This year has been an eye-opener. I think everyone says that every year and that’s a good thing, it means that we are moving forward or at least touching the deeper meanings of life. But, seriously, it feels as though this year kept my eyelids peeled back until the dryness of my eyeballs was no longer uncomfortable. Don’t you love dry eyes?
You should be a little uncomfortable when you begin to realize that life, the community, your loved ones, YOU are not exactly what you thought. It’s easy to point to the world and blame them for your dry eyes because that’s all you can see when you look out. You know, my eyes have been hurting because I have to look at this rotten world. (If you can’t get away from the ugliness of the world, you should read this blog post by a blogger I really enjoy.)
But what are you doing blaming your pain on the external? For me, dry eyes was all about realizing what an idiot I actually am. We like to think of ourselves highly, that we are made of great hearts, generous attitudes, and insightful wisdom. And while it is wonderful to have a healthy sense of self-esteem, it is even more wonderful to be aware of your own flaws. No, not to start degrading yourself. To start knowing yourself for who you are and who you can be. God already knows our ins and outs, He’s patiently waiting for us to come to our senses.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
For obvious reasons, I’ve been launched into this place of re-evaluating my trajectory. I think we believe ourselves to be on certain life trajectories out of pure comfort, pure delusion. One day, we’re going to have a successful career and have a huge house and a well-fed family and beautiful toys like boats and cars. It’s always one day. And whether or not we are actually working towards that, we are generally thinking towards that so we believe it to be our destiny.
I was on this train of delusion for a while. It had been trying to catch my occupancy my whole life, but there was a moment where I got tired of walking and I decided to board. On this train, your seatbelt holds you in place with “don’t work too hard you’ll get hurt,” you are fed meals of “everything is going to be okay…eventually,” and you sleep on soft pillows made from “dreams are better during sleep, anyways.” And I rode along for about six months until I finally realized that life is meant to be walked.
Genesis 13:17 (ESV)
“Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
The laziness of ignorance was not just knocking fantasies around my head, it was also deteriorating my muscles. My legs were slowly unlearning how to walk. So when it was time to get off the train (btw, you never decide–you just get kicked off), I would fall and be without a map. Who knew what trajectory I was even on anymore? I surely didn’t. I got thrown off my train of delusion, and I ate dirt. There was nobody to pat me on the butt. I was surely a million miles off course.
It was great believing that I was great. That success was just going to fall out of the sky into my hands. While I enjoyed this nice ride and let “life do its thing,” I stood outside the realm of accountability. Let me tell you, that limbo land is a temporary place. You will come out of it weak, stupid, and broken. And probably, ugly. Sometimes, it’s not the world. It’s you.
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
I am so thankful that I had God to call upon. He helped me stand upright, guided me towards His will, and nurtured me back to health both physically and mentally.
This required work on my end, as well. As Mighty and Righteous as Our LORD truly is, we are also 100% responsible for the lives that we lead. Coming to Him meant a lot. It meant opening my eyes to the iniquities of my OWN SELF. Yeah, fun stuff. Not really. Not at all. Especially because this is a never-ending list, I will have to fix my faults everyday until my last breath.
Romans 38:18 (NASB)
“For I confess my iniquity;
I am full of anxiety because of my sin.“
See, sin causes anxiety. The purpose of the train metaphor is to illustrate what’s happening when we aren’t actively shaping our lives, or when we are living based on thought and not action. That’s what I was doing when I was living a worldly lifestyle, I was not acting on the future as much as I was thinking about it. I was acting on comfort.
Going to God’s Word changed that for me.
I really like the analogy that compares the Bible to a map. It will guide us to where we need to go. I also really like the analogy that compares the Holy Word to a mirror. You must hold yourself up to the standards of His Word, found only in the Word, to see who you really are. I so needed this multifaceted tool time ago but now that I’ve found it, I’ve struck gold.
Getting into God’s Word shows you a lot about who you are. What I’ve found out about myself is that some of my sinful nature has actually connected to boundaries. Personal boundaries are generally a hot topic but I’ve always found them to be a bit confusing. I am not sure if we truly know what we speak of when we talk about boundaries. The lines for every thing are blurred today.
Being on the train was easy for me because it allowed me to avoid setting boundaries, in all manners of the term. There was no discipline, no retrospection, no limits. I was effectively living in the blur before I found God. I am still in a blur about some areas of life but that’s what He wrote the Bible for. Clarity comes through Him.
I’ve a lot to explore about personal boundaries. I used to blame others for taking advantage of me or getting me into sticky situations. God gave us free will and a voice so we can do what is right. By never opting to use that, I was sinning and allowing others to pull me deeper into sin. I must admit I still give in to the demands of others sometimes but I am learning to say “no,” not only to other people, but to myself.
We all need to set healthy boundaries in our relationships but I am learning that they always begin with the self. It’s necessary to create bounds for yourself so you stay on track. Where are you going if it’s all open roaming? Probably nowhere.
The Freedom Series was a bit tougher to accomplish than I had thought. I will probably have to revise those posts some day. But I am going to try this again with a series of posts on Setting Boundaries, as a way to hold myself accountable, but also to see search for the Biblical perspective on limits.
I hope that this works out well. I hope that it’s interesting for you. What do you think? What do you believe about personal boundaries? Let’s dive in and learn something together.
Galatians 6:5-6 (MSG)
“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.”