Good Morning, Lovely!
Today’s post is some encouragement from Ashley Hales…Some words to encourage your pursuit of letting go of hustle and embracing the goodness of limits.
“They had curly ringlets and dressed up like Peter, High King of Narnia. Now they are off to middle school —this time in a new town and new state.
I worry about my kids. Transitions are so tender.
Will our calendar get too-full so we squeeze out surprise and delight? Will we make time for the meaningful things? Will this place be a place of flourishing? I wonder if my four children will learn to follow God’s good guardrails.
But I am so very limited to make transformation happen — but this, I’m finding, is a good thing.
I remember how the world came to be with boundary lines. Limits are built into the fabric of creation as part of God’s loving rule and care.
Limits are not a result of sin, strictures and straight-jackets to hold us down, but a part of God’s very good plan. Creation was given limits: to reproduce, to be subject to the changing of seasons.
Subject to time, change, and a cycle between fallow and flourishing. There were limits on celestial bodies: the sun was to rule the day and the moon the night.
Even the naming of the world, of light and dark, of seas and land, gave meaning to something that before had no meaning. Without the loving setting of limits on the natural world, our world would be without form and void.
Limits, given to the world by a loving God, are the conditions for life.
We think guardrails restrict our freedom. When freedom is freedom from constraints, we live in a world we control—yet we find ourselves caged by the things we chase.
With the start of a school year upon us, we choose hustle and hurry to prove we’re worthy and to prove we belong.
But Jesus shows us the better way.
Jesus shows us how our God-given limits always lead to love. No one expected the Messiah to die, to defeat the powers of death and hell through death, and no one expected the resurrection. And this changes everything.
Until Love Himself breaks in, we have no imagination for resurrection. We must be, as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “grasped by what we cannot grasp,” held by what we cannot hold. And when we, the limited ones, are grasped by the grace of the unlimited One, there we find surprise: the surprise of hope.
“My task is not to read the tea leaves to discern God’s handiwork but to remain within the guardrails He’s given. This is the invitation to hope.”
The resurrection brings the reality of future hope into our present, embodied lives. Jesus meets the despair of Mary and the dejection of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Hope also pulls up a chair and sits with them in their actual, ordinary lives—where they walk home or find a quiet spot to cry in the garden.
Our imaginations, like theirs, are stunted, limited to the ways and workings of God.
We need the surprising hope of resurrection to meet us right in our dishwashing and studying, in our fighting and our despair, in our walking and mourning.
We need Hope to meet us as we begin a new school year, as we release children into schools and activities, and ask that we all might find ourselves in the story of Jesus.
We need to be met right in the middle of our preening and posturing and regular overwork where we ignore the limits of our time, bodies, affections, and calling.
Resurrection is an invitation to a surprising hope.
I practice praying for surprise as the calendar squares get filled up this fall, longing to be met by a traveler who comes to bring “news from a country we have never yet visited,” a place we will know when we see it (C.S. Lewis). He is a man who dignifies the ordinary, pointing to signposts on the road to resurrection.
My task is not to read the tea leaves to discern God’s handiwork but to remain within the guardrails He’s given. This is the invitation to hope.
Our limits, too, are not strictures holding us back but doorways into intimacy with God. It is only as we acknowledge and embrace the goodness of our limits that we can embrace hope.
“It is only as we acknowledge and embrace the goodness of our limits that we can embrace hope.”
Those who control and cajole, who court approval and fame, who must keep performing to be loved, often remain mired in cynicism. Grace upends. Resurrection surprises. Beauty remakes us.
The resurrected Christ meets us in ordinary places in ordinary times through ordinary means. He calls our names like He called Mary’s. Jesus let Thomas stick his hand in His wounds and He walked and talked compassionately on the road to Emmaus.
He invites us to simply walk on the way with Him. He meets us in our dejected despair on the road. He meets us in our incredulity and stiff-arming, He meets us in our sadness, and He meets us in our waiting.
We are free to bring our limited selves to Jesus, knowing hope has the last word.
Let us practice limiting our cynicism and control, our contempt and the supposition that if we just knew more, we would be more.
We are free to bring our real, dejected, limited selves to Jesus. Like beloved children, we are empowered to hope even when the way is dark, knowing we have a good guide who has gone this way before.
“We are free to bring our limited selves to Jesus, knowing hope has the last word.”
Resurrection invites us to hope, not just for ourselves but for our work in the world. Our limits then, aren’t like limps holding us back but gifts of self-restraint to steward. Christ, the only man who was truly free, limited His freedom so that He could give it away in love.
We too, enrobed in that love, are invited to love God and love others—not despite our limits but through them.
As my children file out the door to school and as the calendar fills up this fall, I see them as valiant children of the king.
The king who knows them, loves them, calls them by name, and surprises them with hope.
So we are invited to tend to small things. We change the sheets, we do our work, we welcome children home from school, we bring a meal, we follow in the guardrails of faith.
Jesus, the man of hope, will meet us there.
This too is enough.”
Oh, how I love the beautiful souls that I have the pleasure of caring for in my work space. With the crazy of the world around us, what beautiful moments have been cultivated as I’ve used that labor room as a sanctuary for us both~ a place to be reminded that there is still new life and from the dead and broken and hurting all around us, beauty can still be discovered.
*Essential Oil Goodie of the Week: Cinnamon Bark This is one of my go-to products for immune health. I rub a drop inside my cheek every night before bed and it’s kept me healthy and it also taste delicious! Great in the diffuser as well.
Love on your people & keep in perspective your beautiful legacy in light of eternity.…
Love and Blessings,