Rediscover Your Boundaries
Every Christian is called to a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Once we have come to Christ, then we are all called to live on mission with Him. There are not some who are called and some who are not. We are all called.
Ephesians 2:8-10: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
If you are walking in a relationship with God you are called. That means the mom who cringes as her kids plea to watch Frozen one more time is called. The janitor in the steel factory is called. The high school student fretting over what to tweet next is called. The grandfather singing his oldies is called. No matter what season you are in, if you have breath and have proclaimed Jesus as Lord then you are called to make an impact on this earth for Christ’s glory. People called into full-time ministry are not the only ones called to advance God’s Kingdom. Just in case it hasn’t been too clear…YOU ARE CALLED.
However we are not called to self-reliance. We are a body of believers and we each have been gifted to function in a specific role within the Church, not to do everything on our own.
Elijah was drained in part because he had failed to raise a team. He had taken on too much responsibility and he had not delegated. He had a solo, maverick, one-man-against-the-world syndrome. God had indeed called him to lead a spiritual counter resistance. He had chosen him to stand firm in the face of political, religious, and military opposition. But He had not chosen him to do it alone. God did not expect Elijah to take everything on himself.
What is currently on your plate of responsibility? If you were to think carefully through each task which one energizes you with faith-filled excitement? Which one drains you?
Read 1 Kings 19:15-16, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Like many of us, Elijah had assumed responsibilities that God had never called him to handle. It took three leaders to successfully manage the job Elijah was trying to accomplish by himself. Elijah exited the cave with clear instructions to delegate responsibility for the political leadership of Syria (Aram) to Hazael and the political leadership of Israel to Nimshi. He was also told to delegate authority to a young leader named Elisha, who would succeed him in the spiritual leadership of Israel.
- Elijah had forgotten that he had fellow co-laborers to lean on, God had to remind him of Hazael and Nimshi. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Who are the people in your life you can share your load with?
- Elijah ended up in the cave of self-pity and isolation in part because he had taken on more than God had given him. Is taking on more than God has called you to a struggle for you?
- Knowing what we are not called to do is just as important as knowing what we are called to do. Regardless if you have a clear calling to a specific area of ministry, do you know what you are NOT called to do?
- How has God specifically wired or gifted you within the Body? How can knowing this keep you from burning out currently or in the future?
Purpose: To learn the areas that are overloading you and discover the boundaries of your call. Take a blank sheet of paper and list your various responsibilities. Next put a percentage next to each responsibility that describes the amount of energy it is taking from you. Translate those percentages into a simple pie chart so you can visually see the results. Then answer the two questions below.
- Are the responsibilities that are taking most of your energy areas that you feel God has called you to? They may be challenging, but do they give you a sense of purpose?
- From the responsibilities you have listed is there one you can delegate or let go of?
Read 2 Chronicles 14:6-13, 2 Chronicles 16:7-12
Gaining clarity about our call requires understanding what we are called to do and not called to do. But it also involves understanding how we are to fulfill our call. The image of a self-reliant, independent maverick who can pull himself up by his own bootstraps is applauded in our culture. From God’s perspective, however, it is the weak and the broken who have learned to rely on God who are the real heroes. Self-reliance is a subtle cancer of the soul that slowly replaces our dependence on God with our dependence on our own ability and resources. Unlike other temptations, the more experience we gain and the more successful we become, the more lethal the pull of self-reliance.
- What do you notice in the life of King Asa when he first began his reign as king? What was his relationship with God like at the end of his life?
- How did King Asa respond to Hanani’s rebuke? How do you respond when people correct you?
- Would you describe your heart as “completely yielded” to Christ? What areas in your life can you rely more fully on Christ?
With which statement do you find yourself agreeing most:
- I have a hard time delegating authority or surrendering control. I think its more work to ask others for help.
- I have been burnt out in the past and have come to realize how important it is to only do what I was created to do.
- I have no idea what I am called to do or not to do, but I know I can’t do this walk of faith alone.
Releasing areas that God never called you to manage applies to everyone on a personal level. Many people try to control situations and even other people that they have no control over. Pray with one another as you surrender control over people or responsibilities that God has never asked you to carry and allow God to be Lord.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.