Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Line of Demarcation

by Tim Howard

Being brought up in a city of 6,000 people is much different than a city of 3,000,000. The differences are numerous – to say the least!

There’s a saying in small towns that goes like this: “When you don’t know what you’re doing it’s okay – because somebody else does!”

In a small city everybody seems to know everybody and every little thing that’s happening. In a big city you hardly see your neighbors, let alone know them personally.

In a small town you may be a hero at something specific but in a larger setting you’re simply a small fish in a big pond.

You can imagine my shock when I was uprooted from a city in Maine with a population of 5 thousand people to the large metropolis of Los Angeles.

My first inclination was to return! I didn’t feel the comfortableness of the past or the closeness of my friends. I felt like a fish out of water and wondered if I could make it.

I had reached that invisible line of demarcation and now I had to decide. Would I return to the comfort of the past and things familiar to my youth or embrace the new environment and learn to adapt?  

Returning to the familiar is very tempting when you feel like a fish out of water, but it inevitably retards the growth process and adventures that lie ahead.  

In a description of Paul’s life, the Apostle tells us that he made a decision to forge forward and not go backward. Regardless of the difficulties that were in his future he refused to focus or be obsessed with the past.

In order to embrace the new and move into the future he had to be willing to stretch and so do we. You must not allow your feeling to direct your steps. If you never move further than your frame of reference – If you never stretch beyond your comfort zone you will not give birth to anything new.

Paul found himself in some unpleasant situations and locations that were very unappealing.  He was imprisoned on several occasions – not for doing wrong but for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.  He didn’t allow his location or circumstances, however, to determine his attitude or outlook on life.  

In fact: Paul wrote some of the most encouraging books in the Bible from prison. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, to name a few.

In Philippians 4:11, we read these words: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."  With God’s help Paul was able to bloom wherever he was planted – and so can you!

When you are uprooted from a job; a house you have lived in for many years; a city you loved or a select group of friends – and find yourself transplanted into a new environment. Make these decisions:

1.   Don’t yield to the temptation to return. Decide to move ahead.

2.   Decide to stretch and grow. It will be good for you.

3.   Decide to bloom where you are planted. Yes, yesterday was good but tomorrow can be great.

4.   Decide to include God. He will direct your steps.

When you reach your invisible line of demarcation – Keep moving on…

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