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Live Within Your Limits (Psalm 16)

“You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing…Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:2, 5-8

My youngest, Kinley (2 years old), has recently discovered her ability to climb out of her crib (oh, joy! 🙈). After putting her down for her nap or bedtime, we hear her crib creaking and hitting the wall as she thrusts herself up and over the side of it and sneaks to her door. She’ll peer out at us, thrilled by the “freedom” she is experiencing - alone in her room, unbound by crib bars. She feels “free” and like a “big girl” but in reality she is overtired, pushing against boundaries, and forcing her way out of the safe place prepared for her.

I have found myself in a similar situation many times over the course of the past five years - butting up against the “boundary lines” God has placed around me in motherhood. Psalm 16 describes “boundary lines” related to God’s allocation of land to Israel, but boundaries as we experience them may concern a variety of things: finances, time, capacity, marriage, health, work, location, family needs, and seasons, among other things. We may find that we are limited in certain areas because of our specific life circumstances - these are the boundaries around us.

Sometimes, I refuse to live within my boundaries - this has looked like over-scheduling myself or my children; wondering if I should be doing what I see another mom doing; ignoring my body’s need for rest; looking at my neighbor’s house and trying to convince my husband we should move two doors down (yes, I actually did this recently. No, we didn’t move 🤪). I’ve found myself looking over to the other side of the fence to see the grass looking greener on the other side, wondering why I am confined to my plot of land.

When I am trying to push past the boundaries of my season, Psalm 16 brings me back to what is good and right and true: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:5).

It can feel easy to fixate on the boundaries around my life and grow in frustration towards them: Why can’t I do that in this season? Why don’t I have freedom in this area of my life? Why does she get to experience that now and I don’t? I fall so easily into the pit of comparison and the deception of discontentment, letting my mind and heart wander outside of the space God has assigned to me.

What is actually true about boundaries: they are a blessing. God is not punishing you, but rather preserving good for you.

God has lovingly given you these specific limits in this season for a reason. He did not accidentally allocate “your” land to the mom on the other side of the fence. He is not randomly restricting you or overlooking your life. Rather, he has assigned you to a specific space out of love and care for you, and accepting your limitations will allow you to enjoy your land.

What if our boundaries are what bring us back to Jesus - binding us to the vine, and bringing us to our knees? What if we stopped despising our boundaries and started delighting in them? What if we refused to compare and started declaring: “Apart from You, I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2)?

May God give us the ability to see our boundaries as they are (a blessing!) and yield to them. May we continually fight to see the beauty within our boundaries. And may we live within our limits, trusting that God has so lovingly gifted us with a specific space in this season of life for a reason.

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