Boundaries - Safety or Confinement?
When we hear the word boundaries, do we think of safety and protection or of confinement and restriction? The current pandemic environment demonstrates this struggle.
Many people wrestle to accept social distancing as a way to keep society healthy while fighting confining isolation and restriction. Others anger easily at anyone who steps out of their home without a mask. The broad range of responses demonstrates the many ways people respond to boundaries; some feeling safer with them in place while others feel restricted.
The above provides an example of the varied responses we may feel, but how should we respond when the Lord places boundaries in our lives that obstruct what we want to do? Boundaries set by man may or may not be good for us. However, the ones placed by God are always for our benefit.
We would not allow a small child to play unattended near a busy street but would create a safer environment for them. The same is true for our Heavenly Father. He directs us to better choices and when we struggle, He places boundaries to prevent damaging consequences.
Hebrews 12:6-7 reminds us of this, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Just like the child mentioned above who may be corrected for trying to play in a dangerous area, so we too need discipline when we engage in risky conduct. God needs to set boundaries to protect us and He often uses discipline to enforce those boundaries.
How do we respond when we are disciplined or when God sets limits? Do we rebel and get angry with God for the correction? Do we break out of the boundaries and do it our own way? Or do we acknowledge that God knows better than we do what is best for us and trust His direction and care?
God has given us free will and He will not force His on us. However, He loves us unconditionally and desires to see us walk in abundant blessings. How we respond to His direction determines if we experience those blessings or the consequences of unrighteous living.
In speaking with others, I’ve found that people regret rebelling against God’s direction and realize His way would have been better than theirs. His ways are not always the easiest, at least in the beginning, but the end result of obedience yields a harvest of blessings that only He could provide.
If you are resisting God-placed boundaries, reconsider your response. View His boundaries as security and protection instead of restraint. Remember that He knows better than we do what the future holds and can be counted upon to order our steps for safe arrival to our destination.