The Fence.

Fenced in.

The idea of being fenced in gives me one of two feelings. If I see danger on the other side, being fenced in makes me feel safe. If I see excitement on the other side, being fenced in makes me feel stuck.

I used to always see God’s will as a fenced in area. God’s will was within walking distance, with all the corners of the fence in viewing sight from where I stood. I would pray, “God, what is your will for my life?” I wanted him to set clear parameters. I wanted a “yes zone” and a “no zone.”

Isn’t that how so many people talk about God’s will? As if God’s will is a legalistic trap, driving us into performance-based religion where we either get it right or wrong with every decision we make. If we get it right, life will run smoothly. If we get it wrong, prepare to suffer in some way.

Our crutch becomes living a legalistic life because that way we have parameters that make up our minds for us. We believe in freedom, but we don’t know how to choose – so we get scared into a fenced in area God never built for us. A legalistic life, with safe parameters, that makes us good Christians who make the right choices. God’s will turns into our manufactured safe place where we are exempt from pain, or a rigid set of rules we follow that can push us as close to perfection (or at least what we think is perfection) as possible. Somehow THEN we have worth. Somehow THEN we are good enough.

What if we removed our small fenced in areas, and saw God’s will as a wide open field instead? A place where we can run for miles if we wanted, and still not spot the fence’s perimeter.

When I come to a place where a decision needs to be made, I very rarely get a clear answer from the Lord of what I should do. My decision of where to go to college, what job offer to take, who to date – they have all been big decisions that had two completely different, but desirable outcomes.

We have made God’s will a thing we either obtain or reject, instead of making it a way of life.

We make decisions out of fear instead of purpose.

That’s why sometimes it’s easier to pray for clear parameters instead of walking out life in relationship with him. Making choices is difficult. We want to take the responsibility off of us. The essence of making a choice is sacrificing one thing to venture into unknown territory, hoping to gain something better. What if it isn’t better, we think.

But I think God uses choices to teach us that His will is more about trusting him, honoring him, and moving closer to him than about being right or wrong.

Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” {Ephesians 5:17}

So, let’s put aside the cliché cop-out “if it’s God’s will” response we have rehearsed with others, and turn to Scripture to understand what God’s will is.

Where to start reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Hebrews 13:20-21, John 6:38-40, Ephesians 5:1-21, 1 Peter 2:15.

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