Steve and I have just finished an amazing week of international meetings. The week was both exhilarating and exhausting. We loved spending time with people, hearing stories, opening the Word of God and praying together. I’m actually writing this post on the plane ride home and considering my upcoming week.
In, Psalm 16:6 David wrote, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” As I consider the week ahead, I’m asking myself, where do I need to draw the boundary lines this week? I want to echo David, affirming, that the boundaries in my life have made life more pleasant?
Boundaries make your life more pleasant because they set limits for you. They are invisible lines that define who you are and what’s important to you and they protect you spiritually, emotionally and physically.
It’s always a bit challenging to decide where to draw the boundary lines. Life is filled with both awesome opportunities and amazing needs. Not every need represents a call. Boundaries protect the call that God has on your life and allow you to say yes to some needs and no to others without feeling guilty.
Even Jesus submitted Himself to the boundaries of a 24-hour day. He didn’t heal everyone (Mark 1:35-39). He wasn’t driven by the demands of others. Instead, He took His cues from the Father. He spent time alone in prayer and reflection, He took time to rest and re-group and He gave Himself permission to disappoint some.
As you consider where the boundary lines need to be drawn in your life these questions might help:
1. What season of life are you in and what are your priorities in that season? If you’re raising children, depending on their needs you might need to say no to some opportunities in order to have your kids feel secure. If you’re in a season where you’re creating new material or working long hours on a particular project, you might need to say no to other opportunities so that you can finish the project that’s most pressing. Analyze what season you’re in and what that might mean as far as boundary setting.
2. Which relationships help you grow in your spiritual walk and which relationships feel more toxic? We aren’t called to minister to everyone nor even to cultivate relationships with everyone. Make a list of the key relationships in your life. Spend a few quiet moments considering how you might best invest in those people. Are there relationships in your life that feel toxic? Is God calling you to put some distance in those so that you might continue to grow in some of your other relationships?
3. What rhythms of rest do you need to establish in your life to function at peak performance? Our bodies can’t handle living in constant busyness. God established the Sabbath so that we would cultivate a healthy rhythm of rest.
The truth is, boundaries were God’s idea. According to Henry Cloud and John Townsend God created us to be free, not free from God, but free from the trappings of an out of control life. http://www.cloudtownsend.com/scoop-on-boundaries/ Boundaries protect us and strengthen us to be the people God has designed. They help us to live the abundant life that God intended for us. In your life, how has setting healthy boundaries reestablished a sense of calm and peace? What questions do you ask yourself when setting limits?
Wonderful words Becky, especially for us right now at Tenwek Hospital. We are in day 63 of a strike by 5000 Kenyan government doctors which has all but closed down the government hospitals and clinics. Only a few mission hospitals and costly private ones remain open. My wife is an OB/Gyn and sometimes works 48 straight without sleep. In times of crisis we need all the more to know our boundaries and how to say no to some things in order to say yes to a few others. During these days I’m reminded of Jesus in the crowd when the women who had been bleeding for 12 years (similar to some of my wife’s patients) reached out just to grab a piece of his lab coat. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. The disciples along with husbands like me and wives like you reply, “What do you mean? Everyone wants a piece of you? And Jesus classic response, “But I felt the power go out from me!” Indeed even Jesus was drained by the crowds and the crisis and needed to be recharged.
Yes! Every need is not a call. And so often it’s not the bad, but the good that is can steal our focus away from God’s best for us. Blessings on you, Becky, as you continue to minister!
Thank you, Beth!!
Love that story of Jesus, Dean!!! Will be praying for you and Cheryl as you navigate and now when to say, yes and when to say, no!~
This is so true. I have been learning this more the past year. It has brought quiet, peace and more purpose.
God’s calling upon our lives cannot be heard with the busyness, distractions and noise from outside of us. We must go inward to allow God to readjust our direction and path, and stay within His boundaries to get us there.
Yes, Bernadette! I agree! God’s calling in our lives is difficult to hear in our busyness…..we need to put the boundaries in to create space for quiet so we can hear His voice.
I have just completed reading ‘the 30 day praise challenge’ again! It is an awesome and inspired devotional
which is fresh and new each time I read it. Thank you so very much for sharing…I can relate totally with what
the Holy Spirit was and is sharing with my spirit! We have an awesome God who loves us deeply!
Loving you in Christ…