They exist everywhere.
They outline countries and demarcate property. They separate age groups and allocate time. They determine our families, restrict our actions, control our behavior, even circumscribe our lifestyles.
Boundaries define who we are.
And who we are not.
Yet so often we struggle with boundaries. The confinement they bring. The limitations they enforce. At times even good boundaries can feel like a prison for our potential, a blockade to our destiny, an obstruction in our search for freedom.
After all, our human presupposition has always been to color outside the lines. Since Adam and Eve chose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one solitary boundary God told them not to cross, by default all our eyes now look for the greener grass growing just beyond the fence (see Genesis 3).
Nevertheless, the psalmist David offers a challenge. An opportunity to think differently. To see from a fresh perspective. But it requires removing from our mind’s eye the distorted glasses that this boxed thinking so often prescribes.
Take a look at what he writes.
“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.” (Psalm 16:5-6 NIV)
You see, David’s “boundary lines have fallen…in pleasant places” because he has learned a profound truth.
The greener grass lies neither here nor there. Not at our feet. Nor beyond the fence.
The deepest needs of the human heart, our longings for significance, security, belonging, acceptance, clarity, right standing, peace. These can only be met in the Lord.
And He is here.
Right here. Right where we are.
And He is there too.
Over there. Out beyond the fence.
David understood, which is why he could declare, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure.” He could even proclaim, “Surely I have a delightful inheritance” because the placement of his boundary lines mattered little in determining his sense of wellbeing.
David saw beyond the color of the grass. He realized that no matter where he stood at the root is where growth really happens. Where satisfaction can be found. Where the right nutrients when absorbed daily would restore life to even the driest of stalks until they rise.
David chose to fill his “cup” with Living Water (John 4:14).
And you can too.
Just remember these verses. Then plan some time to spend with Him.
Pray to God about your circumstances. Ask Him to meet your needs. Read carefully Psalm 16, and let its words pour like water deep down within you.
And don’t forget to listen.
If you do, you will find your cup filling again.
And you may even see your own boundaries in fresh light.
What boundaries do you struggle with most? In what ways do these verses challenge you to see your boundaries in fresh ways?