As a youngster, my family moved all over Texas. As large as the state is, I can tell you a bit about much of the landscape and climate, from Odessa to Austin, and from Dallas to Houston. If you were keen on traveling and seeing new places, a two-week tryst across the former republic would do much to satiate your wandering eyes. My memories are filled with a smorgasbord of interesting people. What I couldn’t tell you, though, is anything about the deeper things that made my friends tick. I have no description to offer of the landscape of their lives. I never took the time to find out how to relate to them in a way that would allow them the freedom to share their true feelings with me. I knew, after all, we would soon be moving again. I determined the closer you get the further you fall, so many years ago.
Borders and limits are part of the design within each of us. If you aren’t constructing limits that lead to God, you will find a relative counterfeit. Mine was addictions that led me away from reality. I found solace in my stupor. In that place, my parents couldn’t move me away from familiar places and people. In my fantasy, I could be as well adjusted and stable as so many of my friends seemed to be. So what if I needed an external influence to occupy the same place they seemed to? The remnants of those mindsets still exist in my psyche today. If I’m not very careful, I will wander into all manner of more “acceptable” distractions as a grown man.
One day, I figured out that God was going to continue to invade my space with His mercy no matter how fast I tried to escape. When I realized the limitless love of Jesus and began to walk out the changes He had for me, I started to replace bad thinking patterns with constructive ones. He helped me see that those closest to me were interested in my good, not my destruction. When I used to walk in a room, I would try to cope with the “fact” that someone in the room had probably been conspiring to destroy, embarrass, or use me. I learned the truth though; I wasn’t even on their mind. They spent their time thinking of their own needs, not plans to derail mine.
These may be simple truths you have had a grip on for many years. You may have been raised in a most healthy and grounded home with “Leave It To Beaver” friends and family to help you with the dilemmas of ingrown toenails and chronic acne. You have your own mountains to climb on your way to God’s purpose for you. You must take the small and decisive steps that propel you forward. Falling forward is forward still. Getting up again and again and again, knowing He will show Himself strong in your weakness is the way of change in His plan for you.
I moved around a lot as a kid. God wants to use me to speak into the lives of others that had a similar past and have struggled to trust those around them. That’s a real part of what is “in my hand” or better yet, “my arsenal” of arrows, once intended for my destruction. But now they are being developed in the Refiner’s fire for such a time as this. Can you identify the ammunition you carry with you everywhere you go? Which of them still needs to be perfected in the relationships around you? What plans are you developing that will help you identify the unknown keys to your success in the battles ahead?