"LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places..." Psalm 16:5-6a (NIV)
"Mrs. TerKeurst, your dog ran away to our house ... AGAIN."
"Mrs. TerKeurst, I think I might have just seen your dog running down the street."
"Mrs. TerKeurst, this is one of your neighbors. Just letting you know we're about to drop off your dog—we saw him running around our neighborhood."
"Mrs. TerKeurst, this is the animal clinic. I believe we have your dog."
"Mrs. TerKeurst, do you own two dogs?"
I own three dogs. But my two outside dogs, Champ and Chelsea, are sometimes delinquent. I love them. They love me. But they love running away more. Even though we didn't have a fence, we had other systems in place to keep them safely at home!
I can't tell you the number of sleepless nights I've had fretting over my dogs. Several times we've enlisted our friends to pray for Champ and Chelsea. But this sort of backfired on us once.
One of our friends knew Champ had gone missing and miraculously found him in a yard miles from our home. He was amazed Champ had run so far. He pulled into the driveway, coaxed Champ into his car, and called me with breathless excitement to announce he'd found my beloved dog.
But five minutes before my friend got to my house, Champ came home. When my friend pulled into my driveway carrying a Champ lookalike, we both about fell over. My friend had kidnapped someone else's dog—right from their front yard!
Oh my glory be.
It was time to do something.
I used to think invisible fences were cruel. I couldn't stand the thought of my dog getting a shock. So, I looked into getting a regular fence. But we live in the country and installing a regular fence was simply out of the question.
An invisible fence it would have to be. After all, a shock to keep them inside the safe boundary is a lot better than what might happen outside the boundary.
Boundaries aren't cruel barriers meant to keep my dogs from freedom. They are protective restrictions meant to define where safe freedom can be found.
And my dogs aren't the only ones who need to remember this lesson. I need to remember this, and apply it to the protective restrictions God has for me.
Why? Because there's usually some sort of boundary my wild heart tries to push against.
Have you ever found yourself rationalizing some situation in your life where you know you aren't doing what God said we should do?
Does God really want us to love our enemies? Is it really important to not let the sun go down on my anger? Do I really need to pray and read my Bible every day? Oh, grumbling isn't so bad ... I mean everyone finds something to complain about.
I push against the boundaries. Sometimes I even break through them. But what's waiting on the other side isn't freedom.
Oh Lord, let my wild heart always remember ...
Your instructions, Your boundaries, aren't cruel barriers to keep me from freedom. They are protective restrictions meant to define where safe freedom can be found.
And Lord, if You can teach this same lesson to my dogs, my neighbors, friends and I would be ever so grateful.
Dear Lord, thank You for the protective hand that You have placed over me. Cultivate in me an obedient heart that seeks to live in the safe freedom of Your boundaries. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, gives a fresh perspective on how to be obedient to the Lord with your emotions, reactions, and decisions.
Start the New Year with a dose of daily encouragement. The Unglued Devotional is an amazing resource to use as you strengthen your relationship with the Lord.
Reflect and Respond:
What is one thing that God has been asking you to surrender to Him?
Any need we try to meet outside of God's perfect will is a step into a danger zone. Spend some time today reflecting on the power verses below as you surrender an issue to God that you have been rationalizing.
Psalm 119:66-67, "Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust Your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word." (NIV)
Job 36:11, "If they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105