This past week, I’ve been spending time in Psalm 84. It is absolutely one of my favorites!
The sons of Korah wrote Psalm 84 and they were keepers of the gates of the tabernacle. As gatekeepers, they sat at the gate overseeing those who came 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.” Either way, a gatekeeper was one who opened and closed the gates to the temple.
In our lives, we become weary in our Christian walk when we are not functioning as our own “gatekeepers.” What do I mean? It’s when we allow others to pressure or guilt us into taking on commitments that God did not intend for us to take on. As a result, we lose control of our schedules, and end up feeling disconnected from God. Often when this happens it is 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 set boundaries. Boundaries make good neighbors. Author Henri Nouwen writes, “Only when you are able to set your own boundaries will you be able to acknowledge, respect, and even be grateful for the boundaries of others.” When we set boundaries, we go before the Lord asking what our responsibility is and what should be left to another. We will only accept engagements, commitments, and responsibilities that we believe He is calling us to accept. And, He will never call us to be over-committed. He knows what our bodies, souls, and spirits can handle. He calls us to a divine rhythm of being and doing.
So how do I know if I’m out of balance? I might discover I’m out of balance because I’m not finding enough time to read my Bible or spend time in prayer. Or, when my body is feeling physically exhausted. Or, when my friends are warning me to slow down. Or, when I can’t contain my emotions. Or, when I feel frantic and frazzled. Any of these might be signs that I have neglected my responsibility to be my own gatekeeper. A wise gatekeeper knows there is a time to open the gates wide and a time to shut the gates tight.
Over the last few years, I have become more intentional about gatekeeping. I no longer allow others to pressure or guilt me into accepting commitments that make my life so busy that I feel overwhelmed.
In order to be ready for the next assignment God has for you, you must close the gates a bit and be shut up into Him so that He can give you your marching orders. Time spent in His presence is better than time spent anywhere else!
Lord Jesus, I have this tendency to get in over my head. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and show me what it looks like to be my own gatekeeper. I pray that You will give me wisdom for what to say yes to and what to say no to. Help me also to respect the boundaries of others, recognizing that they too are trying to be their own gatekeepers. I pray, Lord, that in the coming months You would help me to prioritize time spent in Your presence, listening for Your voice. Thank You, that as I lean in and listen, You will direct my paths.
The Connected Mom podcast launches! You’ll be able to listen on Spotify podcasts, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Breaker, and Player FM. If you’re a mom, I hope you’ll join us as we look at connecting more deeply with God, more empathetically with other moms, and more intentionally with our kids.