Pushing the Boundaries

When I was on a train journey recently, the train pulled into a station and I saw on the opposite platform a little girl and her mother. As the mother turned her back for a few minutes to rummage for something in her suitcase, I watched as, with a cheeky smile, the little girl started to hop around the yellow line that we all know that we should stand behind. She had obviously been told about this rule. But as soon as her mother’s back was turned, she started to edge closer and closer to the line, then onto it, then over it. Then she quickly hopped back behind it. And the whole process started again.

I know that little girl’s game

As I watched the little dance she was doing, I wondered if maybe sometimes that was what I looked like to God. When I know that something is wrong but I do it anyway. Sometimes, it is less obvious to us why we are told to “stand behind the yellow line”, but for our own safety, God paints it in clear colours anyway and instructs us to remain behind it. He gives us our boundaries.

But I know that little girl’s game. I have edged my way closer to the line when I thought that no-one was looking, then thought: “Well, perhaps if I just step onto it that would be ok.” And then, suddenly, it doesn’t seem so far to just dip a toe over the line and then my whole foot, then maybe the other. Before I know it, I’m knee-deep in sin and full of regrets. I risk my safety, my salvation, for something so small and momentary.

God does something amazing

But that is when God does something amazing.

He gives me the grace to step back over the line. And sometimes, often, I do the whole dance all over again. I resent God putting the line back in place and return to my old ways. But every time, he puts my safety first. His so-called ‘rules’ are not there to stop us having fun. They are there to protect us, to keep us from danger. And when I forget that, he offers me grace.

What about you? Do you recognize the little girl’s dance? Have you experienced God’s grace in those moments when you feel you’ve edged over the line?


Written by Claire Wright