Love: Receiving the Gift of Boundaries

This post is linked up to Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory and is the sixth post in the March series To Love is to Live in Christ.

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Kate Motoung, our #FiveMinuteFriday community host, recently wrote about the limitations God allows in our lives for our own good in How to See God’s Power When You are So Weak . In reflecting on what I could write about receiving God’s selfless (non-self-seeking) Love, I felt my heart return to the Scriptures Kate quoted from Job, about God placing “fixed limits” upon creation, giving each element its “fixed” boundary within which to operate.

And I felt God impress upon my heart, that He, just as parents do, places boundaries around His children to protect them and prepare and grow them for living bold lives of faith. But just like parents increasingly do with their children, He also allows us to cross these boundary lines, so that we can experience the consequences of stepping outside of His Protection. This then helps us better understand why the boundary lines have been fixed in the first place.

God’s Love, you see, is not “self-seeking”, precisely because He gives us the free will to discover life for ourselves. If He was “self-seeking”, He’d hide us away to stop us from getting hurt because just like a loving Mum and Dad, His heart breaks every time He watches us fall and get hurt.

So, how can we then receive this selfless Love of Christ? We can receive it just as little children do: by letting Him teach us where He has placed the boundary lines and by allowing the consequences of crossing these lines to open our eyes to our great need for His protective Love.

The Spirit and Word of God are our guide. They help us to discover the boundary lines for our lives and help us understand why God has set them around us in the first place. Some of the many boundary lines God has been opening my eyes to are the need:

  • for regular rest, prescribed in His call to honour the Sabbath: for me this encompasses setting aside quiet time to pray, read the Bible, run in the forest, to slow throughout my day to listen for His voice, and to attend church on Sunday;
  • to follow the leading of the Spirit in deciding what “good works” to do, rather than doing what I feel I “should” do, “want” to do (often to protect or even “fix” others) or “need” to do;
  • to seek His face, rather than the love and approval of those around me, by resting in His adoption of me as His beloved daughter and the assurance of my righteousness through the sacrifice of Christ;
  • to look His Truth in the eyes, a truth that says that I am weak – hurting, grieving, fearful, anxious and sinful – and He is strong and that I am in desperate need of His Love, Grace, Hope and Comfort;
  • to confess my weaknesses and transgressions before Him, seeking His forgiveness, healing and restoration, by letting Him and His Body into my life, to carry the burdens I am not called to carry;
  • to claim His Power to take captive the thoughts that are not of Him (throughts which belittle, cripple, frighten, steal hope etc.) and bend them to His Will;
  • to keep seeking His Presence throughout my day, recognizing that as I draw close to Him, He promises to draw close to me. He has shown me that we can draw close to Him in worship (singing His Praises and thanking Him for the gifts He gives us), confessing our sins and weaknesses, accepting His invitations to commune with Him, by playing with my children, listening intently to my husband, following His nudges to pursue those He places around me in loving kindness…
  • to place down stones of remembrance upon my path (in my writing and Scripture verses I place on my fridge), and revisit them, like the Israelites did, to stop me from leaning on my own understanding and weaknesses, and remind me of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.

I have often crossed or ignored these boundary lines to my own detriment. But each time, God has used both the consequences of this disobedience and His Word to teach me to lean more heavily into His Loving Embrace. Just recently, in following His nudges to prepare a book for publication, I leant into my own human weakness of fear and worshipping human approval, disobeying His call to confess it before Him. However, through Scripture, He drew me unto Himself in my overwhelmed state. He helped me to stand before Him as myself, to confess my weakness and my sin, and reminded me that He is in control. He turned me to a passage in Isaiah about His works not needing to be franchised, reminding me that the book I had written was His good work, not my own, and that He was already busily setting up support for its publication and promotion: He was just waiting for me to listen to His whispered instructions.

I’d love to hear about the boundary lines God has been opening your eyes and heart to and how the consequences of crossing them have impacted your life for the better.

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9 thoughts on “Love: Receiving the Gift of Boundaries

  1. “The Spirit and Word of God are our guide.” That is truth. I took a boundaries class at church that changed my life. It was so applicable and I realized I needed boundaries in MANY areas of my life. Currently, God is opening my eyes to boundaries I need to place in relationships with my family. We can love our family, but we don’t have to allow the co-dependency to absorb us into the vortex. I pray daily that love and light shine, but God has limits. He asks us to protect his temple and his light. That requires a boundary. Thank you for this awesome post and reminding me about such a great class. I’m going to go home and grab this book off my shelf to flip through it again. To remind me how far God has brought me and on where he needs me to focus next. Have a blessed week, Anna! God bless you, sweet friend. ❤

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    1. That’s wonderful your church provided such a class. Can definitely empathize with the problem of being absorbed into the vortex- for me that was teaching (a big passion), making my family and my health suffer.

      My Mum talked to me a lot about boundaries in her last few weeks, when she could still talk. She made me realize how important it is to take care of the body, mind and soul we have been gifted and that the desire to protect and care for others shouldn’t supersede the command to love the Lord our God with all that we have. So, a big thing I’m learning is to slow to listen to the boundaries God is setting for me and to stop looking around, but up instead.

      So thankful that God has used this to remind and encourage you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this dear one. It is a deep truth that so many of us are still uncovering– Our freedom is an intrinsic part of His Love for us. Birds are meant to fly, not be caged. The only limit, I believe, was to be Love (the 1 Cor 13 kind, since the definition of love has even been lost and corrupted in these days). There is no law against Love.
    Pondered this in: “Born to Be Free”https://heartinformation.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/you-were-born-to-be-free/

    But with boundaries Im finding even when I make a wrong turn, God’s Love is greater/deeper/higher/wider still so my wrong turn is still on His Map and He makes the detour for good.
    The learning is so hard….eg simple things as you say, like rest, drink enough, taking time to be ‘quiet’ –its so easy to forget we are in earth bodies, though we are Heaven-bound.
    And I fully agree, His Heart breaks when we get hurt in any way…. He is the One Who keeps every tear in a bottle (ps 56:8) and desires that we not even dash our feet against a stone (ps 91:12)….and much worse is happening in the earth these days…
    Thanks again! Keep drinking and pouring out!
    Jasmine

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    1. Beautiful post on love, Jasmine! It’s funny because it fits exactly with what I’m about to post for Bonnie Gray’s #OneWordLent prompt for today…you’ll see why later!

      This whole series of mine is based on 1 Corinthians 13 – because I realized that until we know God’s love by receiving it, we cannot gift it to others. Ultimately the love that flows out of us comes from the Giver of Love that has poured Himself into us. But if we stop this love from entering, we also stop it from flowing out. I’m only just starting to realize how much I stop it from entering!

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