October 18, 2017

Fighting against Boundaries

As I sit writing this, I’m listening to the soundtrack of my dog barking in the back yard. There’s currently three neighborhood dogs wandering loose down the street {why their owners don’t keep them in their yards, I’ll never understand}. And my dog wants to be with them.

Those three dogs have all sorts of fun. They play with the kids, run alongside the four-wheelers, and wander around the neighborhood at their own free will.

And my puppy doesn’t understand why she has to be chained up in our back yard, instead of running and playing with the other dogs.

She doesn’t realize that, if she were loose, it would be so easy for a car to come careening around the curve and hit her. She doesn’t realize that some mean-spirited person could do something to hurt her. She doesn’t realize that there’s coyotes around and rabid animals that could make her sick, or worse.

She doesn’t realize that, by keeping her in our yard, I’m actually protecting her.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

We see the “popular kids” hanging out, and want to be part of their crowd. We want to be in the center of the action, where things are happening, not on the sidelines. We look around and see success, and start pulling at our constraints of time or money or relationships to get something we don’t have.

We become discontent with where God has us, and the boundaries He’s given us.

We yearn for more money, or a different schedule, or better friends. We become disgruntled at the constraints of physical problems. We lust after an easier lifestyle, something more simple or more comfortable.

But God has given us what He’s given us.

God has allowed certain circumstances in your life for a reason. He has placed certain people in your family for a reason. He has limited your resources for a reason.

And though there may be many situation-specific reasons, the biggest and broadest one is this: to glorify God.

He wants you to be content with what you have, so that He will be praised by others. He wants you to be content with who you are, so that He will be exalted through your life and testimony.

And God has set boundaries for you, because He is protecting you. {<–tweet this!}

Protecting from what? Temptation, perhaps. Or sinful influences. Or something that, while maybe good, is not the absolute best for you.

God sees far beyond what we can see with our dim, mortal eyesight. We can only see what’s right in front of us — or what’s on the other side of the fence {greener grass, anyone?}.

But God already sees what’s ten or twenty years down the road. He knows what’s going to happen next week, before we even get through today. He knows how our lives are influencing others today — something that we might not see until eternity.

It’s so foolish to push against our boundaries! God knows what He’s doing in our lives. He knows the end from the beginning — the solution to the problem, before the problem even happens.

And you know what? Everything He does — every boundary He sets around us — is out of His goodness and love for us. If you don’t believe that, then get back in the Word.

 

 

God is inherently good, and therefore, all that He does is good. That includes the limitations He gives us. That includes the things we can’t do, as well as the things we must do. That includes the things in our past that can’t be changed, and the things in the future that we can’t really prepare for.

God does not have harmful intentions toward us. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that He has fashioned a plan for each of us, which is for our good and our benefit!

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

God has a perfect plan for you. That plan may look different than anything you’d ever imagine for yourself {I know it does for me!}, but that plan is perfect for you, because it’s hand-crafted by a perfect God. And because God is perfect, that means He cannot do anything that is less than perfect. {<–tweet this too!}

Because He is good, that means He cannot fashion any plan that is less than good. Because He is loving, that means He cannot do anything out of spite.

That means that everything He allows in your life — those painful boundaries, those frustrating limitations — is out of pure goodness and love.

You don’t have to understand how or why. You simply need to trust Him.

And stop pushing against those boundaries! Stop crying over that greener grass in someone else’s yard, and start fertilizing your own lawn instead. Stop lusting for a better bank account, healthier body, or calmer schedule — and start trusting that God had a good and perfect reason for allowing less-than-perfect circumstances in your life.

 

QUESTION for YOU: What boundaries has God set in your life, that you find yourself pushing against? {For me, it’s usually my illness.} Why is it hard for you to accept those limitations, and trust His control?

 

Comments

  1. Discipline! Not being in His Word or my prayer…its eating right and exercise. If my body is His Temple, I sure don’t act it. That is what is hard for me.

  2. Is it wrong that I’m kinda mad at you for sharing this today…? Because now I’m feeling a little convicted and I don’t like it. LOL! I NEEDED to hear this today. I have been irritated and frustrated by the path God has put me on. It’s just not where I thought I was going to be at this stage in my life. So yes, I’ve been whining and pulling at my chain and trying to figure out how to get out of it. And it’s not so much the plan it’s self that has me so bothered, it is the how and the why. I feel like if I could just understand the plan then I would be able to follow it better. But you’re right, I do need to stop trying to figure everything out and instead really trust that God’s ways are better than mine, just like He promises. Thank you for your very timely message.

    • Jennifer, thanks so much for stopping to comment – and I’m grateful to hear God used these words encourage you today. It is a hard thing to learn (and keep on learning) but we can have such peace in Him when we stop fighting the boundaries!

  3. David says in Psalms that God has set his boundaries in pleasant places. Amen and amen. Through my own illness, I have seen how the boundaries God has set for me have done me good. I can no longer drive to the beach on a whim, or cast off responsibility like I used to, and that is a very good thing. I’ve had to learn to live within-and enjoy!-my boundaries. I’ve had to learn to content myself with living in the slow lane, enjoying thing many people don’t even notice. I’ve enjoyed this forced slowing down, and God has brought me closer to Him through it.

    • That’s so encouraging, Jen. I know I struggle being content with my illness… but you’re right, we learn to appreciate things that “healthy” people don’t always notice, or aren’t able to do (like taking life slowly). Thanks!

  4. Good truth here. I remember when my oldest was a baby, I could often calm his fussiness by putting him in his playpen (back when they were square with room to PLAY). He’d play so much more peacefully once those boundaries where in place. And I know that, honestly, my heart is the same. When I’m fussiest, it’s usually because I’m pushing or outside of the boundaries that God desires for me in this season. Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.princapecos.blogspot.com

  5. Wonderful post! Thank YOU for sharing so candidly. My illness is often a boundary that I refused to embrace and allowed it to consume me in anger and inability to understand “why”. I finally, after MANY years, let go and decided to just trust God. It was liberating when I finally decided to embrace the boundaries.
    http://jennmomsnotlikeus.blogspot.com/2012/09/what-if.html

  6. Such a good reminder. I love how you used the comparison of your dog. Such a simple way to apply it to our own lives!