Rules without Relationship

I was helpless, powerless to change, miserable. But you would not have known that because I had learned in my growing up years how to pretend to be something that I was not…

I had the skill set of being a hypocrite down to a science.

The only people I could not fool was my family. But we were all very good at the game of being one thing at home and quite another when the church family was looking.

The whole church thing had become stale to me as a teen. In my tween/teen years, I found it difficult to listen to the same message endlessly over and again about how insurmountable it was to please God. Every week the same message with a different chapter and verse only solidified my misguided negative opinion of myself of “not good enough”. I already believed this lie anyway so I didn’t pay attention anymore.
"We are caught in a tragic cycle. We believe little because we see little, so we see little and continue to believe little."~Beth Moore, Believing God

The pastor that I most remember in my childhood with the very long pointy finger had a semi-loud voice that could boom at just the right time. The prevailing message I gleaned from his sermons were “You had better_____ and you better not_______ or GOD is going to get you.” (you can fill in the blanks accordingly... I have my list, I'm sure you have yours too).

I had already learned at home that my best was not good enough, and even in church, my best was not good enough. It was pointless to try to please God since I didn’t know all the rules taught by men and I never measured up no matter how hard I tried. I simply was not perfect. I certainly didn’t know how to put the Bible Stories I had learned as a child to work in my real life. So I stopped listening at some point until my mother told me the pastor was concerned about sin in my young life of twelve or thirteen since I would not look him in the eye when he preached.

Well, I was bored for one thing… same message a different day with words that didn’t make sense to me and the only message I could relate to was that I was profoundly not enough and so why bother? I just sat quietly week after week until my mother told me of our pastor's great concern for me. I didn't look him in the eye, so I must have sin in my life. I was a teenager, after all, and the only things teens did was drink, do drugs and have sex outside of marriage... I must be "in sin".

From that point on, I made a distinct effort to lock eyes with his and never flinch until the last AMEN was spoken. I daydreamed about other things while staring the pastor down, never taking my eyes off of him. Rebellion had begun. Rules with out relationship will do that to you. And even though I was young and in church, I was still unchanged and did not know the word of God.

The "word of the Lord" is designed to reshape your purposes, putting you in a position for Him to do through you what you cannot do on your own."
~ Priscilla Shirer, Life Interrupted

The Word, Worship, Prayer.

These are my Roots