Written By: Alexandria Brown
As I sit down to write an article on boundaries I cannot help but laugh. Me...writing about boundaries. I am the last person who should be writing an article about this. But the truth is I do have something to say.
I have written before about my house being coined “The Napping House”. A name which came about because of intentionality on mine and my families part to create an atmosphere of peace in our home.
We’ve dedicated every house we have lived in and thank God for it by committing to use it for ministry in whatever way He asks. We believe that we are blessed to be a blessing and to us that means that we use our house for ministry when needed. Please don’t misunderstand me - that does not mean that we have people in and out living and staying with us - our first ministry, besides to God, is to our family. And let me tell you, we have a BIG family. Whether by blood or chosen, we regularly have people over to our house. Our kids are growing and they constantly have friends over. There are always people around. And where there are people there’s ALWAYS an opportunity for ministry.
Our intention is for our house to be a place of peace, a place that when people walk in through the door, no matter what they are going through, whether they have had their best day or their worst, they can take a breath and just be. We strive to create an atmosphere of safety, of comfort, and, I will say it again, peace. We long for our home to be a place where people can let their guard down and just be. Some people recognize this and embrace it and others just kinda fall into it. It has become so normal for us to live in a constant state of go go go, that we never just stop and be.
Be still and know…
Often times we are such busy little bees that when we finally do come to a place of peace, we tend to relax, rest…nap no matter what is going on around us. Remember Jesus napping in the middle of a storm? It is not unusual for us to have a gathering with family or church or friends only for us to walk into a room in our house (usually the living room) and find someone crashed out on the couches or floor (we have a really comfortable floor LOL) hence the napping house was coined.
Now even though I love to share the purpose and plan and even testimony behind “The Napping House” that is not what this article is about…
At this season in my families life, things have been crazy for the past few months. Some for the better, some not so much. Like so many other people lives right now, it kind of felt as if we were living the story line of some terrible LifeTime television show. With glimmers of goodness and hope and shadows of pain and doubt.
Over those months we lost sight of carrying an atmosphere of peace in our home for us and for our people. We would come home and though we were glad to be home there was no sigh of relief dumping the heavy load at the door.
We became restless. Agitated. Exhausted.
It was a never-ending cycle of work, family matters, ministry…and on and on and on. We would answer calls all night long and problem solve and assess late into the night. We would rehash and plan and rehash again. We would be busy with sports and volunteering and being there for family all while maintaining and growing our businesses and ministries. We were draining faster than we were refueling.
It took a lot longer than I would like to admit to realize that we allowed the very thing we vowed to do to be put on the back burner. And the new forerunner had become the things that we were supposed to guard ourselves and our home from - the storms of life.
One day, instead of going into the office for work, I stayed and worked from home. Sitting at the kitchen table it hit me…where did our peace go?
Yes, we were accomplishing great things and dealing with terrible struggles and there was now a light at the end of a very long tunnel, AND where is our peace?
Over the last few years our peace, the peace that Jesus gifted us, had become such a normal in our lives, it wasn’t anything that we had to strive for or work at. It was a gift and something that we readily recognized and accepted. It had become a sort of boundary in our lives.
If something came up that would try to rob us of our peace we would mentally say, “Nope, my peace is not yours to take. My peace is mine to give.” Not having peace in the chaos was not an option for us. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t face storms. Rather that our peace was not a result or by-product, it was our state of living.
I remember sitting at the dinning room table that day and saying I crossed a boundary line in my life, but where?
Am I working too hard? Am I doing too much? Did I go too far?
To which I felt my spirit answer, ‘That’s not it.’
And then it hit me, my peace. I was no longer walking in and living out my peace.
I was so caught up in do, do, do that I was no longer taking time to just be.
It wasn’t a matter of not having time, I didn’t even need to make the time. My only part was to once again receive. Jesus said "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." (John 14:27)
Have you ever seen the meme that says:
Daniel slept in a lions den
Peter slept in a prison
Jesus slept in a storm
No matter your circumstance, you can take a nap.
That always makes me laugh and recognize that true peace is not determined or affected by outside circumstances.
As I began reflect and recognize that I allowed myself to cross that boundary that I had set in my life, I started to feel guilty and ashamed. Guilty for all of my people who came into my home seeking that peace, seeking that rest that had previously been there only to find it nowhere to be found. Fragments left here and there. My people, my family leaving just as heavy as when they came through the door.
How easy it was for those brief moments for me to turn my back on the peace that I had just realized was missing. Truthfully, that is not mine to carry. Jesus is not looking for perfection, He is looking for us. He makes us perfect.
So in those next few moments I stepped away from my computer and asked for forgiveness for spoiling the gift that Jesus gave me. My peace, Jesus’ peace is a gift that I reclaim. It is a boundary that I re-establish in my life and in my home. No one can’t take my gift of peace, and I, just like Jesus, freely give it to those around me.
Sis, accept Jesus' gift of peace today. Whatever that looks like in your life in this season. Take the moment…receive it, open it. And maybe, just maybe…take a nap.
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