This summer, Eli and I took a vacation and headed out in our van. We love going to the national parks to camp and hike, and just to enjoy the incredible quiet and beauty. Also, it is a fun list of really different places to visit all over the country. So far we have been to maybe ten of the major parks, and there are almost sixty (we probably should have made an earlier start on this particular list!) This summer, Acadia National Park in Maine was our destination, and it did not disappoint.
I found myself with some time to really think as we drove all of those miles. There may be no better metaphor for life together in our families and communities than is found in driving. There are so many lessons to be learned, and here is one quick thought for today…
Stay in the Lines
We love freedom. It really is an incredible gift, and we should never take spiritual or physical freedom for granted. But it can also be said that we really dislike constraints. It makes most of us bristle when anyone else tells us what to do, or what we cannot do. We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and we want everyone else to just deal with it.
But it doesn’t go so well if we take this way of thinking with us on the road. For example, it is so dangerous when someone decides to completely disregard the speed limit. It is so horrific to see the after-effects of a high speed crash, and to know that other innocent people are usually affected by the one who thought it was a great idea to go 110 miles an hour. It is also terrible when people decide to ignore the lines - they are in a big hurry to get somewhere, so they fly in and out of the lanes, not caring how many people have to swerve out of the way to avoid a crash. It could be even worse - someone driving the wrong way completely, just because they felt like it. That never ends well.
We live in a society that says, “you be you.” If it feels good, do it. If you think it, say it. If you feel something, act on it - no matter what the consequences or who it effects. We also have a sinful nature that wants to be the center of the universe, so it is far too easy to be selfish. Because of all this, we actually try to convince ourselves that real freedom in life is living without any boundaries at all. Then we wonder why our lives can be so full of chaos and anxiety and disorder. Instead of being full of wind-in-your-face freedom, our hearts and minds and lives often resemble the aftermath of a high speed crash.
We must realize that true freedom is not the lack of boundaries. The truth is that real freedom comes from consistently living within safe boundaries.
Just like on our long road trip, the best route to get where we are trying to go in life is to stay in the lines. This applies to everything. Healthy boundaries lead to health in every area of life - relationships, time, money, eating and drinking, sleeping, even thinking and speaking. If we find ourselves in a frustrating pattern of unhealthiness, it is always a good idea to examine ourselves. Is there something I could change about the way I am approaching any of these areas? Am I trying to live without any constraints at all?
Look at the words of Jesus in John 10: 9-10, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Jesus calls Himself the gate - implying that life with Him happens within some safe constraints, like a wonderful fence that keeps away all of the danger and predators, and which safely encloses all that we need for life. Real life, abundant life, happens within the safety of healthy boundaries.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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