The Sons of Korah were keepers of the gates of the tabernacle. As gatekeepers they were positioned at the gate of the Synagogue, overseeing who came in and out to worship. In Psalm 84:10, they wrote, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” In some translations the phrase “gatekeeper” is used instead of “doorkeeper.” A gatekeeper was one who opened and closed the gates to the temple.
In our lives, we become weary in our Christian walk when are not functioning as our own “gatekeepers.” What do I mean? We are not good gatekeepers when we allow others to pressure or guilt us into taking on commitments that God did not intend for us. As a result, we lose control of our schedules and end up feeling discombobulated and disconnected from God. Often when this happens it’s easy to blame someone else or to complain about how busy we are. But the truth is – we are to be our own gatekeepers.
To be my own gatekeeper means I will take responsibility for what I allow into my life. I will go before the Lord before saying “yes” to commitments. I will seek to know His mind and heart. I will only accept engagements, commitments, and responsibilities that I believe He is calling me to accept. God won’t call me to be over-committed. He knows what my body, soul, and spirit can handle. He calls me to a divine rhythm of being in His presence and doing His work. The same holds true for you.
So how do you know if you’ve neglected being the gatekeeper of your life? Here are a few signs:
- You don’t have time to spend with God, reading His Word or worshipping.
- Your body feels exhausted.
- Your emotions are difficult to contain.
- You feel frantic or frazzled.
Here’s the deal: a wise gatekeeper knows there’s a time to open the gates wide and a time to shut the gates tight. If you’ve neglected being your own gatekeeper, how can you get back on track? Here are a few suggestions for you that have helped me:
- Take a day of prayer and Sabbath rest. Jesus said, “Come with me, by yourselves, to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Clear your schedule, take your Bible, a journal, and some worship music and go to a place of quiet and just hang out with God. Just be with Him. If you’re too tried to read a lot of Scripture – that’s fine. Just go and take a long walk and listen for His voice. Enjoy the beauty of creation and breathe! He is the only One who can show you what to say yes to and what to say no to.
- Make a list of your commitments. Then prayerfully review what you’ve committed to and ask the Lord if there’s anything you need to cut.
- Create the space for some relaxing activities. Sleep a little extra, read refreshing books, take a walk or a hike, go to lunch with a friend, sit out on your deck and slowly sip a beverage you love. Be willing to turn off or put on silent your cell phone for a few hours. Give yourself a break.
Question: How have you learned to be your own gatekeeper? What benefits do you see to setting boundaries around your life?