Have you ever tried to tell a three year old NOT to do something?
“Don’t touch the television.” Holds his finger out until he gets to the t.v., staring me down in the process.
“Don’t say penis.” Whispers penis.
“Don’t go in your sister’s room.” Runs straight into her room, throwing all of her pillows off the bed.
It’s as if when I tell him NOT to do something, it only feeds this insatiable desire to do that same very thing. Even if he wasn’t really thinking about it, only considering it. Once he is told, “no”, once the line has been drawn, all he wants to do is cross it.
Of course, as parents, we know that most of the time these lines we draw are for their protection, right? I mean, sometimes it’s out of annoyance or convienince, like I don’t want him to go mess up Charlotte’s room that she just cleaned. But other times, a lot of times, it’s because we - the parents - know more than the child does.
We can see the end result that he doesn’t. If he touches that hot stove, for example, he will burn himself and we’ll all likely end up at the ER instead of the soccer game. Or, for our older kids, we limit internet access or social media accounts, knowing that although a lot of it is fun and good, some of it is dangerous and definitely not God’s best.
And now I’m beginning to understand how God operates with us in the same way.
We aren’t meant to do everything, go everywhere and be whoever the world tells us to be in that moment. Instead, He gifts us with specific talents and communities, bordering our lives to enrich these areas, not limit them.
The psalmist writes "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you support my lot. The boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed my heritage is bountiful to me." Psalm 16:5-6
The beloved Promised Land had boundary lines.
The garden of Eden had boundary lines.
The ocean has boundary lines.
And as much as we want to fight it, we too have boundary lines.
Just last week there was a job opportunity brought to my attention and I thought "I could totally do this. I could make this be in my wheelhouse. Actually, I would be really good at this."
But it was outside of my calling, beyond my boundary lines. And above my desire to DO everything, I have to intentionally place my desire to BE His.
I knew that I couldn’t continue giving God my best in what He has called me to, and go after this job. I knew that even though it might be good, it wasn’t best. I recognized where He has drawn my lines, and as much as I wanted to, I refused to cross them. This time, at least.
But y’all, there are many times that I do cross my boundaries. I sign up for something out of guilt, I stretch my time too thin, I keep adding onto an already full plate. Why?
Because I can’t get over the word no.
When I operate within my limitations, though - within the boundaries God has given me - blessing from God is full and abundant. He honors obedience, gives more freedom in my gifting and gives me even more room to grow; perhaps even enlarging those pesky borders every once in a while.
When I hear people talking about “the sweet spot”, this is what I think about : living freely and fully within my calling. Not viewing this as a restriction, or even a limitation, but trusting that His best is for my best, even when I can’t understand they whys. Always.
What are your borders? Are you stretched too thin, operating at full speed with no end in sight? Are you doing what God has called you to or are you doing what you want to do?
Next time you’re tempted to sign up for that thing, go to that event, take on another challenge, take a minute and ask God if this is within His lines for you. Is it God’s best or is it just a good thing inching you a bit beyond what He wants for you right now.
Let the borders God has given you be pleasant, sister. Allow Him to grow you at His pace, not your own and you will find yourself, reluctantly and refreshingly, in your very own sweet spot.