When tragedy happens, it is easy to blame God for “allowing” it. The vulnerability of failing health, an unexpected accident, when innocence is lost, these are all times when we are reminded of the fragility of life. We need answers. We need someone to blame.
I’ve always been intrigued by people’s relationship with God. Some follow a hard line of their religion. Others have more of a free-flowing connection. In moments when I feel I’m in crisis or extremely vulnerable is when I surrender. I maximize my capacity of choices first before I ask for help. When I have nothing left, I stop talking in prayer. I start listening to the “still small voice” that can only be heard in my own silence. My beliefs may not meet the definition of the world’s religions. I appreciate aspects of different perspectives and still never felt I belonged to one religion. I focus on where there is overlap. I focus on the burning desire to feel connected to a higher entity.
The Boundaries book identifies key concepts regarding how we can have healthy boundaries with God.
1. God respects our boundaries. We have a right to feel we are doing it on our own. We have the right to say, “no thanks God, I got this” and go in our own direction. We are still loved when we move away from God.
2. God allows us to feel the consequences of our choices. We can go through life on our own. In making that choice, we also choose the results of our decisions. We are allowed to be responsible for our choices.
3. Own our boundaries with God. We need to be clear how involved we want God in our lives “When we own what is within our boundaries, when we bring it into the light, God can transform it with his love.” We need to be responsible for our own hurt feelings. We need to take appropriate action to make things better. Instead of expecting God to change everyone around us to make our lives more comfortable, we have to make the choice to open our own hearts to be transformed. That means that we have to take responsibility for the mess we make. This may show up in releasing someone who is toxic from our lives to love them from afar. It may mean that we forgive someone who has hurt us so we can release the pain so we can start healing.
4. Don’t be a Freedom-Hater. Childish entitlement can happen when we resent that someone is exercising their own right to choose. We don’t mind if others have choices, just as long as they don’t negatively impact our lives. “When we get angry with Him for what he does not do, we are not allowing Him the freedom to be who he is.” When someone’s choices get in our way, freedom-haters withdraw love. Demands and ultimatums violate boundaries.
There is empowerment experienced in the struggle to overcome challenges. When we do the work that is ours to do, we get to see the depths of our capacity. We are allowed the space to struggle. God waits for our invitation for His support. God may not erase our pain, He may send us someone to provide comfort. We may not be able to fix failing health, He may send us someone to hold our hand as our physical body expires. God may not give back the loss of innocence, He may help us become more compassionate toward a fragile life. When we have questions, God may not share all His answers when we demand them. When we want to blame, we are given an opportunity to take responsibility for what is ours and accept the things we cannot change.
I may never belong to a specific religion. I am continuously reminded that life flows more smoothly when I stop talking and start listening to that “still small voice.” I am directed to be a vessel of service for the highest good of others. The best reminder from the chapter is that God responds when we make our feelings known. “If we do our work, and God does his, we will find strength in a real relationship with our Creator.” Drawing the Line with God helps us have clear boundaries so we can co-create a partnership with God that is based on a burning desire to be close.
Reflect & Share: What boundaries do you have with God? Which of the four concepts do you struggle with the most?
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Resources & Related Blogs:
“Respecting God’s Boundaries” (blog)
“God, Boundaries, and Thankfulness (blog)
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