It’s 8am and I’m *just* waking up! My kids are at that glorious age where they are sleeping in a little and know how to get to the Disney channel. Instead of celebrating this small victory of extra sleep, I immediately feel guilty. I SHOULD have gotten up earlier! I SHOULD have taken the extra time to exercise. I SHOULD have already finished my Bible reading. I SHOULD have gotten my emails out of the way for the day. I SHOULD be getting the homeschool day underway. A dear friend once told me, “we have to stop ‘shoulding’ on ourselves and ‘shoulding’ on others”. As if the “shoulding” weren’t enough, my internal voice begins to justify my terrible actions of sleeping in. “Well you need that extra sleep, you stayed up working past midnight.” “I’ll just start my structured schedule tomorrow.” And so on…
One of my favorite authors, Tullian Tchividijan (grandson of Billy Graham), talks about the big ‘L’ law and the little ‘l’ law in his book “One Way Love.” The big L law is God’s law and the little l laws are the laws we impose on ourselves every day. He also refers to these as self-salvation projects. As I was reflecting on the guilt and condemnation I was feeling just by simply sleeping in, I realized I was imposing a whole host of little l laws (not to mention many cultural laws) on myself! This is not the freedom Christ has set me free for! I’m all for structure and actually thrive in it. However, when that structure runs my life and breaking it brings an overwhelming sense of guilt and condemnation, that is not good. What it showed me was that I do from time to time use that structure as a means of self-salvation. It gives me a sense of worth and value to have all my boxes checked off neatly. To know that what I’m doing matters, that I myself matter. Even if no one sees it. I’m accomplishing things and therefore I am winning…a race that is really only against myself.
In God’s marvelous love for me He reminds me, that all the value, worth, acceptance and position I crave. I already have in Jesus! Isn’t that amazing?!?! I’m killing myself everyday striving for something that Jesus already died to give me! Sonship with God Almighty! (Romans 8:5) I am an heir of God!!! (Romans 8:17) I have inherited GOD HIMSELF! Therefore my identity can stand firm in WHOSE I am, not who I am! I can now enter a rest that is supernatural. Not because of what I do but because of what Jesus did! As Tullian says, “The internal voice that says do more, try harder. Do this and live! Gets drowned out by the external voice that says, “IT IS FINISHED”! Now *THAT* is good news!!!
I can hear the questions coming. Well what do I do now? I still have that long list of things to do: homeschool, Bible study, clean the house, meals, work and on and on. Are you suggesting that I just DO NOTHING and rest??? Neglecting my family? Absolutely not! We are now free to work out of our identity in Jesus, not FOR our identity! We have freedom to do those things as a labor of love, instead of a way to justify ourselves. Free to break the rules and tell that inner voice to be quiet. Our evenings have been so busy lately! I had done some meal planning and had meat already thawed. I realized there was no way I would be able to cook dinner at dinner time. All the sudden it dawned on me, I can make dinner for lunch! Who made the rules that this meal is only for dinner? And WHY am I following it?
Elyse Fitzpatrick has this to say in her book, “Good News for Weary Women.” “So what’s the takeaway for women in our context? Recycle if you like. But recycling doesn’t justify you. Eat organic foods and give birth to eight babies in your bathtub if you like. But whole grains and natural births don’t justify you. Walk for whatever cause you like: be pink, be green or dress in camo print. God isn’t impressed. None of those things justifies you. Homeschool or don’t homeschool; be married or don’t be married.Live in the city, live on the prairie; love highbrow classical music, groove to Lecrae or bow humbly before ‘And Can It Be That I Should Gain?’ None of it justifies you; none of it is enough to make you righteous before the Lord. But don’t worry- the position of justifier has been filled. His name is Jesus. You don’t need to audition anymore. Rejoice!”
When you feel the overwhelming sense to justify yourself remember, Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.