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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Did I just paint myself into another corner?

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."  (Harriet Beecher Stowe)  There is many a tight place in this world, isn't there?  Where I might find myself "confined" in a tight space, you might not - it all relevant to the individual in that particular predicament.  It is often more of what we do, who we turn to, and how we choose to manage those tight spaces which will determine just how easily we are going to be "released" from them!

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my deliverance, my citadel high on the hill; I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 VOICE)


Once in a while I like to turn to these shows which highlight those who have chosen to "live off the grid" in remote parts of Alaska.  I used to live in Anchorage, so I am always fascinated when I see these guys and gals making a way of life in the rain forests of Southeast Alaska, or in the wind-whipped and ice-glazed regions of some of the most isolated of islands in the northern regions.  It is not only isolated "freedom", it is a tough existence!  The most amazing part of how they live is their ingenuity with the use of things others might no longer make use of, living "off the land", and learning ways to heal when broken because no doctor is going to be making a house call to their little home.  

There are probably a whole lot more of us who have chosen to "live off the grid" without actually moving into the Alaskan wilderness, though.  It isn't that we move to the woods at all, we simply get backed into some corner in life and we choose to stay there, thinking we will must find a way to "make it" there.  The moment we choose to live by our own rules, or to think we can "make it on our own", is the moment we choose to "step off the grid" in life. We shouldn't be surprised when we find ourselves having to be "creative" in how it is we will address life's issues that arise when we choose to isolate ourselves from others around us, though.  It just don't lend itself to safe-living.

I know another man or woman is not my deliverance - only God can truly be my deliverer - but he didn't make me to live alone, isolated, backed into some corner somewhere either. He made us each to be related, connected, and "insulated".  Isolation leaves us standing rather exposed. Insulated leaves us surrounded by those who act as a covering in our lives to help us get through the tough places which might otherwise leave us pretty exposed to injury. While we aren't reliant upon anyone other than God to be our deliverer, we are reliant upon the connection of relationship for it is at the core of how God purposed us to live.

In life, we all have those moments when things just seem to be going against us, as though we were swimming against a strong current.  I have experienced the strength of some pretty nasty currents in lakes and rivers which made me swim with all the power my body could muster.  There were a couple of times when I wondered if I'd ever break free of the hold that current seemed to have on me.  When we are alone in the current, we don't have anyone to throw us a lifeline should we want to give up or find it too hard for us to escape on our own. Yes, we have God, but never forget this - we need to have each other's backs!  

When you are standing on the shore and you can see someone getting a little too close to the churning current which could take them under pretty quickly, you shout a warning, don't you?  They don't see the "tight space" they are getting themselves into - but you can - simply because you have a different perspective than they do.  We often glean the greatest insight into our "tight spaces" when we are able to see it from the perspective of another who is observing it from a different vantage point.  As my pastor says, "The eye cannot see the eye." In other words, I can see the end of my nose, but I cannot see the window to my soul (the eye). 

If I need perspective of the "tight space" I find myself in, I turn first to God who has the best vantage point of anyone, but I don't exclude what others he has placed in my life see either. Their perspective is given to me for a purpose - because God saw fit to bring these individuals into my life to help me see what I cannot see on my own.  Thank goodness we don't walk into or out of tight spaces alone - we have each other!  Just sayin!