What A Difference…

Something happened to me this week.

I went to the doctor for a checkup. First, I seldom ever go to the doctor and only go when something is happening that needs to be checked out. Blood Pressure CuffI have put some goals into my life and this time I went in just to establish a base line. My doctor was impressed!

Well, the nurse had checked my blood pressure and it was a little on the high side, 145/96. When the doctor came into the room I asked him about it. He checked back over my chart and said it was too high for where I have been in the past. Normally it is around 120/68 and has been down to 107/64.  It had been hours since I had eaten or enjoyed coffee…

The nurse wondered if I smoked or drank. Never, I replied.

Well… One cigarette when I was 15, and one drink when I was 19… I figured ingesting burning carcinogen material was not for me, and drinking something that catches on fire is something to pour into a gas tank somewhere!

The only thing I can say is where the nurse placed the cuff. You know, normally it goes on the upper arm right above mid-arm (as in the picture), only she used my forearm – slightly below the mid-arm.

The doctor shook his head and said she was new. He thanked me for the information, indicating he would make sure it did not happen again. He then rechecked my blood pressure and sure enough, it was down in the lower numbers where I expect it to be.

This started me thinking about the boundary of numbers and what they mean in our lives.

In an average world, medical professionals know where numbers should reside. They can look at blood count statistics and feel rather confident about what’s happening on the inside. High white blood count means a potential infection. Low, fasting, blood sugar numbers indicate no diabetes, the same way the A1C number shows a history of blood sugars over the past several months and anything between 4-5.6% shows an average glucose count. When it comes to height and weight they determine the body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity levels.

  • Last week I was listening to a news report where doctors were determining mental capacity and they have a number range for that.
  • We are looking ahead to retirement and it’s scary the numbers they tell you to have in investments and savings in order to enjoy your retirement – we will have to work a lifetime to get to those numbers! (Word to you younger folks – Save, Save, Save!)
  • When you buy a used car, how much does the odometer reading impact your choice? Too many miles, too few miles, or just right…..
  • Our State Troopers were advertising a few years ago about speeding. When you go over the speed limit on the freeway, they would say – “9 your fine, 10 your mine!” So, 79 in a 70 mph should be okay, right?
  • When I was piloting, the red-line was a zone of speed you did not want to get close to – it generally means the stress to the plane is so great that the wings could fall off!
  • All buildings in my area have a weight load limit on the roofs. Snow weighs a lot! When it piles up, the combined weight of multiple snow falls can crush a roof. There are numbers to tell us if we have built a roof successfully.

Everything in my life has a boundary. There are numbers I follow, statistics I use, and edges that I never push past.  I do not stand on the edge of a cliff, especially without something to hold me from falling. I do not plan a trip without knowing how much money and time it will take and making sure the stored up dollars and vacation days are sufficient. Seldom do I “take a chance” and when I do it seems I am always “scared” back into place (as in passing a car when I shouldn’t!)

So, I have this internal mechanism that allows me all the latitude I need as long as I stay within the boundaries I have established. Many are self-imposed boundaries, and others are the statistical numbers as previously mentioned that if I go past them then there are dangerous consequences.

This has so many applications.

My boundaries are my own. They are not yours. Yet, I have learned from people that push past what my boundaries are, and often they need help pulling back to some comfortable zone, or they hit a wall somewhere and are stopped by other factors. Sometimes, the payback is nothing, but too often the consequences affect everyone around them.

Some of these boundaries focus on how I spend and save money. I ALWAYS shop for value and will wait to buy for the day something is on sale before I spend money (I now use the app Gas Buddy to find the best prices). The same boundary concept keeps me from considering all the various ways of wasting time and money on all the “stuff” that is out there. Just because it exists doesn’t mean I need, or truly want, it. This brings my desires of life into a boundary of order and control.

Peter, Paul and John (Sounds like a singing group) speak one and all about giving in to the lust of fleshly desires. Each tells us to walk a Spiritual walk and to not give into fleshly wants. To me, it’s not about what I want in life, but rather, what does the Spirit want. It was John who wrote:

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16 NKJV)

This helps me live within a Spiritual boundary line, and other self imposed boundary lines.

Why is it that we always want the same things that we see others have? When I see the “toys” my neighbor enjoys, it can be easy to lust after the same “toys” and I extend myself into debt just to keep up with him. These toys can be play things, or even necessary things like a car, or things we were never allowed to have at some earlier time in life.

Where do I draw the line?

This is the key. Where is your line? Do you know?

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