Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Write's Tag

Joined in this fun tag from here


1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

I write many different genres, styles, and topics.

I love art. And so I experiment with it all. I do like writing first person the best.

I love expressing deep emotions and thoughts all at once. I love fiction that makes you think and feel. The perfect ending is this: like a sunset, bittersweet, even though it's over and dark, there is the knowledge of future hope.

For non-fiction I love writing about what is on my heart of I am currently opinionated on. This includes ideas I am thinking about, my struggles, and articles on anti-feminism, homosexuality, roles and duties in friendships and love, honesty, and life.

I like people and ideas, and so I write about both.

I also really enjoy writing moral fairy tales.


2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?

For as long as I can remember. When I was little I was drawing and writing books, stapling them together. I still have those books :) They were going to be best sellers at one point of my childhood ;)


3. WHY DO YOU WRITE?

For so many reasons. Let's bullet point them :)


  • I know it's my calling and gift from God to do so.
  • Because it's what I know. I am good at it, so I do it.
  • Because I feel I have to.
  • It helps me get through things.
  • I want to change the world through edification and inspiration. 
  • I love art - and this is just another form.
  • To show the world that reality is meant to be lived in and embraced, not hidden from.



4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?

Early, early, early morning. When the house is quiet and my mind is still tired and fresh.

Or when ever I have a pressing thought on my mind.


5. PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS. PARTS YOU HATE?

I love to just write.

Sometimes I hate just writing.

Editing is OK... it's part of the process. Necessary. So, I  can't hate it.


6. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?

I don't allow myself to even acknowledge that phrase.

Either I'm writing what I need to write or I'm lazy. No such thing as writers's block.

There are times when life is just giving me the opposite vibe that my writing calls for. In those times I just don't write... those vibes only last a day to a couple at a time. And are rare.


7. ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?

Yes... and I just finished something! My first novel (5 years of work!) is now done. It's called Perfect.

It's about a small group of kids, the choice of one, and how they are all affected by the consequences of that one choice and their own decisions of how to react toward it.

72k words, it's my longest work :)

And if any of you want to read it, please let me know!

Besides that, I am working on the Fur Slipper and several of my other stories.


8. WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

Right now I am just trying to figure out life, and write as I do that. I have no huge goals. Just write and see what God brings in any aspect of my life, writing and non-writing. I am working on one thing at a time, and just learning and practicing faith and trust.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to Blog With a Cell Phone #3 (Confession)

I have a huge confession to make.

I no longer use my cell phone to post

You, see, I bought a laptop over a year ago... at first I still used my cell phone. But then I realized it was way easier to post using my laptop. I mean, come on, the pics load right away! And I don't have to do the link pictures through tinypic.com.

And it's so much easier to format on a laptop. I don't lose my work as easily. I don't have to type in the code for italics or bold anymore (yes, I used to have to do that).

I sometime still write my posts on my cell phone, then copy and paste it onto here.

But all the technical work happens through my laptop.

Such as the new and improved look.

That would not have been possible with my cell phone - it just wasn't as techy, efficient, or fast. 

I enjoyed being weird in the sense that I blogged differently. 

But practical must override weird, right? 

I do hope you all don't mind ;) 

I'll leave you all with a fun picture, just to make your day amazing (if it isn't already).


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Satisfied

This last January I was staying with some friends. They are very musically talented, and I extremely enjoyed watching them play and sing. It was amazing.

One night they sang a song that was beyond talent. The lyrics were beautiful and seemed to know exactly what had been on my mind and heart for so long, mimicking my thoughts and feelings and desires better than I could have ever thought to:

Being completely and wholeheartedly content (satisfied) in God alone.



For so long my utmost desire has been to thirst for God more than anything. At times this desire is extremely frustrating as it seems I can't get past thirsting to thirst.

It's as if I want to desire, but get so distracted with life that I don't know if my desire is real or not, or stemmed from selfishness to want to be reassured by God that all will end well and I am safe in Him. Sometimes I wonder, if I lost everything that made me me would I still want to desire God?

When do the things God gave us become idols? How can I truly know if I'm embracing what I do for His glory and not for my own satisfaction?

I constantly think what would I do with out the things that are important to me? For everyone this looks differently, but for me these things are

-People. Family, friends, everyone
-Writing
-Artistic projects
-Dreams. Goals. Desires.


These things are what make my life wonderful. But I wonder, with out them, would God be enough? I want the answer to be yes. But, honestly, would it?

Life is too good most of the time. And this makes it even harder to be able to answer such a question.

I mean, I'm not saying life is perfect. It's far from that. I have constant worries, fears, and stress. I have so many questions. So many choices. So many desires.

But despite struggles, despite the feelings that life is truly terrible and horrid, despite the fact that I tend to get hurt by people and circumstances a lot, I still feel blessed and content and love life.

I know that life is a gift from God. And that even amidst unwanted circumstances, amidst feeling like a victim of unwanted consequences, I am still thankful God made me. And I totally yearn to find ways to smile and live the life He gave me to the fullest.

So, when I say life is too good, I mean sometimes I feel too happy when I think maybe I shouldn't.

And words of other's haven't helped much.

I've been told I'm too happy and too positive, that I can't see life realistically. That I did not know how to be serious.

I have also been told, just as often, that I am a skeptical pessimist that is always negative, haha. :D

For those of you that don't know me well, both of these statements about me are 100% true.

It's like I have a conflicting negative/ positive attitude that constantly tears me a part. And confuses both me and others.

When life is hard I thrive. When life is easy I float.

Both times I yearn to know God more fully…. But I feel desperate. Will I ever be past the yearning? Will my desire ever be satisfied? To completely, totally know God?

Or is it just a slow, long, meticulous journey that ends only when life is done?

I have learned over the months that part of being content is being OK with not knowing. It's OK to not have answers, to not know where something is going.

Doubt will come. And that is fine.

I can still allow my God's peace to comfort me.

I don't have to stress over trying to be content. I can just relax and learn to sit back and see or hear what God want's me to.

I can experience His presence even when:

I have to eat my tears, when food is not appealing
life is wonderful and feels too good
I am asked huge questions I do not know the answer to
I ask questions that have no immediate answers
I have to do things that feel impossible
I have nothing to do.


I still desperately want to be satisfied (this is one of my new favorite words. It is so much more intense than simply being content) in God alone and nothing else. I still want to experience and know His presence so that it is so strong in my life that I need nor want anything else.

And this song, and the Psalm it is based off of, seem to capture all these thoughts perfectly.

I'd like to close off with the words from Psalm 42, MESSAGE, - normally I don't like this version for study, but the words are so poetic... and fitting. I also recommend reading this chapter in other versions. It's powerful no matter how it's written.


A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. 

I'm thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, "Will I ever make it - arrive and drink in God's presence?" 

I'm on a diet of tears - tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, "Where is this God of yours?" 

These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving - celebrating, all of us, God's feast! 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God. 

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. 

Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. 

Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer. 

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, "Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?" 

They're out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, Taunting day after day, "Where is this God of yours?" 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What Makes Us

Characteristic qualities are a huge part of what make up individuals. They are what define us more than anything. They are what influence are thinking, our feelings, our concepts of life and the world.

For most of us, it seems we adapt to those around us. We carry on the traits of family and friends with out meaning to or wanting to.

It's quite ironic that for many people, their negative qualities are normally very similar to those that they most despise.

I'm not quite sure what encourages natural positive traits in people(besides the obvious: God). It seems, deep down, a lot of it is driven by selfish desires to be loved and respected.

But I do think it is possible to be truly practicing good works with good motives: the more we are in tune with God and His words and ways, the more this is possible.

I think it is also very important to truly understand what some of these concepts are, and how to implement them into our lives.

The following are ideas of qualities that strike me as truly important. I am not using a dictionary to define them. And as you will see, a lot of these words do not follow the standard thought pattern of what most people think.

These are concepts I try to live by, or admire in others. The words are simply letters to express the ideas and feelings I think and try to act upon to the world about me.


Some of these traits are not admirable, in my opinion. Such as self-made, powerful, and compromising. Well... sometimes compromising can be good. But that is a very complicated one ;) 



Honesty
To me, truth is the most important thing we have. I don't necessarily believe in the statement of being black and white.

Because life is obviously not just black or white. Color is huge. And life is complicated and intense. There aren't just two ways of looking at things. There are TONS. But despite that, I still believe in absolute truths. I believe there is only one way to be saved.

I believe God is the one and only way, and His son makes that possible.
But I also believe in perceptions, in cultures, in influences. And so, after that first absolute truth, truth becomes a little harder to discern. And life presents to us this intricate colorful journey that lasts forever as we try to follow God's will and calling for each of us individually as we learn to express who we are meant to be while submitting to God's perfect plan.

I sometimes (quite often) am accused of being blunt. My reply is, “I'm not blunt, I'm just stating facts.”
I don't quite understand this. Why must one who is honest be called blunt? It's not blunt to state what is true.

Another thing that is almost equal to honesty in meaning, is communication. To be able to communicate honestly and completely is priority, to me. 




Love
Love is not a feeling. It is an action that may or may not result in feelings. It is sacrificial. It is self-less. It does what is best for others for no logical reason whatsoever.
Love is a verb.
That mean if you truly love, you will be constantly doing.
Doing for God.
Doing for family and friends.
Doing for strangers.
Doing for enemies.
And you won't be doing out of feelings of guilt or because you have to, but because you want to.
Real love keeps doing and wanting to do even when things look awful and the other person you are performing love toward is super hateful, hurtful, or horrid.




Love is such a big word, that I have several side characteristic words to help me better grasp what it really is:

Loyalty
Now I am not talking about being cultish. Because that completely goes against being loving or honest.
Loyalty is when you remain true to those God has placed in your life. It is when you continue to act on things you would rather not do because those people mean something to you.
Loyalty involves:
Commitment
Love
Unity
It does not involve:
Wrong over truth
Violence or indifference toward those outside of your “circle”
Thinking the one you are loyal to is always correct, or being afraid to rebuke that person.




Generosity
This can actually be a very self-centered quality, because being generous with money especially can create feelings of “I just did something great” within ourselves. And that is not good.
Really, when I speak of generosity, I mean mostly time. Because time is way more important than money – most of the time.
Time is proof of love. And when you are not stingy with it and give it to those that you'd rather not, when you make time for those that need you over something that you'd rather be doing, that is generosity produced from love rather than selfishness.

Serving
This is really important. Especially if we can make it to be a part of our normal life. It is important that we as believers remember that we are not meant to be at the top of the world.
We are meant to serve God first, then those around us next.
Never should we serve ourselves.
Everything we do should be for another.
Submission. Following. Acts of service(love).
Serving honestly helps keep pride down, and lets us see life as it is – a journey to glorify God.




Respect or Honor
This is where we remain civil even when we are right. I don't think we should ever be such strict followers of respect that we can not speak the truth or even do opposite of what another asks.
But even in the midst of doing whatever we do, we should when at all possible, remember to respect those around us, even if that means doing something that we don't quite like.




Kindness
Along with honesty and love I think this is the most important character trait one can have.
Side note: I don't mean kind as in wishy-washy, whatever-is-good-with-you-is-good-with-me.
Kindness is an off branch of love. It is always being nice even when you are grumpy. It is smiling, not because you feel like it, but because you want to make someone else have a good day.
Kindness is listening to a friend rant. It is remaining silent when you'd rather speak, or speak when you'd rather not.
It is being there for another.
It is rebuking, gently, when rebuke is needed.
It is feeling sadness for another when they have committed sin against God or themselves (rather than feeling self-righteous or indignant).
It is being gentle, peaceful, loving, encouraging, and pure.
Kindness is being nice, but allowing God to rule your kindness so that you are being kind in ways that are beneficial for others, and not just yourself.
Real kindness is extremely hard as it can sometimes feel like you are being mean to another when you are lead to tell them how they are wronging God or being unwise.


There are many more, of course. But these are what I find highly admirable. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these. And what are some qualities you think of as important? This is something I really love discussing... helps encourage growth. 

And growth is essential :D 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Never-ending Joy

Everyone goes through those times when they just have to face their thoughts: the ones they don't want to face.

And then they have to choose to be happy or not to be so.




Have you ever found the busier you are the happier? And then comes that stale moment. Your thoughts hit. Doubt enters. And you have no idea what to do.

Doubt is so easy to let in. So hard to rationalize away

At times you are too afraid to use logic against it. Why? Because doing so is opening yourself up for the options of hope. You become too optimistic. And that as often as not leads to hurt and pain and disappointment.

Ah, yes.

Those sort of thoughts.

The ones that try to drain you of all joy.

Even when GOOD THINGS are happening, I find myself constantly backing up - I can't just jump into anything. One minute I'm confident and happy. But the next?

The next I'm trying to brace myself for something that will most certainly happen - because good things just don't last, right? Too much happiness can only end in a lot of hurt..?

It's easy to suddenly be so scared and afraid. In fact some times it feels wrong to even hope or dream... or rather dangerous.


At least these sort of negative thoughts try to whisper their way through and into my soul.

But they don't have to be true.

Just as much as my good times don't define my happiness, neither do bad times mean it will disappear.

No.

Joy is not ruled by circumstances, career, or friends. Joy is not ruled by the things that make me laugh. Joy is not defined by anything but my God.

It's from Him alone - so why do I worry?

Why am I afraid to be happy when I know that all things are just that - things? And in the end should not affect my perspective of happiness.

Why can't I just be thankful during the times He blesses me? Why must I worry about times that may never happen?

Worrying? It's just a way to blend both good and bad into misery.

Worrying. 

It's never worth it.

It has no benefits, has no affect on the future except to ruin my present.

It's 100% draining and stressful. Completely unhealthy.


And for that reason I choose to recharge my joy through God. My Father and His son are who give me the strength to smile. 

Everything else is just a small glimpse of what is real. Joy is not something I ever need worry about losing. It's something I need to grasp to and to encourage in others.

It can be a huge part of my life no matter the season God calls me to.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Peace During Patience



“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” - Philippians 4:6

My family and I were sitting around the breakfast table several months ago. Mom had just read this verse. One of the kids laughed incredulously, “What is it saying? Be careful for nothing – live recklessly?”

“No,” I answered quickly. My tone was very matter-of-fact, blunt, as if I were all-knowing. “It means do not worry.”

The kids all nodded among themselves and life continued on for them.

But for me life paused at my words.

I had heard this verse soooooooo many times. I had always known what it meant. But now? Now it really meant something.

“Do not worry.”





This path I've chosen. I can not see it. I can not feel it. I do not know where I am.

I have chosen to follow God, and no other. But why did He hide the light from my eyes?

I must take a step forward. But I do not want to.

How long will this path be? How long must I wait until God tells me what is to happen?

Questions. And no answers.

It is my perfect nightmare.

I do not know. And I can not know. I am vulnerable – open to hurt and pain. And I can do nothing to stop it.

I hear a sound. A rush of wings? Maybe a small bird?

But then my mind sees something not so cute. Something horrid and something to be feared. A long, pointed dagger. It must be in the center of my path. It is whirling round and round so that when it penetrates my open heart, it will cause unbearable anguish and pain.

I can not move forward.

My heart trembles with in me… it does not want to be hurt.

“Take my hand. I will guide you, comfort you.” God calls to me, even on this unknown path.

Comfort me from what? Does that mean I will have to face the dagger… if the dagger indeed exists?
But I do not get an answer. I may not know.

I may only trust. Wait. And hope.

Oh, but is it wrong to hope? Will it help me? Hope or not, if the dagger is real it will pierce my soul. But I can hope that it isn't?

“Trust me. Do not worry. Have faith.”

Do not worry. I laugh. How can I but worry?

Trust. Waiting. Those are things I may be able to force myself to do.

Not knowing, when knowing means everything to me. Even that I can sacrifice.

But to not worry? How can my Father even ask that of me?

Still He holds my hand. I'm so cold I can barely feel His touch. I can not see Him… the room is still too dark. I do not know. I must wait to know. And I must wait with out fear.

Can I do it?

No.

But will I?

I swallow, my saliva sliding down noisily. God is worth trusting. His ways are worth the hurt, the pain, the anguish.

I will trust him.

And so I put my foot forward. It shakes, wobbly and unsteady. But it does not give up on me, holds my weight and stops, to wait for the other foot.

I still do not know. But that is alright. I need nothing but God's hand.

I have only one request. Let my steps not be taken in vain.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to be Depressed

This world is too happy.

Look at the smiles everywhere! It's disgusting.

Wide mouthed laughter? Squinting eyes?

I mean, come on. Why!?

People being nice to each other for no reason.

It's not right. It's not realistic. It's disaster waiting to happen.

And that is why I intend to bring it down…. show you all exactly how to be depressed in just a few short easy steps. Because, if we want to get rational, there is no point being happy for a time when we know that everything ends in death.

That's right. Death. Dark, lonely, depressing death.

Wipe that smile off your face… hey, even kill the imaginary one in your soul. Because it is time to bleed and cry. To feel terrible, worthless, pessimistic.





1. Just eat it. I don't care if it's full of sugar. Or chemicals. Or whatever they call garbage this day. If it tastes good, eat it. Perfect first ingredient to creating lethargy in your life. And lethargy means certain depression.

2. Kill motivation. Just do what you want. And don't care about tomorrow. I think that may actually be a Bible verse? But you don't need to check it out… that's just work. And you don't need work in your sad, little life. Oh, don't move or be active if you can help it either.

3. Don't smile. Just don't. That isn't natural.

4. Don't have friends. They are just too much trouble. They really know how to make a party sick. You don't need that.

5. Forget stability and safety and such. Those are all illusions anyways.

6. Make promises. And don't keep them. Really makes you feel like a first-rate jerk. Greatest thing ever.

7. Don't believe in qualities you don't possess. Oh, and don't possess any good qualities. They are just difficult. Respect? Love? Loyalty? Honesty? Just trash them. Create habits that take no work. Let life be easy.

8. Never trust anyone. Especially yourself.

9. Look in the mirror and say, “You are ugly. And worthless” ten times every day. Even if it's not true it won't take long for it to become reality. Just keep at it.

10. Don't do things. Have talents or hobbies? No. Those create too much self-worth, confidence, and optimism. Huge no-no's.



And that's it, people. Get to it. Start practicing before things really get bad.

Embrace the stiff, cold hands of reality.

You'll never regret it.


*Disclaimer* This is satire. Please, do not stop smiling, EVER!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Silly Putty

Last month I brought a few of my siblings to where I babysit and we made silly putty!

It was very fun - I think they all had fun, at least ;p.

It was also extremely messy. Or appeared so. In reality it cleaned up quick as one of the main ingredients was dish soap.


Supplies and ingredients. 


The dish soap also worked as a coloring - so they all had fun picking of the three choices I had available: green, orange, and pink.




It's actually turning out great! And a kid did this!?




It looks worse than it really was. It washed off of his hands in seconds.


This mess looks horrid. And it looks like it stuck onto things, which it did. But water freed the cornstarch and the soap in the cornstarch helped the process.


This was the first time I'd tried to make silly putty. And of, course I was supervising kids doing it. So it was very interesting.

I liked the recipe I found - pinterest can sometimes be a handy place ;p I do think it needs something else though. The texture was OK, but not perfect. And I can't pinpoint what that imperfection was exactly. 

Anyways, doesn't it look fun? What sort of things have you done with your siblings or babysitting kids? I'm always looking for new ideas, so please share!! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Abstaining From Sin Void of Hypocrisy (Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast movie)

I have always thought the idea of homosexuality disgustingly sad. I feel sorry for those that are separated from God and do not understand or experience what He has designed for their lives.

I can not understand how many do not recognize the sin of homosexuality, or claim that the Bible has nothing to say on it when it obviously does. (Romans 1:26-28, Jude 1:5-8, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Leviticus 18:22)



I do not see how one can find beauty in two people of the same gender loving each other. Of course most people are delusional to what love really is. But still... how can one be like, "Well, if they love each other.." I do not see how any one with a brain would think there's any sort of logical reason why two such people should be together.

I know that it's partly due to the fact that most do not understand the meaning of love, or marriage, or truly know God or His word. I understand that sin is in the world and that people are affected and embittered by it, thus causing their minds to turn toward vain imaginings (Romans 1:21).

But, still, how can those that know what sin is not have the guts to accept it as sin?
With all these thoughts, I must say I was very disgusted and sad when I first heard they are probably giving the new Beauty and the Beast movie a Gay scene.

I was pleased to see that some of my friends (who really wanted to go) were not going to be seeing this movie.

I was surprised to see that others did not care, and plan to still go see the movie.

I wondered how one could say they love God and hate sin and go see the movie.

And then I had this random thought... I (we) do this all the time with all sorts of movies and literature and things in life.

We see many evil things, commit many sins against God and man, and never think much of it. Because man has put levels to God's sins and we have decided that certain things are permissible for us.

We tell homosexuals that we love them but that what they are doing is sin. And that their sin, in God's eyes is like any other and that they are condemned by God with out His forgiveness. We act hateful toward this sin that to many of us is outrageously evil.

We say all sin is sin. That their sin is not worse. 

Yet do we make a big deal over movies with stealing, cheating, lying, adultery, fornication (sleeping around), arrogance, pride, swearing?

We will still go see movies with all of these, let our children be brainwashed by these lustful and vile images. And who questions it? Very few. We may say, "This is bad, don't do this when you are older."

And why? Why have do we let certain sins slide into our homes and minds through literature, yet not others?

Because these sins are now accepted as normal. We have allowed ourselves to become insensitive to evil, while yet holding on to our self-righteous better-than-thou- attitude. 

In real life we are more willing to speak up against a sin that is more unusual. But if our best friend is living with one they are not married to we are hesitant to speak the truth. If someone takes God's name in vain who are we to say anything?

Is there not a level of hypocrisy here?

We say, "I love you" to the homosexual. But do we really? Are we perhaps not just judging them while not addressing the other sins we are allowing into our lives?

And don't think I'm saying go watch the movie. I am not saying one way or another on that.

I am saying, treat EVERY sin like sin. Not just the ones you consider more disgusting. 

Be a better example by being saddened for God's sake at all sin. And in that way we can truly love those who are sinning with out judging them in bias.




"You hypocrite. First remove the log out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Legalistic Tolerance



I have this thing where I like to go against the norm by uniting two extremes in my mind to find greater truth.

It doesn't always work, but at times it stretches my mind, and I learn new things I wouldn't have known otherwise.



For the most part I have found that most man-made doctrines aren't 100% void of error. And that quite often the belief that opposes the said doctrine will hold the truths that are missing. And vice versa. Our minds are so small that it can be hard to comprehend how two extremes can work together in unity and harmony.

But they can.

There are many mysteries in life that will always astound the human mind, whether you are  Christian, agnostic, atheist, etc. Unsolved mysteries are part of what make life meaningful and vast.



Legalism:
(lee-guh-liz-uh m)

noun

1. Strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.



Rigid rules are important and necessary for life to happen smoothly. And there must be consequences and accountability when said rules are broken.

We are all aware of this in different ways:

Government. They have their rules. Some may have common sense behind them. At other times we are like, "What!? Why?" But we still go through what we are told to do from fear of consequences.

Church. Whether you are involved through membership or just on a community and accountability level, there are rules that we find we must respect and adhere to.

Parents or family. Sometimes there rules feel really legalistic... and in the bad way. But we still obey the rules, even if they aren't backed according to our logic. Sometimes we obey out of fear of consequence, sometimes respect. Either way it's the way of life and we don't look down on this form of legalism too much.

So, when I hear a Christian preach and say we should abhor legalism, I always wince.

Because rules are not bad

Being strict is not bad. 

Those who choose to do less or more when there is no morals being violated should not be condemned.

In fact, I think we are meant to be legalistic in the sense that we are to adhere to (strictly follow)  rules and follow those rules like crazy.

The problem comes when you try to force your extra rules onto another. The issue is not legalism, but trying to control another.



Tolerance:
(tol·er·ance)

noun

1. The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

synonyms: acceptance, toleration; 

Origin

late Middle English (denoting the action of bearing hardship, or the ability to bear pain and hardship): via Old French from Latin tolerantia, from tolerare (see tolerate).



We have to remember that controlling is not our duty toward our fellow neighbor. No where are we commanded to exercise our will over another, tell him that he needs to do as we do. 
*think communism*

Yes, we are called to judge others in righteousness (John 7:24, Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 12:57). Rebuke another when wrong has been committed (Proverbs 27:5, Galatians 6:1, Luke 17:3-4).  And even take ourselves out of another's life in certain situations (1 Corinthians 5:2, Matthew 18:15-19).

But never are we meant to control anyone, force someone to conform to our ideas and rules and methods of serving God.

And so, we need that perfect balance: To be both legalistic and tolerant. One with out the other is chaos. Those who are completely legalistic have an appearances of extreme fundamentalist Christians, who know no love, and show no restraint in controlling all about them to repent to their methods or burn in hell.

But those who are solely tolerant: It's as if they love everyone and judge no one, as if they have no back bone, no solid beliefs, nothing to give them the appearance of “I am separate from the world.

One can be both a judge of righteousness, and a lover of man.

You can be strict and easy going.

I can be different from my friends with out condemning them, accepting that some things are more preferential beliefs. - I do have to be careful here to not mistake the difference between what God clearly calls sin as a preferential belief on my part. 

Some things are just plain old-fashioned sin.

I really think that it is very impossible to be a balanced follower of God without both of these extremes influencing each part of our everyday life, because in essence God is both (amidst His numerous other traits) a rule giver and a lover of  creative diversity. 



God is love. 

But God is also the one who created rules, demands order, and judges all.