So.... Hacksaw Ridge is on HBO again. Every time I turn the TV on, it's playing Hacksaw Ridge. Don't get me wrong, I love this movie, I'm a war movie buff... strange but true. Usually, when I see something over and over again I take it as the Lord is trying to tell me something. And Hacksaw Ridge always brings me back to this blog I wrote when the movie first came out.
Hanging On A Ridge
Every Tuesday, Jon and I have a standing date. Before we were even married, we determined that it was important to set aside a weekly time to connect, hang out and relax. I’m not sure why we always go out on Tuesday, it may be that we are always so busy with ministry work on the weekends, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it has to do with the fact that Tuesday is a super slow day for the entertainment industry.
When we lived in Nashville, we went on an entire date for less than $20.00 – You could get a cheese burger and small fries for two bucks at the Sonic, the movie was $1.50 and they had a special called Recession Tuesday where we got small popcorns and sodas for a buck each. We usually topped the night off with $1.50 ice cream cones from Baskin Robin’s and a walk. When we moved to Florida we were delighted to find that the movies were $5 bucks on Tuesday and a myriad of restaurants hosted happy hour with half priced snacks and benefits.
I guard Tuesday night like a dog with a bone. Don’t call me because I won’t answer, don’t ask me to go somewhere, I will promptly tell you no. Don’t IM me, tweet me, send me a post card or leave me a note. I will not respond… unless the house is burning down, then I’ll answer. And don’t let Jon get called for an extra shift at work, he knows better…
I’ve learned over the years, especially since being in full time ministry that boundaries to protect the health of things are a must. To live a life of joy, you must understand what you will tolerate, how much of yourself you are willing to give away, and what you will cut off at the knees if it rears its ugly head in your life. So many of us don’t do that. In the name of Jesus, because of compassion, fear, guilt or obligation we allow life to rob us of our peace and we miss the miracles that are happening around us because we are tied up in knots over circumstances and situations. I use to live like that, but not anymore. I have drawn a line in the sand with love, and when it is crossed, I try my best to gently push the offender back across it. Notice I said try… yes, the Lord is still working with me.
Sometimes it feels like standing on Hacksaw Ridge, which we saw on date night, a movie about faith regardless of the odds, it was also a war movie – and those of you who know me, know I have this super strange love affair with epic battles and weighty challenges. I’m the only person I know waiting with baited breath for Dunkirk to come out… But I digress!
If you have not seen Hacksaw Ridge, you have got to rent it. The hero is a conscientious objector to the war, but joins the armed forces as a medic who refuses to pick up a gun. You wanna talk about setting a boundary? He is ridiculed, beaten, challenged and put on trial because he refuses to comply with one of the primary rules the culture that he is a part of has laid out. Interestingly enough, he has permission to be there, but the culture rejects him because of his beliefs, leaving him isolated, lonely and pushing him to find refuge in his faith. And they wait... as he clings to his beliefs, they wait for his demise and despair that his inability to be flexible will be the death of him and them.
And what happens? In the midst of one of the bloodiest battles, after seeking the Lord, and continually calling on His great name, he rescues dozens of men from death without ever picking up a gun. All because he refused to bend to the will of the world and maintained his convictions. The boundaries that brought him emotional pain and turmoil, the boundaries that he kept close to his heart, the boundaries that he laid out and refused to wavier on because he believed that they were given to him by the Lord himself, brought joy to hundreds of people, brought husbands and sons home, bought life to children who would never have been born, and exalted the name of the Lord so many years later as the movie that celebrated his life and his refusal to bend played in the theater for millions to see.
The lessons learned? If you have to stand on Hacksaw Ridge, and you will at some point...don't bend to the pressure and pick up a gun, bow for prayer and find His strength. Boundaries – set them for your life, enforce them, do not compromise, be willing to risk it all for them and remember when you act within the directives given to you by the Lord, no matter what the cost, you just might see a miracle.
Let me know your thoughts, I'd love your comments here on the blog or email me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I did see Dunkirk and it was AMAZING!
This blog originally appeared in The Calling, The Official Newsletter of The Ministry of Naima.