Find the Misery and Make a Rule!
“Rules were meant to be broken.” “Rules were meant to be followed.” Which one is it? Personally, my experience is that when you give someone a rule, human nature takes over and they seem to want to break it. I spent two years at a university that was very conservative and had rules for every hour of our existence. It seemed that 90% of the men on this campus spent 90% of their time figuring out how to break the rules. That being said, I want to argue that for you and I personally, rules may prove to be a saving grace in the midst of the chaotic world we live in.
In his helpful book, The One Life Solution, Dr. Henry Cloud says this:
“Rules are instituted to keep the order that people are not keeping themselves. They limit and they protect. Freedom that is unlimited causes a lack of focus. Freedom within boundaries (or a rule), within a structure, is real freedom. You become all that you can be within that space.”
I read that statement recently and believe I am now coming to a world-altering solution: I need rules to protect me from me! In our highly mobile work-from-anywhere world, rules may prove to protect the greatest treasures in my life.
In other words, there are a lot of things that I can do that are morally, ethically, and professionally “fine” for me to do, but they are not necessarily the best thing for me to be doing! I can spend plenty of time obsessing about a message I need to deliver, a tough conversation I need to have, a presentation I need to give, a task I need to complete, a goal I hope to accomplish, OR I can make a rule for myself. I can make a rule for specific things that would say this: I am going to create a plan, I am going to be faithful to the plan, and I am going to leave the results and outcome in the hands of God.
So – where do you establish rules in your life? Again, Henry Cloud tells us this: “You only need rules when you find that something is continually happening that you do not want to happen, or something is not happening that you desire. Find the misery, and set the rule.”
What are some rules you need to set for your personal or professional life, or within your family, with technology, or even in your finances? Could these rules help limit you and protect you for greater faithfulness and fruitfulness in the arenas of life that God has entrusted to you?
Here is the challenge: Go through the major buckets of your life, find the misery and set the rule. Then, share them with someone who will keep you focused on these!
Matthew 6 (The Message) “You know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
(Image credit : Time Management Ninja)
A fantastic post and so enlightening! I’m going to share this with my teenager. He seems to feel rules are to be broken (or bent considerably, especially those at school) because he feels they cramp freedom and individuality. In reality, they allow your freedom and individuality to flourish. He’s in the midst of learning about the over-rule environment in totalitarian governments and I think he gets that mixed up with healthy rule setting and healthy limits on personal freedom. True, it’s sometimes difficult to see where that line must be drawn and how much restriction is too much, but it’s important to understand that healthy rules do help us and protect us.
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