I live in an area that actually registers a little below sea level. Yet, I was able to spend the last week in Colorado at heights like 5,000 and almost 12,000 feet ABOVE sea level. The Rocky Mountains are awe inspiring and my husband with the geology degree likes to geek out and tell me why the rocks look the way they do. If you have ever wondered just how BIG God truly is, drive up a road called, Trail Ridge through Estes Park to Grand Lake.
As we drove to my friends cabin near Grand Lake (something like 11,000 or more above sea level) I was in the passenger’s seat. Here is something you need to know.
DO NOT LOOK DOWN.
The lack of guardrails puts your heart in your throat. There are hairpin turns. A sign that reads, “Icy Road” is less than comforting. On the sides of the road are random 9 foot high sticks that seem to have no purpose. (I forgot to get a picture.) Then we found out that when the snow gets too high it allows plows to identify the boundaries of the road. You could not pay me enough to be a plow driver in that situation.
We looked out the window and realized something. We feel better when there are guard rails. Yes, my friends who live in Colorado tried to convince us that you “stay on the road” when it is flat so the same rings true when traveling upward. However, when the thought of plummeting to your death occurs if someone needs to swerve out of the way, then a guardrail to reign you in looks very appealing. The boundaries are clear as to where the road “ends” and the “downhill” begins.
When coming “down” the mountain you actually have to climb higher to go down. This means you are actually eye level with the cloud line. Due to something about the way the clouds come down the other side of the mountain (yes my husband the ex-earth science teacher explained it four times), you go through intense fog. (See below.)
Now you can’t see anything at all. However, my husband made this distinction. “The fog actually makes me feel safe when combined with the guardrail. This way I can’t see just how far up we actually are.”
I think you see where I am going with this analogy. Boundaries are a VERY good thing. They keep us safe. Whether it’s a guardrail or fog plus a guardrail, you clearly know when safety ends and danger begins. You know that if that icy patch causes a spin out you will bounce and not fall.
Our students need the same thing. They need clarity on where the road ends. Boundaries keep them safe. They can have a great time moving upward and enjoying the scenery when they know exactly where they can and can’t go. There are even times when the Lord might purposely obstruct our view to keep us focused. Too often in ministry we get afraid of creating a “boundary system” for our students. That seems “too much like children’s programming.” YET, God doesn’t say we “get too old” to follow His ways. Instead, He tells us over again how much He loves when we are faithful and obedient. Allowing students to understand what a boundary is helps them to see it as safety and not a hinderance. It’s not about doing “right” or modifying your behavior instead we allow them to have their world view transformed. When you learn just how comforting the guardrails are you want to stay on the other side of them.
Want to know more about the “boundary system” my ministry has in place? Don’t hesitate to write me at email@example.com.