Tony, my husband, and I used to have a dog called Sugar—a faithful and loyal companion, though of dubious parentage and limited intelligence. Sugar had one major character flaw. She loved to wander. We live in a house with a fenced yard and an electric gate across the driveway. Sugar used to hide, lying in wait until a car went through the gate. Then, just as the gate was closing the final few inches, she would make her bid for freedom. She would return several hours later, exhausted but very happy.
For various reasons, not the least of which we live on a busy road, we decided to put a stop to her adventures, so we installed an invisible fence across the driveway. When a dog approaches too close to an invisible fence, a little battery on their collar gives them a small jolt of electricity. They soon learn their boundaries.
After a couple of, shall we say, shocking experiences, Sugar learned to stay within the confines of our yard. In fact, long after the battery in her collar had died, Sugar would sit, wistfully gazing at the liberty that lay on the other side of an open gate without making any attempt to escape. She had become conditioned to her limitations.
As women in the church, we, too, have been conditioned to live within boundaries. We have learned to live with limitations in the church. Even when we have the freedom–for example to lead, to teach or to take a strategic role, our previous experience of wha a woman was “allowed” to do can prevent us moving into all the freedom God has for us.
Have you found ways to move beyond your boundaries?
Photo credit: Matt’s Flicks (Creative Commons)