Tonight is the last night of the Boundaries course that I have been co-facilitating with Stephanie here at the House. It has been such a worthwhile endeavor as many of the ladies have really grappled with what boundaries are, how to start setting them, and what it looks like to live a life with boundaries. I love that as we dug into this book, I too was learning and being stretched. While I do love to learn, I do not always readily sign up to be stretched, but this time was a bit different.
When we got to the chapter on God and Boundaries, I could sense a real battle going on in my heart and mind. I completed Phase I earlier this year and part of that process left me realizing that most of battles come in the form of defending myself against unfair systems. These have included improperly used authority, growing up struggling financially and struggling against an economic system that often keeps people bound in the same class, and using power to harm me. Once I had that realization, it was not difficult for me to understand that my deep mistrust of God was also a reflection of my overall struggle with systems. I struggle with being a part of the system God designed when I did not ask to be a part of it or have a choice in being a part of it (much like being a part of my family of origin). Intellectually I KNOW that God is good and He only wants good things for me. My experiences in life, however, have created such a strong lens that says something different. And sadly I often see God through that lens too. So many times I battle with God and believe me I am tenacious in standing my ground when I feel threatened or perceive I am being treated unfairly. Of course, the truth of the scenario is not that God is the bad guy but that my life experiences have skewed my lens so much that I cannot see God for who He really is.
The God and Boundaries chapter encouraged me to allow God to be who He is which, in part, means accepting his answer whether it be yes, no, or wait. His no comes from an alignment with who He knows He is (much like our No should as well!). I can, however, continue to bring my needs before him and ask for my desire even if He has said no or wait (the Bible has many examples of God being moved by His people and changing a previous decision). The key, I am finding, lies in how I choose to think about God in that process. Will I think, “God you never give me anything I ask for but I am going to keep asking even though I doubt you will give it to me.” Or, will I choose to stand on the truth of who God says He is (even when I maybe doubt it) and say, “God you have said no or wait. I am going to keep asking you to meet my needs, but I am also going to avoid making you the villain in this story.” This is slowly changing me because it is giving God the space inside of me to show me who He really is and that His boundaries (his no, yes, or wait) actually give me a way to trust Him. God’s boundaries, born out of keeping true to who He is, help me see His true character because I can trust Him to never make a decision that does not line up with who He is. This, as I have learned in the past, is not always true of people. While I still may not like His no, my decision to not make Him the bad guy when it happens is deepening my understanding of just how I can trust Him. I am excited to keep walking this out and see what God wants to continue to reveal to me!
One added benefit of my journey in understanding God and boundaries is that it has fostered a deep thankfulness in me. I am thankful for boundaries. They not only protect us, but they tell the world who we are and give us a benchmark for knowing when we have strayed away from who we are. I am realizing that those I respect and love the most in my life are the ones who have the most stable and established boundaries. Seeing this pattern in my earthly life, I am encouraged to seek it out in my spiritual life with God. I am thankful God has his own boundaries and refuses to bend them if that means He will be misrepresented. I am thankful He is showing me, in just the way I needed and will understand, who He is!