I’ve been thinking about boundaries…
I wasn’t much for boundaries as a teen, it wasn’t that I pushed them, I just didn’t have any… and when my own teens remind me ‘you turned out ok without boundaries’ I remind them ‘I’m only ok because I met Jesus at 17 and he introduced me to a life of freedom within the boundaries of His love’.
I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 16:6 ‘My boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places’.
But what is the pleasant place… Is it a dream?
The dream of pleasant places leads us to a life of peace and an imagined contentment and all that is green. You know the green I mean? The shade of green that social media invokes and the beautiful green of the grass on the other side.
The dream of pleasant places where it was and how it used to be. Before separation happened through broken relationships, through offence, through misunderstanding or how things were before we were all dispersed to the far ends of the earth.
The dream of pleasant places where we wish our home, our lot was different, our thoughts being continually distracted with more, bigger, richer, new and…and….I wish it was different.
Then there are the pleasant places that David describes in Psalm 16, the golden psalm – the psalm to live by.
Let’s think about David. He often finds himself in the pits – literally – he sinks deeper, unable to be rescued or even rescue himself. David the fugitive, running from Saul, hiding in caves, finds himself in much difficulty and loneliness.
We can identify with his darkness, depths, and pits. With being chased, sickness pinning us to our bed, thoughts digging our own dark cave. In reading that David’s ‘lines have fallen to him in pleasant places’ we realize that it’s not because David has found himself a nice acreage, abounding in health with all the toys he needs.
When the people of Israel entered the promised land they were given land to their tribe – each family were given their lot and the lines were drawn. Boundary stones were put in place and everyone knew the piece that God had given them. While David wasn’t in this physical place… he spoke the words. He knew the God of love within the boundaries he had been given. David knew and trusted God, reminding himself of the many promises God had spoken over the years. As much as a physical place, let’s view the pleasant places as a heart residence. The place of safety and protection, a place to share the burden, to hear the whisper of God, the place of holding and declaring promise.
I love what Frederick Buechner writes ‘for Jesus, peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.’
Have you accepted His love? I know the minute I step out of the boundary of God’s love, those characteristics of the pleasant place are robbed, it’s a wild place outside that boundary.
The pleasant place of the heart also speaks of contentment.
‘I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.’ Philippians 4:12
As we wake each day and declare the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, we can do so in faith, in the knowledge of the love of God. Working within the lines that have fallen to us. Trusting he will meet us there. This place is not limiting. This is all about freedom, because it is where God has called you to be, to hear his whisper and the revelation of God’s purpose and plan for your life.
I was chatting with Momma Sue today who is learning new contentment. As life throws difficulty and limits her activity. Where boundaries feel claustrophobic and far from pleasant.
She is forced to sit, to stop and say ‘Lord, what do you want to speak to me today?’
Then she reads this….
Amazing what happens when you ask.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I will leave this musing with this final thought… Let’s not forget to be thankful.
From the caves, the pits, the sickbed… from the mountain tops and wide open places. There’s always much to be thankful for. Let thankfulness become a habit. Reflect intentionally on the things God has given you within your boundaries.
And…wait…. AS I WRITE these words.
I receive a text from a loved one needing breakthrough, needing healing, needing peace, she writes
‘thankfulness may actually provide the long awaited key I will use to unlock major difficulties in your life. Giving thanks to Me can open doors that transcend your understanding – Jesus’.
Love and Prayers,
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.’
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
8 thoughts on “Pleasant Places.”
Thank you for this Michelle. The devotional that you quoted was just what I needed to read today…have been feeling sorry for myself in a very slow recuperation from a long ago accident. Thanks again 🙂
I as well needed this today.
My birthday is today as well as Family day here in Alberta & as usual not being able to do anything outside of my confined space has been once again depressing for me. My family are my life and are my whole world and to not be able to celebrate outside of our home for a change of pace is hard. There is not much to look forward to with anticipation anymore. We have never ever had a family vacation and I promised my family this would be the year. But it’s not as I can’t walk or afford it.
My mom has been fighting two different types of cancer and surgeries and chemo and I have not been able to travel the 11 hrs back home to Eston to even see her. It’s been nearly 2 yrs since seeing her. My dad passed away 2007 and I promised him the day he passed that I would take care of mom. We had always been home every 3 mths or sooner since we moved to Grande Prairie 12 yrs ago and had always spend the entire summer at her place.
I have been confined to my house and my car as taxi mom for the past 2 yrs. I have been struggling with many ailments,most of which are a result from a car accident many years ago. As well as illness since age 12, and when I thought it couldn’t get any worse my back went causing much pain and unable to walk or sleep in a bed. For over a year and a half I have slept or not in a chair and put on a staggering 150lbs.
Please remember me in your prayers and my mom and family. Often it’s hardest being the one looking on as to the one who is fighting. I am on both sides and feel overwhelmed and at a loss but trying my best to be content and draw on Gods plan and purpose of my life.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will be praying that you will continue to know God’s grace and strength in the midst of your pain. Stay in touch. Love, Michelle.
So glad to hear… Bless you.
Wonderful words :)))))
Hi Michelle, I just finished reading your write up and was blessed by it I have had a year now of unplanned events.So simple but oh so different than I planned .I simply fell off a chair and injured my back to the point of not being able to walk for about 10 months now.Now I am slowly beginning to walk a bit for which I am so thankful God in his tender mercy has been my stop and stay .without Him I would not have been able to survive.Jesus says “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor my ways your ways” Not easy to accept when you’ve been lain on your back for 10 months ,after living a very active life for 84 yrs I know many in Willow Park have been praying for me .Thank the church for me and may they continue to pray for me I’m not quite out of the woods yet Sincerely in Christ Dora Cornelsen
So lovely to hear from you Dora. Glad to hear you are walking a bit. You are a lovely inspiration… I will pass on your thanks to the church. We will continue to pray and see you very soon I’m sure! x