Speed limits and other laws. Kites with tails that pull them back toward the ground. Closed doors. Pictures with lines. Even parking lots with lines designed to tell us where we can park and where we can’t. We live in a world of boundaries.
And yet many times people tell us to “loosen up”, “not to be so legalistic”, “color outside the lines” or “think outside the box.” How can we do both? Is that possible?
Why would God create the Garden of Eden where He lavished His Children with Gifts and then interject the first of the “thou shall nots?” Could it be that God was trying to teach us something from the beginning about boundaries and freedom?
A Time for Everything and Everything In Its Place!
God, the undisputed Master of Creation, was careful to put order into His Creative Universe. He broke the year into orderly months, the months into weeks and the weeks into days. He further ordered the 24 hour days into day and night.
In the book of Job, God speaks of His Own Sense of Order, daring Job or anyone else to dispute His Plan.
[God speaking to Job]
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell Me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions?”
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said,
“This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?”
The Symphony of Life
Why would the Lord create boundaries in the midst of such a seemingly free flowing Universe? Because it never has been about just one person, one thing or even One Part of the Trinity itself. We live in community!
Like an orchestra of different musicians, the beautiful music only happens when each of us plays the right notes on our instruments at just the right time. And we rest when it is time for us to rest. Boundaries and laws exist to help us function well within community.
Don’t Tell Me What To Do!
Most of us have an unspoken belief that we know our life’s song. Our actions, thoughts and feelings revolve around ourselves. While we have “grown up” enough not to yell, “Me! Mine!” we still often view the world from our vantage point only. We resist being told what to do by anyone, even God.
In contrast to our very limited viewpoint, God truly the knows the Plans He has, not only for us, but for every one of His Creations. He knows the Plans He has for His Universe. As the Director of this Earthly Orchestra, He knows what it will take to get Heavenly Music to flow through us. In fact, it is not so much that we play the instruments, as it is that we are His instruments!
I Know Where I’m Going … Or Do I?
Jesus said, “Take My Yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your soul.”
A yoke is a wooden beam used to keep two animals together, so they can share the load. Often we forget to Whom we are yoked in carrying out the Work of God’s Kingdom. We resist the feeling of being restrained in any way. And yet the yoke is for our benefit! It keeps us linked to the One Who is stronger than we and can more than carry any weight we would attempt to carry without Him.
The Gentle Yoke
When I first was introduced to a ministry called Equipping Lydia, I found its gatherings a little restraining. There were deliberate ways to facilitate the entering into the Presence of the Lord. There were deliberate ways of reading scripture and meditating on the Word of God. There was a defined time to share with others what God revealed to us in that meditation. God spoke first. Then we turned to each other to help with the readjustment of the Yoke for Jesus to carry our burdens. And then there was sweet benediction to remind us of our connection to His Ever Present Presence.
Each movement of the groups was both broken and connected by prayer. I found time and time again that we, like the waves of the ocean, had moved further and further out into the Deep, as we touched the shore and flowed back out again.
A Trip to The Ocean of God’s Love!
When we followed the guidelines for the group faithfully, we were part of a Rhythm that seemed to match the Heartbeat of God. God’s Waves are always on time, dependable in their arrival and departure. Indeed God’s Tides are so dependable, we can predict them with some degree of certainty. We know they will be there, we know they will be on time and we know they will flow back from the shore on time.
God’s Waves are regular with a recurring rhythm. Like the Rhythm He places within our bodies to breathe and for our hearts to beat, we can set our metronome to His Song of Life.
God’s Waves are nonjudgemental and cleansing. It would take us years to try to clean all the trash we could find on the beach. It would take us more than a lifetime to try to clean all the trash from our lives. And yet in a few moments, God’s Waves take it all away … and the trash is replaced with Treasures.
It is likely we would have missed the Treasures had we still been looking at the trash. But once freed of the trash, we see anew the Gifts He has brought just for us. We share them in joy. What we saw as abandoned houses of sea creatures become treasures of sea shells to take home with us and savor on another day.
The Spiritual Formation Groups became a trip to the God’s Ocean where we were able to witness His Faithfulness, His Perfect Timing, His Perfect Rhythm, His Cleansing Power, His Revelation, and His Ability to bind shifting sands into a blanket to showcase His Gifts to us. I am so very thankful for His Leading me into the gentle way of enjoying His Yoke. It turns out that Boundaries were the Gateway to Freedom in Him!
If you would like more information about Equipping Lydia, I invite you to visit the web site at www.equippinglydia.org/