Sometimes I run around in circles, like a chicken with its head cut off, accomplishing nothing more than working myself into a dither and maybe burning a few calories. But how often do I pace my “boundaries”, looking for a way to get to that “greener grass”?
We have a hen who tasted the forbidden fruit of our neighbors’ front yard yesterday. She has spent her entire morning pacing the fence line. ALL MORNING. The poor silly chicken can’t remember how on earth she broke free yesterday, but she is desperate to find the way out again. Out. Out of her safe zone, her boundaries. Away. Away from her home, her food, her flock, her shelter, her (somewhat) protective border collie friend.
The rest of the flock is enjoying the plethora of bugs and worms, drummed up by the spring rain. But that stubborn hen is obsessed with whatever lies outside her boundaries. It must be better than what she has been given freely in her own yard. Her own life.
How often am I that hen? Instead of enjoying the blessings of my own life, “my own little corner in my own little chair”*, how often do I waste time mourning the loss of what I think should be included in my boundaries? Instead of being content with what God has heaped upon me, how often do I have a pity party about what I do NOT have? I fight a constant battle between the new heart created in me when I believed in Jesus and my old sin nature.
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” ~ Romans 7:19-25
Since I began writing this, that hen found the weak link in her boundary – a gap left by the fencing company at the rain gutter downspout – and broke free. We spotted her immediately, and she was quickly recaptured (after we entertained our neighbors for a few minutes, chasing a foul fowl). My husband then placed a piece of rebar and a decorative birdhouse in the gap. And look…
She has been testing that spot for weakness. And once again she is pacing along the fence. What persistence! She is going to waste her day worrying, wishing, agonizing. But aren’t we all a bit like that? Testing our limits, flirting with sin, allowing the “greener grass” to tempt us, worrying and wishing for something that isn’t meant for us?
That sad little hen doesn’t realize this, but should she continue to break out of her boundaries, death awaits her. We need to wake up and realize that God has placed us in our own life, with our own boundaries, for our safety. He has His best in mind for us. Truly. We need to relax, quit pushing, and be content in where we are and what we have been given. Like the rest of the flock.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. ‘Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.’ ” ~ Psalm 91
* from the song “In My Own Little Corner”, from Cinderella