Boundaries

Earlier this month while doing my daily devotion I came across a scripture that has been stuck in my brain ever since. The scripture was Joshua 15:1-4. These verses in particular talk about the physical boundaries of the land that had been set for the people of Israel. However, God also showed me that boundaries don’t just have to be physical limitations in the natural, but that as Christians we should set boundaries in our spiritual lives.

Some people may consider boundaries to be a hinderance more so than a help, but in a spiritual sense, the boundaries are there as a safe net.  God sets boundaries in our lives to help us stay focused so that we don’t venture off outside the will of God.  I personally discovered this year that venturing outside of the God’s will can be very dangerous.

Everyone doesn’t handle “freedom” the same. Some people can handle it more than others, but for me I can’t have too much freedom. Too much freedom and I don’t know how to act. I pretty much take the freedom as my opportunity to do whatever I want without always thinking about the consequences. So God has to set boundaries for me. God will give us an opportunity to set some boundaries for ourselves. We all know as Christians that we have to be mindful of the things we allow to be part of our lives and what we expose ourselves to.

If we don’t set these boundaries for ourselves, then God will step in and do them for you.  Case in point: before my accident I had lost all sense of boundaries in my life. I was doing a lot of things that went against my morals and yet I continued anyways.  I found the more I did it, the less I felt guilty. It got to the point where it just became routine and I couldn’t even hear God anymore. When we step outside of our boundaries, in the beginning it may be something subtle. Often we may test ourselves just to see how far God will let us go before he snatches us back. “Well I got away with it this time” is what some of us may often say when we barely escape from trouble. (I would suggest however that we NOT play with God..EVER. But I’m not naive, it happens)

Once outside the boundaries we lose God’s covering and his mercy. We are no longer safe and the devil has full access to us. So the devil will put things in front of you to subtly entice you to step out a little further each time, until you find yourself out on a branch with nowhere to go. This is the story of my life for the last several months. I had subtly gotten so far away from God that I didn’t even notice until it was too late. My car accident was my wake up call, and God setting some pretty official boundaries that I couldn’t help but obey.

When my car accident first happened, I was very upset because I had become limited in what I could do. I couldn’t walk and I didn’t have a car. Both of these were my gateways to freedom (and my own self destruction).  I hated the idea of being immobile and I felt “trapped”…or at least my flesh did. Now I can look back and it all makes sense. Flesh does not like discipline or order. God was breaking me down, I didn’t realize I had become rebellious in a sense by overstepping my boundaries.

Don’t despise the boundaries. They are God’s safe nets for your life. Boundaries help to establish order and God is all about order. When you’re a child of God, he will only allow you to go so far before he snatches you back up again. God doesn’t hesitate to give us a reminder of who he is and that he created us for HIS purpose; not foolery. After all, if God never chastised us, we would never know HIM, because when he chastises us, it’s to let us know there is a better way than our own; HIS way.

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Gone, But Not Forgotten

I recently had a friend who passed away and it still doesn’t quite seem real. It’s always weird when someone you were just talking to fine one week, is gone the next. Seeing all the friendly post, and the prayers posted on my friend’s Facebook  wall made me realize that life is truly too short. You can never really know what to expect. So even while we may only be here for a short amount of time, it’s important that we do something with the gift of life that God gave us.

Reading the different  post on my friend’s Facebook wall, touched me because I had no idea how many people’s lives she had touched. I always knew her to be a happy and cheerful person, and it showed that her presence truly went a long way. Whatever you put out there in the world, is what you’ll get back. Reading her comments and post I can tell she got back happiness and joy ten times more than what she put out. She was truly loved and will truly be missed.

Knowing that my friend was still young makes me want to be more appreciative of those around me. It makes me want to hold on and remember every moment before it has a chance to slip away. Her death seemed unfair at first, I kept thinking to myself why? She was a good person, never really bothered nobody. But in the end God has a plan for all of our lives. It made me realize that sometimes even the worse days are our best days if we can live to see the next day. That is the true blessing.

 I also learned that even when you don’t think you’ve done a lot in people’s lives, that they somehow take notice of your presence. What you physically do and say around people is one thing, but your presence stands out more than your actions and that’s what people remember most.   So lesson here is be mindful of what you do with the gift of life that God has given you. Life is too unpredictable to take it for granted.

It’s  important that we try not to be too sad, because I’m sure she wouldn’t want us to be. It’s important that we remember her as she was : always happy and full of life.

I dedicate this blog to Sia Christine Yoker  “Gone but not forgotten”  7/15/91- 6/21/11

*If you’re reading this and you knew Sia personally, feel free to comment and leave behind your best memories of her to share with others to let them know just how much she meant to those around her. *

Lost in Translation

In May I wrote a blog about someone who had been in my life for over two years and how I kept pushing him away because I thought I was scared to be in a relationship. Well, I’ve had some more time to think this situation over. And it turns out even after this person moved away,  we’ve still managed to keep in contact. And it’s still the same back and forth thing as far as where we stand with each other.

So here I was thinking I had let something good slip away, and it was a missed opportunity because I had never gotten over some issues from my past. But I’ve finally dealt with some of those issues that have held me back emotionally and now it all makes sense. I love him as a friend and I care for him and I support him in whatever he does. Most of all I want to see him happy; but that doesn’t mean in a relationship with me!  Nothing I just said translates into a relationship! Matter of fact it’s the same thing I’ve been saying for the last year!

I’m not sure why this person has even been in my life for so long, considering our history of going back and forth. It baffles me everyday. Nothing is ever simple when you have history with a person.  And I will admit, ok…maybe there were times I sent mixed signals. But he should know me a lot better after these two years, my indecisiveness tends to be an issue. It should be nothing new to him. I am a  libra!!

I really just want the “soap opera” to end..ONCE AND FOR ALL! But I still want him to be part of my life…as a close friend. But if being his friend is going to cause him to think that we still have potential for a relationship, then maybe I should just jump ship here…I don’t want to have to wonder if every time we’re hanging out, if this subject of a relationship is going to pop up in conversation.

For some reason  even when we’ve tried going our separate ways (multiple times) we both still manage to keep hanging on. Funny thing is I’ve been in this situation, the roles were reverse and so I know what it feels like to be hurt after you were the one to put everything out on the table only to get nothing in return. And I’ve apologized to him for what I’ve done. But I’m not about to keep going in circles with dude! I can’t. I hate being in stagnant situations, it drives me crazy!  How do you stop a behavior that the person obviously allows. I recently learned that people will only do to you what you allow them too. Not that this gives me the right for my own behavior, but I’m just saying because I’ve been there; done that.

Maybe the truth is I feel guilty for hurting him, because I know how I felt when the roles were reverse. So in some sense that is one reason I do kind of hang on, because his friendship is still important to me. Like I said earlier, I do want to see him happy with his life. But part of me wonders, why should I feel guilty if he already knows the deal and he keeps coming around anyways? Why should I keep trying to spare his feelings when he’s obviously NOT trying to move on? I can’t keep feeling sorry for him.  It’s time we both picked up the pieces, close the door and MOVE ON!

As for myself I probably should just cut him off; even if that means loosing a close  friend. Because right now the relationship we have isn’t really benefiting either one of us. In a sense we’re enabling each other. I always did have a problem with letting people go.

Superwoman

 I can remember being in fourth grade writing an essay on why I thought my grandmother should be president of the United States. My grandmother is a real life superwoman.  I love this woman to death and I wanted to take the time out to share with others how much of a blessing she has been in my life. My grandmother has been there for me more times than I can count in the last 21 years of my life.

It’s because of my grandmother that I have been able to get through some of the toughest moments of my life. Recently she has been doing soooo much to help out since my car accident. In the beginning when I felt like I had lost everything and all hope; my grandmother was there with an encouraging word. She had faith and hope for my situation even when I didn’t. When I was disappointed in myself, she saw something else in me and encouraged me to push through the disappointment and learn a lesson. Some of  our biggest mistakes, turn out to teach us the most valuable lessons of life.

I think back to other mistakes and downfalls I’ve had and my grandmother has always been there to help me pick up the pieces and learn from my mistakes. Her love is truly unconditional. Sometimes I feel like words would never be enough to truly express my gratitude for her and everything she has done. She truly goes above and beyond sometimes, even when I’m really undeserving. Knowing that she believes in me is always the extra “umph” I need to keep going when I find myself discouraged.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I often say she’s my second mother. She’s as much of a mother to me as my own actual mother. I thank God for making her the amazing woman that she is and blessing her with a kindness that she has been able to share with others.  I’ve never seen anyone who has so much strength and  faith.  No one knows me like her.  She tells you like it is and doesn’t hold back. Her determination is inspiring. Since I can remember, I’ve always been a “granny’s baby.” My grandmother is like my best friend and role model. Seeing her do the things she does inspires me to not only be a better person, but most of all a better woman.

I believe that God puts certain people in our lives for a reason. Sometimes I think to myself that God must have made my grandmother my guardian angel because she’s always there to rescue me. Whatever it is the Lord has put in my grandmother I can only hope that 1/2 of it rubs off on me.  I often wonder if she’s always looking out for me, then who is looking out for her? I know that in the end God is truly going to bless her ten-fold for everything that she has been doing.  She has taught me so much about life and I wish there was some way I could share more of it with others, so that they too can see how much of a blessing my grandmother has been. One day I would like to be a role model for someone and set an example, the way she set the example for me.

 

The Search that Begins Within…

The funny thing about love is that for everyone it’s something different.  But it turns out most of us are simply in love with the idea of love, but not as willing to put in the work to make it happen. True love doesn’t come easy. Sure there’s the first initial attraction, and the trial period of bliss, but when reality sets in, you realize love is something you have to work at.

Most of us spend half our lives on a journey looking for something that begins within ourselves.  In order to truly enjoy love in the natural it’s something that must first be learned in the spiritual. By this I mean love begins with loving ourselves and loving God. 

Loving God will allow you to have a new-found self-confidence in being able to love yourself. God’s love is also unconditional, so even when we drop the ball, he’s still there with an outstretched hand. Love in the natural isn’t always this promising, sometimes it can come with disappointments; which is only natural because we’re humans. Humans can fall short.  But if you know the love of God, then you won’t look for love from a person to validate you. That’s what God’s love is for.

God loves  us because of who we are. He created us “as is”  for a reason; so don’t try to change it. Embrace it and use it for something with a greater purpose. Most of us never learn to love God, so we think  “love” from another person is supposed to be the thing in life that helps to “complete” us.  When you know God’s love, you are complete. Then the other person is simply there to compliment what God has already given you.

In order to experience love at its fullest, we must know God’s love first. God’s love sets the standard for what real love in the natural should be. If you aren’t careful, or if you haven’t learned true love in the spiritual, you may end up settling for something cheap. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that.  It’s no fun to sale yourself short. =(

The thing about love is that it’s not for us to go looking for. But true love is something that finds you. Think about it, none of us went looking for love from God. He found enough favor in himself to care about us, even when we didn’t.  So stop looking because most of us don’t even know what to look for. What we consider to be “love” may not always match up with what God knows to be love. Allow his spiritual love to guide you to finding that true love in the natural.

I know from  personal experience that for some people this all may be easier said than done. I’m a hopeless romantic at times so I understand the longing for companionship. There’s nothing wrong with that it’s natural. But if you aren’t grounded in God’s love first, then trust me, it’s easy to loose yourself once you do find someone you like.  What’s ultimately important to know is that, God’s love has a purpose. When you’re trying to find love in the natural, it’s important that the person you choose be someone in line with God’s purpose.  God doesn’t just place two people together without a greater purpose. There is something to be learned from every relationship. But please know, before the relationship there has to be a foundation grounded in loving yourself and knowing God’s love FIRST.

God's love is found in knowing HIS word.
1Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)

  “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Love never fails…”

No Regrets Just Trial & Error

Since my car accident in April, I’ve had plenty of time to do some reflecting on everything I had gone through; particularly in the last year. Looking back I can’t say I was exactly proud of every moment, and I can’t say my life was going exactly as planned; but what I can say is that despite my troubles and failures I have no regrets.

“No regrets: just trial and error” is a new saying I’m starting to incorporate into my life.  Trial and error is exactly what life is about. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. Either way we can’t do any of it without God. Ultimately those failures can become the blessings that help teach us valuable life lessons.

As much as I’ve went through in the last year, I look back and thank God for the road traveled. It wasn’t the perfect path, but along the way I learned a lot about myself . It seemed at the time some of my worst days were the hardest obstacles in my life I thought I would never conquer. But look where God has brought me now?! Still not perfect, maybe even still a work in progress, but I’m a stronger person for what I went through. I wouldn’t take back any of my bad experiences because they ultimately helped me to grow. I have nothing in my past to be ashamed of because God has shown me that there is life beyond my pain, my emotions, my failures & mistakes. Everything happens for a greater reason; some reasons become clear later on and some reasons we may never know even after the fact.

Regret is a word meant for the devil because he wants you to feel like you messed up when something doesn’t go as planned. He wants you to feel bad for your failures, he wants you to feel guilty for what you’ve done so that it becomes hard for you to forgive yourself and move on. But really there’s no need in feeling guilty about “shoulda, coulda wouldas.” Trust me.  While you’re busy beating up yourself for that mistake, God had forgiven you a long time ago. Sometimes a closed door can save you from something God knows you’re not prepared to handle. Although it may seem like a “no” to you from God, He may be trying to tell you something else.

It took a car accident and a broke knee for me to realize that blessings aren’t always what we think. Most people assume that blessings are only the good or successful things that happen. But truthfully a blessing can come from our mistakes as well. Sometimes not even God will allow our mess ups to change his plans, and sometimes we end up standing in the way of our own blessings. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us, turn out to be some of the best things that would’ve happened to us. For me that was my car accident in April.

My car was totaled, I lost my job, my knee was broken, I had to have surgery, and I’ve been unable to walk since April. Not to mention even though I was broke at the time, I still had bills to pay. At first I can’t even lie, I was angry. I was hurt and confused by God.  I felt like everything had slipped away from me all at once and I had officially hit rock bottom. The most low moment of my life. My worst days before were nothing compared to how I felt after my accident.

However since my accident I’ve found so much more peace in my life and I haven’t had time to get caught up in distractions. I started writing again and God forced me to deal with everything I had been trying to avoid for months. I’ve had a much more positive outlook on life, and I’ve had more time to mend my relationship with God. The car accident forced me to look at the bigger picture. I was slipping away, getting further from God and because I’d become stubborn, it took extreme measures to get my attention. I had been searching for peace for months, only to have found it now when I truly needed it most.

Despite my current situation I still have no regrets. Life is about learning; trial & error. There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t be afraid of the failures. Trust God and step out on faith. Remember, even when things don’t turn out as planned, take every opportunity as a lesson learned.