In Place!

We’re still sheltering in place!  Most of us are both under orders and following orders to stay at home … at least most of time. I’m just grateful that we can take our dog outside for a couple of long walks every day. That’s vital to Molly Brown’s well being, and to ours.

By God’s grace we live in a beautiful place, both outside and inside. A few years ago I freshened up my home office and as a result I enjoy an especially serene setting for many hours most every day. A sacred and quiet place has always been a high priority for me.

When I was growing up in Chicago my parents made a bedroom for me on the enclosed back porch of our little house. It was simple and even unheated but it was my special place, safe from my two sisters. Well, I didn’t remember posting it but my mother saved the scribbled sign I taped to my bedroom door at the age of eight:
This is my room where I kin go
And no buddy kin hurt me.
It was a delightful surprise when years ago, shortly before she died, my mother made me a needle point gift of that for my home office. I now see that sign daily and celebrate that God has given me a safe and special place to read, reflect and write every day. That’s never been more true than since we’ve been sheltering in place!

How are you daily determining to make the best of this quarantine? That’s what I’m seeking to do. So far, I’ve completed several chores, beginning with culling out more of my books, reviewing a pile of files and organizing some of my teaching notes. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve made a good start.

I’m learning to embrace the limits of my current confinement.  Life is always best lived within limits. In 2 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul said, “We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. We are not reaching beyond these boundaries…”

I have always struggled with boundaries. For too many years, and in too many ways, I have not only pushed the limits of time and energy by trying to do too much, but I’ve often exceeded the limits of good sense. At least according to my wife!

I’ll never forget when Linda said: “It can’t be God’s will for you to be doing everything you are doing if you are feeling the way you are feeling!” At the time I was burning the candle at both ends and feeling both frustrated and irritable. I didn’t think some on our team were working hard enough so I determined to work harder still to inspire them. It didn’t seem to make any difference for them but it made me miserable. Living and working within limits is not a burden but a blessing.

After our hyper active daughter-in-law had a heart attack, Nicole heard from God: “Nicole, stop, don’t make unimportant things important!” By God’s design we are all to live within limits. Only God can be everywhere and do everything. Even the most energetic of us need to respect the rhythms of rest and relationships that are good for our soul. So, here are a few questions for us all to ponder in this new season:
  • What burdens should we let go of that were never ours to carry to begin with ?
  • What activities that have concerned and even consumed us in the past may really be unnecessary, both now and in the future?
  • What relationships have been “bad company” for us that we need to avoid or “good company” that we need to pursue?
  • What are the bad or draining habits that need to be dropped and what are the good and enriching habits that now need to be developed?
Let’s not waste this season of sheltering in place - it will be a season like no other.

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