Tuesday, October 22

Caring for Myself Body and Soul 20:
Exchanging rules for guidelines

I started the month of October planning to post every day for 31 days on the topic of taking care of myself, body and soul.

And if you plan to post every day for 31 straight days, you must absolutely, without fail, post every day for 31 days.  You can't quit.  You can't fail.  You must follow through.  Right?


If I'm completely honest with myself and with you, I recognize that I chose to write about self-care because I need some.  And I'm not very good at it.

The events of the past several days, some good and some bad, have kept me away from my computer.  So I've failed.  I haven't posted each day.  My 31-days-in-a-row of posting is a bust.

I broke the rules.

But God is still on the throne.

I'm a rule-follower par excellence.  Ten Commandments?  You bet.  Give me a dozen.  I believe in the power of law and order.  Certain rules really should never be broken.

Over the years, though, I've set a lot of rules for myself, and I've driven myself pretty relentlessly to follow those rules.  Worse than that, I've punished myself mercilessly every time I've broken them.

Life is not a scientific formula that will balance perfectly every time.  Some aspects of life can be organized and planned; others require actions and reactions that can't be predicted.  But the Spirit of the Lord lives in me, and I can trust the Spirit to guide me (Galatians 5:25).

So today I'm resolving to change the way I govern myself.  Of course I'll always have respect for God's laws.  But as for what I set for myself, my goal now is just to follow some guidelines that are good for my loved ones and for me.  And if I fail sometimes to follow those guidelines, I'll learn from the failure, make adjustments as needed, and carry on.

What about you?  Do you govern yourself harshly?  Do you need to join me in exchanging rules for guidelines?

If you need a good laugh, watch this clip from The Andy Griffith Show in which Barney Fife lays out the rules.

This post is the twentieth entry in a 31-day series: Caring for Myself Body and Soul.  
Click here for a list of all the posts in this series.


  1. I understand completely. I decided to do the 31 Days Writing Challenge after I read that you were doing it. I had never heard of it before, and I decided that it would be a good way to learn the discipline of blogging regularly. It's been tough. And I've missed a day or two! :) But I'm not going to beat myself up about it either. I've certainly done better about writing in my blog this month than I have in the past several months! And I do think that it's been a great learning experience for me too. I've enjoyed your posts about caring for yourself. I have 3 little boys and sometimes, I'm the last one on the list. This month, I have made an effort to take care of me . . . such as getting my nails done and my hair colored Finally! Exercise is next on the list. Thanks so much for reminding me that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of everyone else.

  2. Oh, Richella, I'm a rule follower, too! And I must admit, it kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up. But it causes us to be hard on ourselves AND on others too, don't you think? I'm trying to reform. I really am.

  3. Don't you think that the worst rules are some that we impose on ourselves? Thanks for not being too hard on yourself. Diane at anewchapter-diane.blogspotcom

  4. First of all, I LOVE that episode of Andy Griffith (I love all episodes of Andy). Being a "good" rule follower definitely has is a good thing....BUT...unless the rules are God's, such as in His commandments, they are usually man made. Sometimes we just can't follow them all...especially the ones we set up for ourselves. I wish I was more disciplined about many things in my life. It is something I will continue to strive for but like you said, sometimes we can become too rigid. I have no doubt, sweet Richella, that whatever rules you have broken, God was right there with you saying "it's OK".

  5. I bet that whatever you were doing offline that kept you from this blog was infinitely more important and lasting, because living our real lives always will be. So from my perspective, you've succeeded!:) but oh, how I can relate!

    I have always been an idealist, and discovered that you can't be a very good one unless you make rules upon rules in order to reach those ideals. In the not too distant past, I would create all these expectations, almost knowing that I would fail, but would do it anyways. I discovered that this is the persona of a self-saboteur and a perfectionist.

    Health issues have really brought my expectations of myself down to a very base level-where I am on maintenance mode more often than not. I have had to repeatedly give over those dreams and ideals to our God and ask Him to sift them and show me what to keep and what to forget about completely.

    The more I do this, the more His peace fills me and I am content to do and be less if that means He is more glorified.

    The process is never easy, though and I 'm not sure that I will ever accept the imperfect quite perfectly this side of heaven.

  6. Oh- You are onto something here, Richella. I am WAY to hard on myself. Anyone else I can give a pass to-but me- I judge myself way too harshly. Great post here today- xo Diana

  7. Great post!! Thanks so much , Richella for stopping by and for your kind words!!


  8. Hello, I was so glad when I saw that you had missed a day LOL. I thought to myself she better be having too much fun to be blogging!! I love to make lists not rules! I must be open to the Holy Spirit as plans change!
    I love Ya all the more!
    Blessings, Roxy

  9. I have been thinking along similar lines as you have, dear Richella. I have come to realize that all I have is given to me by God, and what He gives, He can take away. The only thing He asks is that we do not let go of His hand. So I am trying to surrender myself over to His will. Only His rules will last; any rules that I set for myself have to be only guidelines, or else I am not surrending to Him. Oddly enough, once I gave Him the power, I have felt so much more at peace - much better than being a "recovering perfectionist." Give yourself a break, dear friend - the earthly "rules" are not His. The world did not end because you did not post daily this month. Blessings still occured and, unfortunately, so did some tragedies. You woke up breathing in His goodness another day. Praise Him and all His glory!

  10. Oh how I can relate! Life never seems to go as planned (my way) and when the unexpected happens the "rules" I've made for myself fall apart. It is for freedom that Christ set us free, right? He is so pleased with you Richella and all you do to shine for Him. You touch many lives, most especially with your authenticity. Grace and peace to you dear lady.

  11. I totally get this. I'm a rule follower from way back and am very good at punishing myself for my many failures. Thank you for sharing your struggle and your resolution to "learn from the failure, make adjustments as needed, and carry on." Good advice. Think I'll try that too. Blessings!

  12. Oh yes. I am a rule follower and it stresses me out when others don't follow the rules. Well, at least the important ones, like "20 minute parking" and "10 items or less" when I have 12 items. Ha! Grace. I need it everyday...for myself and to lavish on others. Thank you for this post!


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