How Living Borderless Kicks my Butt
I am sitting on the edge of the water, watching the wind push it inward to the shore, and I’m contemplating the cycle of a wave’s life. I see the birthing way out there as the ocean rises, swelling, swaying. The rolling water grows and stacks up on top of itself, maturing. It peaks and then crashes, roaring loud and white-capping unapologetically as it moves in. Then, as if in a sudden mood shift, it shrinks rapidly upon its arrival, frantically dissolving before my eyes here at my feet. Exemplifying the many phases of beauty.
I am lost in wonder at how gorgeous this place is, mesmerized by the majesty of it all - the sand, the sea, the sounds of the waves coming in with their unbreaking rhythm.
And I wonder… Why have I never come here before? This has to be the closest thing to paradise on the planet. In fact, why don’t we just come live here?
And then I remember why it’s not as simple as just packing a U-HUAL and driving over - we looked up the local real estate on the third day. Three hundred thousand. That’s how many more individual dollars it would cost to buy an identical house here on the water than what it cost us to buy our house back home a few years ago. We found a house listed with a local agent that is the same age and size as our little white trimmed, tucked away cottage - and still it was six times the price of ours.
Apparently real estate agents know the therapeutic effect that the sea can have on a soul.
Maybe one day though. Because something about this place sets me free like nothing I’ve ever felt before. My mama used to drive down to the beach near our home on days when she needed to rejuvenate, to revive herself from the pull and rush of life. And now I see why she loved it so much, needed it so much. And now I do too. Maybe it’s genetic.
What is it about the crashing of the waves that slows down the crashing of a life?
I feel small here next to this immeasurable emerald expanse.
And maybe that's why an all-knowing Father created the oceans in the first place - to remind me of the unfathomable greatness of Him. And that no matter how much I think I know Him, the depths of His love go deeper still.
The horizon stretches out here in front of me, going on forever, infinite. The vastness here soothes me calm, melts away the tightness in my chest, opens me up to just… be. This flat, endless horizon line is smoothing out the rocky terrain in me, the places where I am jagged and sharp. The salt water corrodes last year’s collection of built-up tension in me and I feel my body soften, unfurling these white knuckles.
Living borderless is easy when I’m here. Here, where I can breathe deep the carefree air as it announces it’s own opinion upon intake - pre-flavored with salt.
Here where I can watch the ocean expand and contract, it breathing too. Where I am all salty and sun kissed at the end of the day, evidence of soaking in all the adventures.
Living borderless isn’t a conscious choice on days like today, days of relaxation and play. It comes without effort on these days.
If only I could bottle this feeling, this way of being, and bring it back home with me to sip on on the days when I hesitate, reluctant to step forward with boldness. I know how the world can push back hard those who are brave enough to stand out. I know because I have been at the bottom, lying layers deep in defeat.
I know what it is to raise my voice, to stand for something, and then to be swiftly body slammed with a polite smile and political correctness by those who disagree.
But even more than that, I know that while getting knocked down happens to all of us, it’s the staying down that is a choice - our choice - my choice.
And so I rise.
It takes me less time now, usually. But there have been some pits that have taken me years to crawl out of, to heal from.
But this living borderless inside me won’t quit. Even when I know that the pushback is going to be tough, even when I know the odds are stacked, even when I haven’t drawn out a map yet to get where I am setting off to, I just. can’t. stop.
Because it isn't truly propelled by me. No matter how the heat zaps me, no matter what gullies I had to go through, regardless of the rivers I had to cross and the deserts I had to walk, and especially when I am no enough, at the end of the day He always is. It is only in His strength that I can carry on, that I can be used, that I can make progress in accomplishing His purposes.
As I sit here mulling over all of this, I remember what I brought with me in my bag today. I rummage through sunscreen bottles, ziplock bags of collected seashells, and sandy beach towels until I find the treasures I am searching for. I pull out my notepad, uncap my pen and then pause to smile.
Is there anything more inviting than a fresh sheet of paper to line out a head full of thoughts? Reminds me of the holiday season and the therapeutic leveling out of a lump of dough, perfecting a pie crust. The blankness of it silently ushers me in, offers a place for me to pour out what is tumbling around in my head.
So I put pen to paper, and the head-scramble begins to scatter the surface, peppering it with my attempts to map out what living borderless is, what it means. Is there even a way to combine letters and words that will accurately bring to life the fire inside, ignited and fueled by the One who fuels the universe itself?
After a while, I think I have it. And I know I’m not the only one. All of us who are living borderless, loving borderless - as Christ did - we know the fear that comes before the jumping in, the cuts and scrapes from climbing out of the pit, the ridiculous insufficiency that we offer on our own. But we know, too, how He his love is shown largely where ours is lacking, how He is glorified where we are unqualified. And how He doesn't call the fearless, but the faithful.
After all this musing I finally begin to write. I jot down what I have learned since last year when I asked Him to do just exactly what the lyrics laid out in that favored song of mine. I'd asked it, committed to it, but really, He had been planning it all along. As soon as I begged the question, it was like I heard Him confirm, as if it was simply for my own realization that the question even came to me. As it I would need a starting point to look back on and see the beginning of a new journey, a new understanding.
From the truest place within me I'd asked Him for that pleading, needing request. Please Lord, take me deeper than my feet had ever wandered, that my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders and we walk upon the water, wherever you would call me...
I remember this exact moment, a full year behind me now. And I write. Finally, I have this:
Living borderless is more than I know yet, but this is what I have figured out so far.
-It is a fire burning within, undeniable, inextinguishable, fueled by the Fire Fueler Himself.
-It’s mostly beautiful, sometimes ugly, and can even be both at once.
-It’s seeing with the heart, not the eyes.
-Living borderless is shaking societal standards - not for the sake of rebelling, but for the unleashing of love. It’s uncovering unknown strengths within ourselves - not for my glory and fame, but to ignite and impact the world for His glory and fame.
-It is being rooted and grounded in the meaning of life, while being flexible in the approach we take to achieve its purpose.
-Living borderless is crushing the confines we have placed on our thought processes, believing in our abilities to be the hands and feet.
-It's doing justice (or whatever the world would call crazy) when others would snicker behind their hands.
-It is knowing that love, grace, mercy and truth always trump political correctness and societal standards.
-It unites a group of people around the world, intentional wanderers, who spend a lifetime searching and seeking for ways to abolish cultural boundaries so that we can empower the people on this planet and have an eternal impact on the lives of those we love. And we love them because He loves them.
I hash all these definitions out on paper, wonder if my pen will run out of ink soon, and then sigh heavily.
Because still, I’m human.
And there never fails to be a moment between each rising and setting of the sun that I shrink back from standing tall. I am not exempt from the intimidation of seemingly infallible giants in my life. So when the moment presents itself and I must decide whether or not to stand brave and choose borderless, I often ask myself this: Will the victory be worth the struggle? And even if it doesn't result in what I would perceive as a victory, will the price be worth the pain?
Living borderless is rarely ever convenient, but isn't that the way of the Lord? Isn't that what sacrificial love is all about? But when there is a hilltop that needs to be stood on and battled through, is it always worth it.
There's those daily battles (like getting out of bed and not eating an entire bucket of ice cream for supper - in front of my kids at least) and then there's those memorable ones. Like when I stood my ground and tried for a home birth with my babies, when I began questioning the cultural norms of church and it’s definition of community, and when I sometimes still have to simply say no to the crazy-busy-over-planned week and just stay home to hibernate with my husband and kids. Going against the expectations of the ever-opinionated society in which we live has always been worth it.
So yah, living borderless is a tough choice some days, one I don't want to make. And yah, sometimes I’d rather bury my head in the sand, quite literally, than to suit up and get on the field.
But those days when I choose to do living, borderless, they are the ones I often end up looking back on and smiling about - because if it is fueled by the fire He ignites in my heart, it is always. worth. the. struggle. He is always enough.
And sitting here now, He reminds me gently of the first line of that song - the song that became my relentless, pleading prayer. The very first thing is this, "You call me out upon the water, the great unknown, where feet may fail."
All this time, I have thought that I was seeking this deeper wandering with Him, but in reality, it is He who call me here. This was His idea. And I know He'll see it through to fruition, for He is ever faithful.