Hemmed in.

When I compare myself with others, I become depressed and disoriented. I lose my focus and start spinning in circles trying to find my direction. I start coveting what other people have and lose effectivity in my own life. If I want to achieve or maintain joy in my life, I need to develop soul satisfaction with my portion in life. I need to trust God to be enough for me, to care for me as He has promised and I need to stop hankering after the illusory life presented, many times unwittingly, by friends and acquaintances on social media. I need to learn to be satisfied with the life which God has apportioned to me. It’s healthy to recognise not only the unique opportunities God has given me, but also the unique restrictions God has placed in my life and to receive both as His good gift with thankfulness and trust.

Some people claim that we can do or be whatever we want, that if we want it hard enough, we can have it all.  I beg to differ.It is a popular and positive sounding phrase but frankly I think it is untrue.  We are all wired differently and we simply can’t have it all, nor would we be happy if we had it. Restrictions, limitations and boundaries are helpful if we want to develop a healthy focus and find our direction in life. There are limitations which are just for a season and there are those which are simply a part of our make-up, of who we are and we are wise if we make peace with them.

I see wisdom in the Psalmist’s perspective.

“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm 16:5-6

When I look for fulfilment outside of the lines God has drawn for me, I find myself on the path to frustration and dissatisfaction, and multiplied sorrows (Psalm 16:4). When I take my cues from the world around me, instead of waiting on God’s perfect plan for my life, confusion ensues. I know what I am talking about because I’ve been there and I’ve done that, and have needed to be rescued repeatedly by my Good Shepherd.  On the other hand, as I learn to  be content with what God gives me and to trust Him that it will be good, even if it is different from my expectations or deep-felt desires, I begin to discover the beauty of His plan and to experience deep soul satisfaction.dsc_0430

“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance”. I get one portion and not the whole cake. This is such a different concept from what the world offers us nowadays. There is a modesty and a contentment in it which we don’t often see in today’s world with its unbridled desire for more of everything. Even for those of us who call ourselves Christians, our eyes are too often more on the goods and the opportunities of this world than on the far better treasures of heaven and we have swallowed hook, line and sinker the concept that we deserve to have a bigger bit of the pie of life, or at the very least just as much as our unbelieving neighbours.  The truth is that when I have the Lord as my portion, I already have everything I will ever need. Without Him, I have nothing. David says in verse 2 “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.” This is the one portion we all need in life. Without it, even gaining the whole world won’t help fill the emptiness.

God has determined the lines in my life, as He has determined the boundaries of the sea. He says “thus far and no further” and I find that He has hemmed me in both to protect me and direct me. He has enclosed me behind and before, and laid His hand upon me (Psalm 139). God has written the specifications and the parameters for my life and I can either strive with Him and struggle against them or I can work with Him to fully and wholeheartedly become the person He wants me to be, wherever and however that might be. If I am wise I will seek my fulfilment within His parameters  – and I will discover that His plan for me is indeed beautiful.dsc_0419

This is such good news for me as I continue on in this season of motherhood. Because there are days when I question the value of what I do. And there are days when I see greener grass on the other side of the fence, when my job is hard and frankly I am not very good at it. There are voices and pressures which cast doubt on the wisdom of being so focused on my job as wife and mother.As I get older I live with the reality of unfulfilled dreams and a long list of un-accomplishments. And I am tempted to covet those things when I see them in other people’s lives  – until I come back to an acceptance of the portion God has appointed for me and I trust again that obedience in a life hidden in the home is of more eternal significance than all the accolades the world could give me, that it is better for me to faithfully serve where God has planted me, than to shine  in a place of my own appointment.

For this season of my life God has called me to focus my energies on serving in my home and with my home. It is more than okay to do that. It is a high calling.It is a far higher calling than most of us realise.  It precludes many other things but equally opens the door to opportunities of which I would never have dreamed, if I had been in too much of a hurry to get back to something “more significant” and better paid.

But this is my path and mine alone. There is no “one size fits all” life plan. The picture-perfect life that oozes through Facebook and Instagram pictures is indeed a perfect illusion. God’s plan for each one of us is as unique as we are. I am set free by this truth to be content with the path He has chosen for me, even if it looks different from yours.  After all, His plans for me are for good and not harm, to give me hope and a future.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

 

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