My husband and I are watching our way through the entire NCIS series, and the main character, Gibbs, has these rules that govern his life and the lives of those on his team. They’re things like don’t put two suspects in the same room. Always carry a knife. There are no coincidences.
This made me wonder if making some rules might be helpful.
They could serve as reminders to keep me pointed in the right direction when I’m under stress and forgetting that I’m a warrior and not a big baby. Maybe they could help with those freak-outs and put an end to my meandering around trying to make a point.
The other day I was at the doctor’s office (got there late), and I was waiting in line behind a woman who evidently needed to make four appointments for everyone in her family. I tried to be patient. She checked her calendar, and the receptionist made small talk, and I stood there in a full room of people with a fake smile on my face. I was actually doing pretty well. I hadn’t made that heavy sighing noise I make when I’m annoyed, and there had been no eye rolling. Of course, all of that got to be a serious challenge when someone who had already checked in decided she needed to speak to the receptionist and cut in front of me.
That could have done me in, but then as I was standing there, I thought of a rule to govern my anger. I’m not good at being angry. I usually cry or clam up or do the sighing, eye-rolling thing. But standing there, I thought, “I want to be angry in the right way for the right reasons.” Waiting my turn in line behind slow, inconsiderate (I’ll need to make up a rule about putdowns) people is not something I want to be angry about. There are bigger injustices in the world. So I let it go.
And rule #1 was born – Be angry in the right way for the right reasons.
Don’t miss the point here. This isn’t about the actual rules, but more about thinking and doing. I have done a lot of thinking in my life about how I want to live, but that doesn’t always translate into doing. Maybe the rules can help with that. They can remind me.
I’ve been reading in Proverbs lately, and there’s a lot to be said about thinking.
“… though it costs all you have, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7b)
Thinking about our lives to come up with rules for ourselves kind of makes sense. It’s like putting ourselves in training to become what we can be. It’s something that we can do in a world where so many things are beyond our control. It’s a way of joining God in the process of helping us grow up.
What do you think? Do you have any life rules?
PS. My tree is still up. Rule # 26 – Don’t fret about the tree.