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.