We all start this journey with God in much the same way we start our lives - our parents give us definitive boundaries and we use those as a foundation on which to build the rest of our lives.

We teach our children "Don't talk to strangers. Ever."

However, if they keep that rule literally for the rest of their lives they will never find a spouse or have a pizza delivered. It will eventually stunt their growth and development.

In our journey with God, we start with definitive boundaries: set aside quiet time to pray and read your Bible, don't go back to certain behaviors and habits, find a good church and get involved. Over time, those boundaries begin to blur. Like growing children, the fence suddenly becomes shorter and they are able to climb out and see the world beyond the boundaries. It's not that we don't keep those early practices, they simply change in their role in our lives. Much like sexual intimacy in marriage, the way it is at the beginning will change as we grow closer to our spouse and more in tune with them both physically and emotionally. Our relationship with God begins to change as a result of our early boundaries.

I believe this is a natural, good, and even holy thing because it is when the boundaries blur and the fences become shorter we are able to venture out into new areas of trust and faith in God.

The downside is that the blurred edges and the short fences introduce new challenges and questions: how do I trust God when I don't feel what I used to feel? How do I talk to that person who hasn't seen the world outside the fence and is concerned that I'm becoming some sort of wild heretic? Why aren't my long-held political, social and economic views still measuring up? We are faced with new boundaries and though they are lighter and less defined, they lead us into a new territory of being with God and a new way of relating to Him.

Jesus in John 15 talks about those who follow Him as the "branches" who find their root and nourishment in Him. His intention for these branches is for them to grow, to spread, to hold massive clusters of grapes for a thirsty and hungry world to eat and drink from. It is love that grows the branches.

It is love that blurs the edges, and it is God who loves us enough to grow us tall and strong so that we can explore the new country of His love and grace.

Embrace the growing pains of God blurring the edges today. Learn to lean into the love of the vine and trust that even in strange country He is still our companion and our friend.

Peace.

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