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2014 Archives

Love Without Borders, Life Without Limits

Old Testament – New Testament Bookends
In 2009, the Lord book-ended a day for me with two passages from Scripture.  In the morning, He had me in the Old Testament:

Joshua 1:10-15

So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.

But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you after he said, ‘The LORD your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’  Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

That night, He had me in the New Testament:

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Actually, in my evening devotional that this Scripture showed up in for that day, it said specifically “rest for your soul“.

Bookends

An alarm went off in my head saying “pay attention to this!”  As I went back to the morning passage, all of a sudden I saw that my “territory,” or my “land,” is my “soul.”  But what did that mean?

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Border Patrol

Over the course of the past five years, I have received the deep understanding of how all of this fits into my identity.

You see, if my soul is the place He is giving me rest (emphasis on He gives rest, but we labor to enter into it), then the part I play in that whole thing is to patrol the borders of my “territory” and decide what gets in and what doesn’t get in, as well as what’s already in there that has to be removed.

Border Patrol 2

Change “territory” for “soul”, but then realize that your “soul” is your “identity.”  So for me, He got me really rooted and grounded in the truth of my identity, but I had to control the borders with great intentionality.  My identity is in Him, which means that the goal of all my border control efforts had to be a focused effort to practically apply His character of love as demonstrated through patience, kindness, grace, mercy, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.  The more I applied those characteristics in every situation, the greater joy and peace I had.  Working hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit, my definitions for those attributes have expanded beyond my original perspectives; my understanding grew as I practically applied the limited knowledge I had at that time.

Practicing & Proving

What does “border control” look like?  Well, for starters, I learned that it is not what I had always believed “boundaries” to be.  My boundaries were around my “identity,” not around how I was (or was not) in relationships with people.  I had to ask myself a lot of questions, such as “If I want to become Love, how do I have to respond in this situation / conversation?”, “If I want to be a free receiver, and not be an obligation, what do I have to do in this relationship?”, etc.

 Identity Practice

What that ended up looking like is that I had to become aware of, and let go of, every fear-driven response inside of me and trust the powerful Love that was also inside of me to push through.  I had to let go of self-protection and really believe by practicing and proving true that God is my protection.  I said it, but I had to do it!  I had to let go of performing and earning and really believe by practicing it and proving true that God is my provision.  I said it, but I had to do it!  I had to let go of my reputation and defending myself and really believe by practicing it and proving true that God is my defender and owner of my value and worth.  I said it, but I had to do it!  I had to let everyone else go from any and every obligation to be anything for me and really believe by practicing and proving true that God is all-sufficient to meet every need I have.  I said it, but I had to do it!

The Breaking Dam
So what happened?  All the fear-based dams in my heart, soul, and mind were broken through by the Love inside of me as I chose to love through every situation and conversation.  I let go of all the fear-based responses: blaming, rationalizing, defending, anger, self-protection, expectation, building walls, performing for acceptance, seeking external gratification, etc.  I released others to be who they are, where they are, and just to love them right there. I got to love them and trust God.  As the dams broke, Love broke free and rushed out everywhere.  Now, there are no borders — life is limitless!  I don’t have to focus on border control because anything fear-based would have to swim upstream against the powerful flow of Love, which is the violent force that casts out fear anyway.  Fear has no way to enter.
Love Without Boundaries 2
I get to wake up every day with nothing more to figure out.  I don’t have to have the answers.  I just get to love, and then love, and then love some more — such freedom!  See, on this side of fear, it’s expansive because I get to include everyone.  I don’t take enemies Sunday through Saturday, so knock yourself out — you can’t make me not love you.  If you could, that would mean that I relinquished my power and authority over my territory to you and I allow you to determine my character and my response.  I would be allowing you to determine the conditions of my love.  But Love is unconditional and multi-faceted, which means there can be no conditions and I can have no enemies.  I cooperate with the Holy Spirit to choose my response in every situation, and that choice is rooted in Love.

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Tricia Kaye Exman is a transmutation coach, leadership developer, author, and speaker. A graduate from the University of Alabama, her credentials include Professional Path Certified Coach, accreditation in Emotional Intelligence, and introductory level training in Right Brain Therapy. She also holds certifications in numerous personality profiling tools and facilitation skills for leadership training. An Organization and Leadership Consultant, Tricia has over twenty years of experience in corporate roles that include Account Manager, Operations Director, and Vice President of Project Management. Tricia is the President and Founder of Presence Coaching and Tricia Exman Ministries.