Have you ever gone bowling and used the bumpers? When in use, they raise up and prevent the ball from going into the gutter. The ball will bounce off the and move back toward the center. It may do this multiple times down the lane. I have been thinking a lot about the bumpers or guardrails in my life.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a good friend about guiding our teenage children. She used the analogy of a guardrail to describe limits and boundaries we try to put in place to keep them safe. She noted that similarly, God puts them in place for all of us.
Countless times in my life, I have bumped into the rails and been nudged back on the road. I’d make poor choices. I’d distance myself from others. I’d push the limits. Why didn’t I crash? Why didn’t I go careening into the ditch? Why, because unbeknownst to me, there were guardrails in place.
Some of my guardrails are prayer, Scripture, church, and people who hold me accountable. When all of these are in place, staying on the road is fairly easy. When one these starts to slip in my practices, I start to drift to the edge.
13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention. (Matthew 7:13-14, MSG).
Choosing life with God isn’t easy. There are limits and boundaries God has given us to help us stay on the road. These limits tell us how to treat each other, how to treat ourselves, how to be in relationship with others. Keeping my guardrails in place helps me stay within the boundaries we are given. It’s not easy. Clearly, it is easy to drift. The key is not to drift off the road.
What guardrails do you have in place? What practices keep you from drifting off the road? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.