Finding Freedom in the Fence and Love in the Limits

By: Ginger Hughes

“Move back guys…a car is coming!” I hollered from my perch on the front steps.  The kids were outside playing in the front yard, and they’d ventured out closer to the road, past our fence, to look at something incredible…a special rock, an interesting stick, a muddy patch where the grass doesn’t grow—you get the idea.

They both glanced up from whatever they were studying and slowly took one small step back, completely unconcerned.  Just as I was getting ready to yell at them again, the car turned into the driveway a few houses down.  “Guys, when I tell you to get back away from the road, I mean for you to move quickly and to come back inside our fence,” I reminded them sternly.  “Okay, Mama,” they muttered as they continued playing.

A few minutes later they were playing ball when the ball rolled outside of the fence.  They both ran to get it and about that time another car was driving up our street. “Kids, come back this way,” I called.  They both stood there watching the car drive up the street.  “I SAID GET AWAY FROM THE ROAD THIS MINUTE!” I yelled, standing to my feet, heading their way.

They weren’t actually in the road, only near it, but I was exasperated that we’d just discussed this very thing, and here we were again.  One had taken a small step or two back and the other was still standing in place near the curb.  “Come here, both of you!” I said.  “When I tell you to move away from the road, or anything else for that matter, I mean for you to do it that very minute.  Do you understand? I love you, and I want you to be safe.  But you must listen to me.”

One nodded in agreement and apologized, while the other began making a case as to why listening to my directions and obeying what I said didn’t suit.

“Mama, the car wasn’t all that close. Besides I was watching for it.”  “I mean…I know not to be too close to the road, and I’m sure I was far enough away.”

Sometimes my children think they know best.  Perhaps yours do too.  Sometimes they think that since they’ve lived on this planet for several years now, that they are full of knowledge and wisdom.  They think I’m being too protective or too demanding.

And I can’t help but think so often we do the same thing with God.  He gives us clear directions in His word—things TO do and things NOT to do.  And He gives these directions for the same reason we give our children direction and guidance—because we love them.  God loves us, and He longs to protect us.

But just like our children, we often think we know best.

God tells us to forgive that person who’s wronged us, but we tell God why we shouldn’t have to do that.

God tells us not to lie, but we reason that it’s just a few “white” lies…surely that won’t hurt anybody.

God tells us to love our neighbor, but we pick and choose just who seems “worthy” to be our neighbor.

God tells us not to judge, yet we still tend to measure sins against one another, reasoning that at least what we’re doing isn’t as bad as what they’re doing, rather than comparing ourselves against a Holy God by which none of us could stand.

God tells us not to commit adultery, but we make excuses or allowances for why what we’re doing isn’t all that bad. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” we say to ourselves.

God tells us to be merciful, full of grace, abounding in love.  God tells us to guard our thoughts and our tongues.  And God tells us these things out of love.

God sets boundaries for us because in His great wisdom, He knows what is best.

God knows what is best for His children.  He knows when we’re getting too close to something we have no business being close to.  He knows when we’re excusing what we know to be poor behavior. He knows what will bring us joy (not temporary happiness) and what will bring us sorrow.  He knows what will bring us peace and what will bring us turmoil.  He knows.  And our loving God tells us these things repeatedly in His Word.

But just as my children think they know best, at times, sometimes we do the same.

I sat my kids down again today and we discussed the importance of listening and obeying.  We discussed how much I love them, and that their dad and I set boundaries and have rules for them because of that great love.

And friends, our God is the same.  God is good.  God does good.  God’s plans are good.  Let’s listen.  Let’s heed.  Let’s follow where He leads, trusting His infinite wisdom, and most importantly, trusting in His love.

-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.

 

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