Keep Chalking the Line
Lynn Cowell

"And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" Genesis 2:16 -17 (NIV)

When it came to football, my mother-in-law gave me great advice, "You can either get mad or learn to love it too." I took the latter part of her advice. So, along with 90 million other Americans, I was recently glued to my TV watching the Super Bowl. It reminded me of several years ago when my husband and I had the opportunity to be one of the screaming fans attending the Super Bowl.

Knowing this was once-in-a-lifetime, we arrived at the stadium hours before the game to watch preparations. We took in everything, including the caretakers pushing their carts up and down, carefully chalking in the boundary lines.

At any football game, depending on the weather, these lines might be facing a tough day. Rain, snow, cleats, smashed bodies might beat against them for hours. At the end of the game, they are no longer white, straight and clean. In some places, they may have been completely rubbed away. But when game time rolls around again, the caretakers pull out their carts and chalk the lines back in.

Often, as a parent of two teens and a pre-teen, I grow weary of "chalking in the lines." Peer pressure, TV, music, and FaceBook all beat against the boundary lines of safety and obedience I have helped create for them. I am prone to think to myself as my children leave the house with keys in hand, "I don't have to remind them to not blare the music. They know. I've told them before." Or, "It isn't necessary to tell them not to have the opposite sex in the house when you are gone. You have told them that many times." But then I remember that the world is constantly repeating its opinion on what is fun, acceptable, and okay. So I must chalk in the lines by reminding them of the boundaries the Lord has called me to put in their life.

The Lord is our example of setting boundaries with those we love. In the Garden of Eden, He made it clear to His children that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He set the boundary. It was then up to Adam and Eve to obey.

Just recently, I had to chalk the lines again. My son asked me if he could attend an event, to which my answer had to be "no." With tear-filled eyes, I explained why. Needless to say, he was not happy! But then I remembered another conversation we had several months ago when he said, "Mom, thanks for my curfew. It has kept me out of trouble many times." That was evidence enough for me that when we set the boundaries, with love, they know we care deeply about them. When the day has been long, when you are tired, trying to cook, run a load of laundry and figure out what time you need to leave for the next rehearsal, my hope is that you will not grow weary in "chalking in your lines." I pray that one day soon, your child will thank you, too.

Dear Lord, help me. Sometimes as a parent, I get tired: tired of going against the world that seems to have no boundaries. In Your strength, help me to lovingly show my child the way. Soften their heart to accept and obey. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Boundaries: When to Say Yes & How to Say No by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

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Application Steps:
Write a list of boundaries for your family and your home. During natural conversations (in the car, during breakfast) casually bring these up a little at a time, making sure your child knows what your boundaries are.

Are there any areas in your own life where you have overstepped God's boundaries?

Do you discuss boundaries with your child at times when it won't turn into a heated argument?

Power Verses:
2 Thessalonians 3:13, "And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right." (NIV)

Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is very good and helpful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh...(sigh)..yes, the boundaries...met with the rolling of the eyes and the look that says "how many times are you going to tell me this?"

Lord, I lift up a prayer for those of us who are on "burn out"....we have talked, prayed (argued :( ), cried prayed some more and at times felt like giving up. Strengthen us, LORD, not to give up...but to be faithful...not by our strength nor our power, or wisdom, but by Yours! Renew us, refresh us! Amen!

Blogger Laura said...

I struggle constantly with the feeling like I am being a nag when I have to repeat for the 999th time not to do something. But isn't that just part of parenting? God does the same thing for me.... it is called my conscience. He wrote His laws upon our hearts. I just hope when all is said and done I have listened to my Heavenly Father as well as I would like my children to listen to me.

Thank you,

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