Over the past few weeks, our pastor has been preaching about freedom and bondage, and that true freedom comes in being chained to the cross of Christ. It’s been a lot to think about. In my Connection Class (Sunday School), we’ve been talking about boundaries. Heavy stuff that I believe has been challenging all of us, and touching on some pretty soft spots.
I’m also reading this book called Wild & Free, by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly. It challenges the thoughts about how in the fullness of God available to His daughters, we often feel limited by two defining insecurities: “I am too much,” and “I am not enough.” Today I read a portion about the children of Israel, and how in the hard parts of their desert wandering they desired to go back to captivity. “Anything kept in captivity can only grow as much as its cage will allow. If we aren’t walking out of our bondage, we’re missing out on the fullness and on the abundant life of Christ.”
These sentences sparked a thought and principle I’ve known for years in regards to my training in horticulture. When plants are kept in pots, some are perfectly fine while others struggle. They all thrive at first, germinating in a safe space with plenty of water and nutrients available within reach. But trees quickly lack enough depth for a strong tap root, forced to turn circles in the bottom of its container. Plants can also become stunted and chlorotic. That chlorosis is typically caused when leaves do not have enough nutrients to synthesize all the chlorophyll they need. They’ve used up all the initial nutrients within the confines and bondage of their container.
Boundaries are good. I know, trust and understand that. But I can’t help but think about the artificial and false boundaries we institute around ourselves. The boundaries that stunt our growth and keep us from ever growing to the fullest design of who we are. Fear, anxiety, wanting acceptance – the list could go on. I often live within my self-proclaimed boundary of fear and the desire to be accepted by others, if I’m honest with myself, every day. That’s tough to admit.
For the past year, I’ve been working through some of this; however, the challenge and truth has increased as I move forward to the ‘next thing’ in a long process of learning and growth. I don’t want to be a stunted little oak tree. I desire to disciple women in Christ, to make a difference, to bear fruit not for my glory but for God’s. That’s hard to do when I’m stuck in a flower pot of comfort, slowly turning chlorotic. It will require me to break through my self-made, false boundaries which are confining, and move into the truth-filled boundaries proclaimed over me before the foundations of the earth. (Ephesians 1:4)
At some point, my desire to thrive in the ‘fullness and abundant life of Christ’ must be greater than all the other things. I trust that the boundaries from God, for my life, are good. It’s not a mediocre ‘good’ that we use to describe our day, but the awesome ‘good’ He used in Genesis 1 to describe the sun, moon and stars which He breathed into orbit. The ‘good’ He had in mind when we created the depths of the sea and the majestic heights of this land. The boundaries on our life are ‘good’ and pleasant (Psalm 16:6), and ones that we will stand in awe of.
Are you living in a flower pot of your own making? Perhaps it’s still a safe place, you’ve just germinated and need the safety and comfort provided. But maybe you’ve been there a while, and you’re going in circles or chlorotic. There’s so much more we could extrapolate on, but for now I’m challenging myself to really evaluate, “Where am I rooted, and where does God desire me to be?.” Would you join me?
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6 (ESV)