Thursday, March 2, 2017

Centered AND Bordered

We were huge fans of putting together jigsaw puzzles. It started when the kids were little with those easy-to-do wooden puzzles. Putting a jigsaw puzzle together at Christmas was one of our family traditions. The box top would be in a prominent place where ALL EYES could see it, and, strategically, we'd get the border done first. Often, the search to find a certain piece would get tedious, so we’d have to walk away from it, refresh, and come back with a whole new perspective. When we did that, we'd find that piece that ALL eyes couldn’t see before. It can be quite "puzzling" to complete a puzzle.

In many posts, I've shared about making God the CENTER of our lives, then whatever happens – the ups and downs, the frustrations or the celebrations, the highs and lows, with Him as Center, we will always make it through life's variables.

When God is not only our CENTER, but like in puzzles, He is also our BORDER, then we’ll living as His fully devoted followers, making daily decisions from His vantage point. When He is our border, He holds our lives together and we won’t cross the boundaries that would cause a break in our relationship with Him. I never considered being unfaithful to my husband because I loved him too much and never wanted to damage the sweetness of our relationship. I just wouldn’t, not just because I loved him so much, but also because we had borders (vows & promises) before God that we made to each other on our wedding day. They were clear borders: “I take you as my lawfully wedding husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” The same is true for my relationship with God. Matthew 22:37 says “Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' That much love is a clear border for when we're weak and are tempted to do anything that displeases Him. That border should be so clear that if we carelessly cross it, we'll be quick to ask for forgiveness because we want to right the wrong we made.

When He is our border, and the more intent we are to please Him, the more the picture of who He wants us to become and the purpose and destiny He has for us because evident, just like the total picture emerges when we work puzzles.

At the beginning of this season of Lent, we have the opportunity to welcome this time of pondering, meditating, and seeking God for a clean slate and being transformed to who God desires us to be. When we received ashes on our foreheads yesterday in the form of the cross, we were saying “I welcome transformation. I welcome You, Lord, to cleanse and purify me as I approach Good Friday when your Son paid the ultimate price for the sins I’ve committed. I welcome Resurrection Sunday when I rose with Him into the abundant life He promised to give me as I walk faithfully with Him.

Yes, as with the jigsaw puzzle, life can present "puzzling" challenges and "puzzling" situations, but when we submit to His desires for us to be renewed and transformed, our Master Creator steps in and gives us His wisdom for handling the challenges and He'll be sure to help us finish OUR "life" puzzle with all pieces intact -- and it will be JUST as He planned it to be!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2