My four year old loves rules. They govern her life. Here are examples of the rules she loves:
Only Daddy makes pancakes.
Lunch is at 11. You cannot watch television until the afternoon.
Treats are for dessert. One is a treat, two is junk food.
It is okay to be upstairs alone but not okay to be downstairs alone.
What is so comforting about these rules? What does this tell me about God?
The Jews found 613 commandments (http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm explains them) in which to keep. Most Christian churches leave it at ten. My last pastor had a list of the commandments in the Bible and offered to email it to whomever asked. I never asked, figuring I had enough to worry about.
When my daughter gets old enough to understand them, I bet she will be thrilled to know how to get things right.
I am less enchanted with rules, but I am aware of the Ten Commandments, and Proverbs, which warn against deception. http://bible.cc/proverbs/4-24.htm is a great resource speaking about keeping deception from your lips.
Why is this so important to me? Doesn’t the commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness” say enough?
For me, no. When I am high I don’t lie, but I do leave things out, have selective memory and speak deceptively. I don’t outright lie; I have lied three times since I became a Christian, but I do have many more twisting of facts and leaving out information. I feel like I need to cover up my wrong doings and take care of things myself. I don’t want to make anyone mad. I don’t want open lines of communication. I don’t want to do anything but indulge myself and my compulsions. That is what it is; compulsions.
Take my last shopping spree. All of that has finally ended, praise be to God. I told my husband that I had gone crazy buying shoes. He asked me how much money had I spent – Was it over a hundred dollars?
Yes. I said yes and that is all I said. I didn’t tell him it was well over a hundred dollars – maybe even more than a thousand dollars. I reasoned to myself, “I’m taking most of it back.” “I don’t want to make him mad.” “I did have some of my ‘own’ money; money from birthday and Christmas time, I can just tell him I spent that.”
I did tell him that I spent my birthday money on certain things. That is true. I have or are in process of returning things, that is also true. As I come down from the high more things appear and more things get changed or returned. I just absolutely needed to have the things I bought.
This is what happens: At first I need to have the things and feel elated that I own them. They are mine. I spread them out on my bed and inventory them mentally. This is how I found out I had bought 30+ pairs of shoes. I was alarmed, but delighted at my good fortune.
As things slow down a bit I begin to feel embarrassed and ashamed at what I’ve done. (I understand this is the same sort of feeling people with other issues experience too – those committing random acts of sexual immorality, drug users, manifesto writers.) I can’t believe all that I have purchased. I can’t believe I thought I needed these things or even wanted them.
I decide to do the “right” thing. I find my receipts and match them store by store. Target has a lenient return policy and if you have the credit card you bought everything with they can use that if you don’t have a receipt. I haven’t discovered other store’s policies yet, but if you’re interested I can let you know in a couple of days.
I decide maybe I won’t do exactly the “right” thing. I want to keep what I have. Why shouldn’t I? My brain scatters all over finding excuses that I should be able to keep what’s left. The shoes have been worn was one such example (They haven’t been worn yet, but I’m about to go wear them).
I do the most right thing I can do. I did have some birthday/Christmas money to spend – let’s get my mind wrapped around that and figure out how much I can legitimately keep. Some of the things are not returnable, like my adorable bra and panty sets I bought. (I went to Fredricks of Hollywood and Walmart. Next time I will just go to Walmart). I deduct those from what else was given to me and bend my will towards frugality. I feel a touch guilty because this money could go towards our family’s Disneyland fund. But it didn’t. I’ll let it pass.
There are four large bags worth of merchandise sitting in the back of my SUV. I will spend Monday and Tuesday returning things. I would like to think I will vow to never do that again, but I will. I know I will.
After all this is straightened out my husband is taking my credit cards. It’s the right thing to do, however, it makes me feel like I’m twelve and am not ready for the responsiblilyt of cards. My mother thinks I should be able to have them too, but, to be honest, it’s like giving me a bottle of golden rum and telling me not to drink it. I will drink it – sips at first, mai tais and daquiries, then shots. It’s just like that with a credit card.
So, the moral of this story is…. I don’t know. Enjoy rules and follow them?