God never fails to amaze me. Completely, utterly amaze me!
This week has been a serious testing time. Spiritually, emotionally, AND well every other 'ally' possible. But here at the end of the week, beginning of a new one, I find one thing. God loves us enough to pursue us! And I love Him enough to listen.
Even at birth, boundaries are needed in our lives. As we get older, those boundaries need to become bolder, stronger, and we need to be more observant of them all. It's easy to think "Well, I am older now. I know what to do." Which may be true if your living a stagnant kind of life. Many of us are not, and who would want to? I may be nearing (cough cough) 40 but let me tell you, each month I grow older, I am growing by leaps and bounds just as an infant would be.
This week was indeed a test of remaining in the boundaries God has given me. As a wife, I do try to line myself up under my husband and let him lead our family. That is often harder then it sounds, because this world teaches us women that we must be in charge and "no man" should have authority over us. Kind of a twist of words from what God's word says isn't it?! During the school year I contribute my entire income to our family's needs. None of it is put into savings ~ but it allows my husband to do just that. Put a portion of his income into savings. I have had co workers balk at the idea that I "allow" my husband so much control ~ but can I tell you something. It didn't use to always be that way. I was a very independent woman, and when it comes to physically doing something, I often still am. But praise God that He led me to a ministry that there main focus is living a real true breathing life that puts God and His desires first. Sounds easy. It's not. In fact, I am STILL learning how to even do that. I realize the more I fall in line and respect, honor, and please those in authority over me it becomes so clear that not only am I doing that with God too ~ but I can HEAR his desires so much easier. If I have my 'own' agenda ~ that goes to the wayside. I don't look for His lead, I begin to panic, and try to do things in my own power. Why? I guess for selfish ambition ~ for looking good to others. For looking responsible and wise to others. In reality? I look foolish to God and to those who matter most to me. Why? Because here I am saying "trust God" and yet, doing things in my own power which basically says 'I don't trust Him, so I have to do it myself.'
Just two days ago I fretted all day and worried about finances. Who am I really to do that? Who said that was my job? No one! Not even God. He in fact has been trying to get one truth into my mind ~ ever since about early Spring.
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 NIV
Get that? DO NOT be anxious about ANYTHING! That means finances too! Finances pretty much falls right in there with "anything". *sigh* I fretted, I worried, and in my head I tried to figure out this 'master plan' ... when I am not even the master! God Almighty is the Master of our lives. My husband is indeed the master of this home (which includes the finances). Breath in. Breath out. Relief! Can I tell you, when I over step my boundaries (like trying to take over something that is NOT mine to be done), there is anxiety, self absorption, stress, the lack of fulfillment, worry, and eventually pain and sorrow. It is what drives relationships apart. It is what has made our divorce rate now higher then the marriage rate in America.
Yesterday I was doing yard work. The whole nine yards. After things were mowed and edged, it was time to get down on the grown and pull out weeds and grass (yes good healthy grass) out of my flowerbeds. Why? Because neither one of them belonged there. Sure the grass was good and healthy. And if it weren't in the flowerbeds I would have been content to leave it. But see, there was one problem. It over stepped the boundary. I have rocks that border my flower bed. Big rocks. yet, the grass grew under them, over them and were doing anything it could to grow where it wanted to. In some spots, I had to dig deep.
Our lives are like that! We must take time to weed our 'garden' and remove the pesky weeds and ... healthy grass that has a purpose, but which is not what is needed for this moment. Sometimes our lives continue on a path where everything around us stays the same, and it is us growing. Other times, we stay the same and our environment around us is changing. That is okay! But it is a problem if our lives stay the same, and the environment around us does as well. Why? Things become stagnant, and we then begin to look for the negatives instead of embracing the positives in our day to day lives. Removing some things that are "overall" healthy in our lives (a relationship, an activity) for the sole purpose of developing growth versus staying stagnant is desperately needed. As i pulled up healthy grass I was thinking "my neighbors probably think I am nuts",but that grass was outside the natural boundary that was provided. When we get out of God's boundaries that He sets for us, sure things may look healthy ~ but really we are allowing those things to choke out and zap nutrients from the flowers within us. We might act, or say something that is out of line, and while it may be okay to the world's eye if it is out of line with God's eye ~ it is like a pesky weed.
As I sat there and worked, and reflected on what God was giving me for the moment (a smack in the head, and squeeze of the heart) I could do nothing but soak it up. When all was done, I knew that it was no longer to be my worry of the finances. I went to the husband, told him what was needed to complete our monthly budget and that was that. I fretted because I thought he would be mad ~ after all he has taken on the full financial load this summer since I do not work nor get paid in the summer~ and feel overwhelmed. I was worried he would accuse me of over spending though.... I truly had not and KNEW I hadn't ~ yet I was listening to the anxiety, the lies, the self absorption. Hubby is the provider, and often I am just the manager paying bills, gathering groceries, etc. Needless to say I was out of my boundary and making life miserable for myself. When I gave the concern to whom it belonged to (first God who then set me straight on giving it to the hubby), the anxiety and worry was gone. There was no argument. No accusations. There was total and complete peace. Why? Because I was back in the boundary that God has given me.
Call me old fashioned. Call me naive. I don't care. I like it this way! There is peace, joy, contentment and an abounding LOVE when one is where they belong! Remaining under authority truly is a blessing!