,

Quitting The Rules

Rules List written on the blackboard with hand holding white chalk

A few days ago my husband Steve and I landed in Orlando for a three night marriage getaway. Today was our last day and we’ve had such a great time. We haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!

Steve is the funniest person I know. When this man gets on a roll I am doubled over with laughter.

Thursday night, when we arrived, we decided to head over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. A group of ladies were standing there with Cinderella’s castle in the back ground preparing to take a selfie and Steve just very naturally says, “They’ve spotted me again. They just won’t leave me alone. Sure, they’re acting like they’re taking a selfie, but I know what they’re really doing. They’ll probably post it and it will go viral!”

Hahahahahahahaha!

Oh my gosh, I was laughing so hard! The reason this was so hysterical is because it’s so opposite of my husband’s personality. The last thing Steve McCollom wants is to be in front of a crowd or to have everyone starring at him and I guarantee you that it would never even cross his mind to post a video in hopes that it would go viral!

Organizing this marriage getaway took work. It required us to plan ahead and put money aside in our budget. In addition, we had to agree to set our list of daily responsibilities aside and make our relationship with each other a priority.

Our teenage girls were jokingly giving us trouble about not bringing them with us. Actually though, they’re so glad we’ve put our marriage first, in priority over our relationship with them, because it makes them feel secure to know we are still in love after 26 years of marriage!

Now that we are here we are so glad we set the time aside for this trip.

We totally recommend spending special time with your spouse on a regular basis, but you do not have to do something away from home or something expensive in order to make an investment into your marriage.

Steve and I have done so many stay-at-home dates or dates at our daughters’ sporting events over the years. We’ve told our girls that we’re doing a stay-at-home date and said to them, “we’ll be downstairs watching a movie. You stay upstairs,” or we’ve said to each other, “Hey, Starr has a volleyball game tonight. Let’s both go and make it a date night!”

Track season is coming up. Both our girls want to be in track; therefore, we’ll be doing lots of dates at track meets this spring. These kind of dates cost $0.

In regards to spending special, set-aside time together, there’s something I’ve noticed that has changed for us in the past year or so. We no longer put ourselves under a law as to how often we have to do date nights or marriage getaways. We did this for a long time and sometimes having a rule in place to help you get disciplined in an area can be helpful, but running our dating life by a law made it feel more mechanical for us.

I believe one of our main goals in life should be to live Spirit-led in every area. Spirit-led living always takes us far beyond any place a rule or law can take us.

Learning how to live Spirit-led only comes one way – through the heart change that is created in us as we live under the waterfall of God’s grace, day after day after day.

Interestingly enough, I noticed once Steve and I removed this law about how often we had to go out, we just started going out regularly because we simply enjoyed each other’s presence. In other words, we no longer needed a rule to remind us to go out together. We started staying-in-step with the Holy Spirit’s leading in this area.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I feel like every time I remove a law (an I-have-to-do-this rule) in my life I start doing that very thing that I used to do out of duty, from a place of devotion instead.

I’m just going to speak from my own personal experience and hopefully this will resonate with you as well, but I feel like so many times when I have a rule or a law in place it prevents me from hearing from, being led by and following the Holy Spirit’s lead in my life. Why? Because I find myself depending on the law to keep me in line.

I did this for decades because all my rules felt like such a place of safety for me as if they would ensure that I wouldn’t step out of line in any area. I was deceived though because actually my life was a series of one failure after another.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying there is no place for guidelines, rules or planning. I have all of these in my life in some form or fashion. In fact, I wouldn’t be in Florida with my husband right now if I hadn’t planned this trip. But I still believe the ultimate goal here is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives.

Before Steve and I let go of that law that we had set for ourselves that we “had to go on a date every two weeks,” I would find myself complaining to Steve.

“It’s been over two weeks since we’ve been on a date (sigh).” I would sometimes get annoyed at him for not thinking up a date and asking me out. Not that Steve never did this, but you know, when you’re operating under a law it’s going to end up showing you where you or others have fallen short every time you or they don’t follow that law perfectly.

I’m thrilled to report I no longer have this feeling now that we focus on living our lives by the Spirit’s lead as opposed to keeping ourselves in line by a list of rules. But guess what? We never once had a conversation about letting go of this law.

I believe what’s happening to us is that as Steve and I grow in grace by reading and studying God’s Word through a new covenant lens as well as reading books and listening to teachings about Jesus (the person of grace), Jesus is changing our heart and that heart change is causing us to move further and further away from living by rules and our desire to live Spirit-led lives has increased!

It’s so cool. It’s like, “hey, we don’t need this rule anymore because we have stepped over into living Spirit-led instead.”

Let me give you another example. I used to have a terrible habit of talking to my husband disrespectfully and making him feel bad about himself whenever he would make a mistake. I knew it was wrong, but I needed to understand God’s grace in a personal way before my heart could be changed in this area.

Once I started my grace journey on January 2nd, 2012 (I encourage you to get my book to read more about my story of freedom), I noticed a radical change in this area of my life.

Now, because of the work of change that God’s grace has made in my heart, I found I’ve lost the desire to talk to Steve disrespectfully or make him feel bad when he makes a mistake.

I won’t take credit for this change or any of the other positive changes in my life because I’ll never forget all the years that I tried soooooooooo hard to improve myself and failed miserably.

As a result of God’s grace, I am now living more Spirit-led where my marriage is concerned.

We have a black wood floor in our home. A couple months ago we were getting one of our toilets changed and Steve was dragging the box across the floor. He didn’t see it at first, but a staple on the bottom of the box was causing a long, deep scratch on the floor as he was dragging it.

I remember him calling me and telling me he had made a big mistake. He told me what happened and I replied, “Don’t worry about it Babe. You are way more important to me than my floor.” He went on for a while about how bad it looked and I could tell he was mad at himself that he had made that mistake, but it just wasn’t in my heart to make him feel bad about it.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that my response was like this because I now understand in a very deep way how much I have been forgiven of by God; therefore, I have a heart desire to naturally extend that forgiveness to others!

This is exactly why I will be spending the rest of my life helping others by setting their eyes on Jesus – who is Grace. I am convinced if I spend my energy pointing people to Him instead of trying to straighten them out they will also experience a heart change as they behold Jesus and this heart change will result in positive changes in their lives!

We had a decision to make in regards to fixing the floor. We could spend $1200 to fix it or buy this particular marker to touch it up and make it look as good as possible.

Steve would have let me do either, but I chose the marker route. Do you know why? Yes, one reason was that I did not want to spend $1200, but the main reason I chose to leave the scratch on the floor was because I wanted to be reminded of how Jesus has transformed my heart so drastically each time I notice the scratch.

Really, I hardly ever notice it, but when I do I say in my heart, “Thank You Jesus for how You’ve changed my life!” That scratch on the floor actually promotes thankfulness in my heart for God’s grace.

Oh my gosh, I’m seriously getting a deeper revelation in this area as I type this blog post. I hope you are as well!

As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self – life. For your self – life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder Him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self – life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self – life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit. But when you are brought into the full freedom of the Spirit of grace, you will no longer be living under the domination of the law, but soaring above it! – Galatians 5:16-18 (The Passion Translation)

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,