought it could have been demonic.

Could have been what? Seriously?

What the hey hey?

Despite how it may sound and assuming what was said is true, I don’t think full-on crazy is the culprit. While there may indeed be some delusional thinking there, I think this has more to do with the mom trying to follow her religious beliefs. I get a strong inkling from convos with my kid that the family is Christian-y, but not sure what kind or denomination. If so, from what I’ve heard over time, it’s the lots and lots and lots of rules variety to be sure.

Which, in all honesty, saddens me. Long deep sigh.

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.” Col. 3:16 NLT

That verse. It almost jumped off the page into my lap when I read it the other day. With all that’s going on in the world, so many of us who claim to follow Jesus are simply not focused on the right thing. We want to control life with rules. We are missing out on so much and likely causing others to miss out too.

Christ. All richness. Fill. Let it.

Just let it.

I grew up Army, so I’m pretty much just a general kind of Protestant, with no real allegiance to any one denomination. I have never been firmly entrenched in any particular kind of denominational dogma, rite, influence, tenet, practice, etc. In addition to the general Protestant chapel services on post, I have attended on a regular basis Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, non-denominational, and Assembly of God churches. I’ve even gone to Mass more than a few times.

I have been plenty churchified enough to know how to play the game. To know most of the rules. To know how I should act. To know what I should do. What’s expected. What the right thing to say is. However, the actual how to really love and trust God and to know what I’d live and die for has had very little to do with being churchy.

The shaping and molding and searching and growing and rebellion and changing and melting and purifying come from living life. From screwing up and trying again. From finally getting it right and feeling the sweet sense of victory. Not by following rules, rules, rules, rules, rules and then fearing breaking the rules. There is no life there, a subject which, unfortunately, I know a little something about.

There are standards and right and wrong. Most definitely. There has to be. I’m not saying you can do whatever you want, but when your life is governed by nothing but rules, where’s grace? Where’s life? Can you see Christ’s richness? Do you experience His love? How do you show love? Can anyone live up to your standards? Do you?

One prayer I prayed early on in my faith was that I would be real. I didn’t want to play the game. I wanted real. For what it’s worth, I do not recommend this prayer unless you are willing to walk through some shiznit. Rather than play the perfection game, I’d rather screw up a thousand times and learn and grow into a real faith. I don’t want to live in fear of mistakes and people’s perceptions. To not know the joy and sweetness of overcoming. To miss out on experiencing how deep the love and grace of Jesus goes. Even if I hate every step of the journey to get there, and oh man have I ever, I want it to be real or I don’t want it all.

It is for freedom Christ has set you free. It’s likely there are a few things you have learned that need to be dropped from your repertoire. Be free. It’s ok. Walk in the Spirit, not the law. God really does love you. It’s a rich life He’s offering you, let it be. Let Him control, not you.

Now go read Galatians. Seriously. If you struggle with a rulesy orientation, all I can say is Galatians has helped replace fighting within myself over expectations and “ought to”s and pointed my focus toward grace. Simple, sweet, amazing grace. Deep sigh of relief.

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.”

Christ. All richness. Fill. Let it.

Just let it.

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