break your rules

break your rules & live by God's.We all have rules for ourselves.

Sometimes they’re good: “I will always wash my hands after using the restroom.”
That’s definitely a good rule.

Sometimes they’re odd: “I refuse to be seen in a red car.”

But we all have them.

There’s a sweet lady in my church. When she was in her upper 30’s, both she and her husband were preparing to go to a foreign country. They were looking primarily at English speaking countries since that’s the only language they spoke. But one day her husband {in his early 40’s} came home and told her he thought God was calling them to the Azores.

The first thing she asked? “What language do they speak?”

And so they both learned Portuguese.

Thirty some years passed. God had brought this couple back to America and they  were preparing to begin a ministry to Spanish speaking people.

Except for one problem – they didn’t know Spanish. So back to school they went to learn a new language – she in her upper 60’s & he in his 70’s.

Seriously? Who does that?

Like, really – I’ve been trying to learn Spanish recently so that I can build a relationship with my neighbor and you know what? It’s HARD! And maybe I’m a wimp. But I’m also 40 years younger than she was when she learned Spanish!

As I listened to her testimony, the main thing that impressed me was her tender heart towards God. She could have easily decided not to learn a new language, but to leave that for the fresh, young Bible college graduates. But they didn’t. Because God was calling them and they said yes.

If she made a rule for herself against learning a new language, she wouldn’t have followed God’s leading.

Sometimes we make rules for ourselves that aren’t good. And they aren’t odd.
Sometimes we make rules that actually make it impossible for us to follow God’s leading.

We make rules for our standard of living – where we live, what we drive, how we eat, what we wear. Our schedule. Our level of entertainment. Hosts of rules regarding our children.

Rules like:
“I will never live in a neighborhood like that.”
“My child will always be in this school.”
“I’m never going to be friends with someone who acts/looks/dresses/talks like that.”

But what if God calls you to that? What if God calls you to sell your home and move to a place where you can have more contact with people who don’t know Him? What if He calls you to send your child to a public school – or home school – or private school? What if God wants to use that friendship to help you become more like Him?

Are you going to immediately respond with “no” simply because you’ve made a rule for yourself against doing that?

You see, the tricky thing is this – a lot of times I make rules for myself and I don’t even realize I’ve made them. It’s not as if we have rule books we write everything down in that we will or won’t do. No, it’s something we come up with over time. But the rules are so ingrained in us that they might as well be written out in beautiful chalk lettering on our walls.

Break your rules.

As you seek God and His Word, He will lead you to places outside of your comfort zone. He doesn’t lead everyone to learn a new language when you’re 67. But He does lead each of His children to walk by faith. And something I’ve noticed? Faith is not my comfort zone.

Allow God to work in your individual life. He won’t call you to do something against His Word.
But my guess? He’s going to call you to break your rules and live only by His.


If you are a parent, seek to teach your child to have this kind of a tender spirit to God. One of the main things my husband and I pray for our youth group is that they would develop a tender heart to the Lord. Not a heart set on their plans and desires, but a heart that says, “God, whatever you want. I’m yours.”

How do you teach this heart? The best way? Model it.

As you make decisions for yourself and your family, talk with your child about your decision process. Are you stepping outside of your comfort zone and living by faith? Talk them through your thoughts, struggles, and the verses God has used to strengthen your faith. You never know how God will use daily faith conversations to work tenderness into their hearts.