Three years ago the company I work for decided to move its’ office. Without asking me. Further from my house. The traffic at 8 AM on I-10, in Houston, is excruciating (and at 9am this morning it was just as excruiating. Ugh.). Just going from my house to the first office nearly put me over the edge. Bubble wrap became a welcomed friend for the drive to work every morning. It was that, or road rage.
The thing was… there was an HOV lane. Sitting in traffic day after day, watching others enjoy its “goodness”, I started dreaming of driving on that lane. I would watch countless people weave back and forth on the lane. Single drivers. Not getting caught. I judged them. How could they? They should know better! Often I would shout (as if they could hear me), “You need to go back to kindergarten so you can learn to wait in a line!” When one of them tried to weave back into the main lanes, I was determined they would not get in front of me. I would have my own justice. Some even got “the eye”. You know, the “stink eye”. The one that can move children to do things without a single word. Yep, that’s the one.
Then it happened…it all started with a single thought…that grew. Maybe I could weave in and out and get to work faster. All these people in the regular lanes are just suckers. Who sits in a really long line when there is obviously an alternative? I even seriously considered purchasing a dummy to put in my backseat so I could drive on it “legally”. (And yes, I use that term lightly.) I spent days thinking about the hair color, the outfit the dummy would wear, accessories, and even the age. I settled on an infant… in a car seat… with a blanket over it like I used to do with my kids while they slept. I even decided I would have a CD of a baby crying playing so when the policeman looked in he would not only see the infant carrier, but he/she would HEAR my “baby” crying. (Don’t judge. I had HOURS every morning to think about this stuff.) Until one morning, I was one of the ones weaving in and out on that lane. Once I did it the first time (and didn’t get caught), I couldn’t stop myself. The rush of potentially getting caught was not a good rush. It was a stress; an “OMGOSH I’m gonna get caught!” kind of rush. Every. Single. Time. The judgement I had for others came back to me. Every time I drove back into the regular lanes, I felt stares boring into my soul. My embarrassment and shame for breaking the law was just too much. Every morning I promised myself I would not do it and every morning I did. I felt trapped. Trapped in my own shame. Trapped by a decision that began with one single thought. I was “one of those people”. Ugh.
Until… magical white boundaries appeared one day. A boundary that wasn’t just a line that I could cross, but 4′ plastic markers placed about 6 feet apart. Instead of feeling frustrated, I was relieved. That boundary helped me stop a very bad habit of breaking the law. I felt safe. And still do.
It’s funny how boundaries work that way.
Recently, God set a boundary for me. At the time, it was difficult to accept. Very difficult. In fact, I fought it for awhile and shed lots of tears. I kept thinking I could just go back and forth and be OK. But God said no. More than once. He can be quite persistent.
Once I accepted the boundary, though, I felt free…and safe. I also realized it was set to protect me. Not to keep me from something good, as I once thought.
There are so many things in life that happen that way. A thought takes root. And before we know it, we are doing something we never thought we’d do… or say.
So thankful to have a Father that loves me enough to discipline me. It does hurt at the time, but brings healing and freedom after. Freedom that sometimes I didn’t even know I needed.
Hebrews 12:10/The Message (MSG)
4-11 Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.