Saturday, January 24, 2015

31 Days: Who Makes Me Behave?

Okay, so now that I have given myself the freedom of opening the door and have chosen to go ahead and keep being a Mennonite, how do I live my life?

Let me be clear here: I am not talking about being part of a church that has written standards that line up with or are stricter than your own convictions. If you are a part of such a church you have agreed to uphold those standards and therefore, in my humble opinion, you should uphold them! If, as is often the case, the standards were made a very long time ago and half of them aren't being kept by half of the people or they don't make sense in this day and age but no one is willing to talk about changing them, maybe it's time to either a) follow them anyway because that's what you agreed to do or b) find another church!

But what if you find yourself in a church where there are no standards, or where the standards are way more liberal than what you want for yourself, how do you decide how God would have you live your life? Please, no offense to anyone here, I'm just trying to be practical --- How do I decide whether it's important to wear black shoes to church Sunday morning? If the 'scarfy deal' (as some people around here call them) is the thing everyone is wearing these days, is it ok if I join the crowd? If sewing trim and ruffles and extras on dresses is the norm, how do I decide what's ok for me? If other little boys wear shorts when it's hot and some little girls wear pants when it's cold, howIf a small, lacy veil is considered having one's head covered, should I consider that sufficient for my head too? I could go on and on here, but you get my point.

This reminds me of a conversation Chris had with one of our children. The child had done something and argued that we hadn't *said* not to do that! Chris said, "But come on, you knew it wasn't a good idea, right?" The child had to agree that they knew. Then Chris said, "There doesn't have to be a RULE about everything. Who makes me behave??" Weeeelllll, the child was sure that he's an adult and therefore he just....behaves! We laughed about that, because we know you don't just suddenly become an adult one day and magically start behaving!

We say that if we just KNEW what God wanted us to do, we'd do it!! The truth is, most of us are like the child who knows deep down when something isn't a good idea but a lot of times we just don't really feel like behaving! There's not always a specific rule that God spells out for us, but usually if we want to please Him we know deep down what He wants us to do.

I really think that's what God longs for from us - I know that's what I long for from my own children! Yes, it pleases me if they keep the 'rules' we make for them as a family. But what I really want to see, what makes me the happiest as a parent, is when I see my children in a situation where I'm not there to spell out how to behave and they behave anyway!


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts! I like the "scarfy deal" :) I've heard them called Mennonite necklaces :) Personally, I don't have a problem with them, but I don't wear them because I hate anything to close to my neck. I've heard it said, that wearing a scarf is like a small man choking you :) I agree with that one! Anyways, I'm enjoying this series!

Tina said...

Amen to this post!!! The choices we as parents make today will affect future generations. For that reason and more, we pry shouldn't do certain things!' And yet, it would be kinda nice to have some things spelled out.:)
If our headcovering is important to us
then let's wear it like it IS important and teach it to our children!! I believe that God expects His children to make wise decisions. How would I want to be dressed if, let's say, we would be persecuted today for our religious beliefs as the early Anabaptists were, and led to the stake , or etc.? Maybe that sounds far-out (?), but its something I've been challenged with in my dress making. How important are the pretty sleeves to me?
We may not know what to do if our door becomes cracked open... I feel we need to be careful to make our decisions of what we want to do next in the light of Gods Word and not think we can do whatever we want because we CAN! You've already talked about that haven't you, Bethany?
Am I wrong in saying that a lot of what we pass on to our children comes back to our we view God, holy living, our concern for our children's spiritual well-being, how we view the church, etc.