We mark “our” territories often. We want people to make sure they know their boundaries. We tell them their boundaries by telling them ours. We walk the perimeter while looking others in the eye and firmly saying, “This is mine. You can walk alongside me, but watch your step. Don’t cross this line.”
What territorial boundaries do you set in your life?
I’m not saying boundaries are a bad thing. I’m saying self-defined boundaries can be a bad thing. The only way we can know where to step, with whom to step, and when to step is to listen to God. He directs our steps. I don’t know about you, but I struggle enough with listening to and obeying him with my own steps. Trying to determine someone else’s is next to impossible. I cannot respond in obedience for anyone else.
My sister and I shared a room when we were young. It was a large room with two twin beds and one door. My bed was on the opposite side of the room from the door. After some disagreements, my sister determined we needed to split the room. She drew the imaginary line down the center of the room. The only issue was…she “owned” the door. Her creative solution? I was allowed to jump from the doorway to her bed and then to my side of the room. And she thought she was doing me a favor!
You might laugh, but we all draw ridiculous, unnecessary lines in our lives. God-directed boundaries in relationships and responsibilities are not only acceptable but also essential. Self-directed boundaries are not. When we take control – and even rationalize God would want whatever we’re choosing – we’re doing more harm than good. We’re seeking our own will more than God’s. Even when we have good ideas, if they’re not the best ideas God has for us, we’re not within his will.
Be aware of the people and situations around you throughout the day. Notice the peeing-on-tree phenomenon. How are you being territorial? How are others being territorial?
Is your focus on God or personal preferences?
The point of peeing on a tree is to keep others away. If your goal is keeping others away, peeing on trees is a good way to do it, but I’m certain God doesn’t intend for you to do life on your own. His way is better. It stinks a lot less.
LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)