Knowing My Boundaries:
There are a lot of good ideas floated by a lot of good people. People I follow and get sufficient value from that keeps me going back to their books, webpages, and webinar’s. Time and again, I will re-listen to something older to keep my knowledge rounded out with affirmation of something I already knew, while at the same time I listen for things to add to my toolbox on how to keep moving forward.
There are “influencers” and I’ve given their material license to impact my life, my boundaries, and how I plan on living successfully from today forward. Some of these influencers are preachers, current and historical, others have been story tellers, news reporters, and teachers from a host of varied experiences. I mean, who hasn’t received a nugget of knowledge from the likes of Zig Ziglar, Charles Kuralt, Charles Osgood, Garrison Keillor, or even Paul Harvey! Good Day!
I’ll share more about these influencers another day, but for now, think about how much space you have surrounding your world, and if there was sufficient amount of time and real estate, you would not hesitate on checking out more material than you can possibly deal with in your 24 hour period.
Back in 2003, my bride and I were transitioning from Alaska, a great state we both miss dearly, to the Pacific Northwest region called Washington. Her job transferred her to a new location, so we trusted in God who knows all our plans and limits, and headed south. We were carrying our 3 huge Alaskan dogs and it was difficult to make room for them in our vehicle, and in our travel routine. They needed to stop and smell more territory than we had time for. We had a deadline. They were only interested in escape….
We were familiar with the Canadian Broadcast radio that crosses that huge country to the north of us. Along the road you will find signs telling you where their next broadcast signal would be found on your FM radio dial. We tuned in, and it seems it was just at the best time. Leaving the Yukon, headed into British Columbia, CBC began broadcasting a series of shows that we were thoroughly enjoying. Comedy. Music. News. Interviews. An assortment of non-cacophonous noise that was pleasant to listen to and follow.
But each station had a boundary. You could hardly pass by a certain point in the road without realizing you had left the boundary of said station. You could not extend the boundary without more power to the broadcasting antennae, and that was not in our bailiwick!
In modern times, traveling between British Columbia and Washington state, the boundary of the countries is real, with a required passport control funnel, an interview by border agents, AND, your phone will automatically stop working on your existing network. It will scan for something to replace the signal with, and there will be limitations on what you can do, how much it will cost, and how to acquire the new service. Regardless, there are boundaries.
Boundaries are real. They play a role in every portion of our lives. We place boundaries on our work hours, play hours, and resting time. Think about everything you do in life, and you will find boundaries. Some imposed by others, including the authorities, and others imposed by nature, and still more are imposed by our own self.
Every sport has boundaries. There is a field of play, and you can easily go out of bounds and nothing you gain past that white line will count toward your score. Each sport has rules that place boundaries on how we conduct ourselves with other players, coaches, fans, referees, and the tools of the trade.
Every job has boundaries. There are established routines, policies, and procedures you need to know in order to be successful. Step across the line, and HR will be called into a private session with you to determine if you have gone too far.
Even driving down a road has boundaries. Rules galore. Consequences can be hugely negative if you do not know the boundaries. Every law is there for a reason, even if we think they are not needed.
Every relationship. Every dinner plate. Every shopping trip. Everything has boundaries. The words we choose, the friends we make, the places we go… Boundaries everywhere. We would do well to know what these boundaries are, and how to live within them successfully.
When it comes to spiritual things, you know, your relationship with God, the Word, and Others, boundaries exist everywhere. Stepping across a line might easily be called Sin, but ignoring our walk with God sufficiently is equally a Sin. What we think, how we act, what we say – all have boundaries. Rules. Covenants. Laws. Expectations. Limits. The consequences of us not staying within the boundary markers can be huge. It’s eternal.
A few years ago I put up a simple fence of material and plastic posts to define yard space for my dogs. They could not run through, though I’m sure they could find courage to jump over it if I gave them time to think about it. This fence has fallen into disrepair, and I’m replacing it next month. But as weeds and time bow it to the ground, the dogs still respect that boundary. They will not go past it, even when chasing the rabbits! Those bunnies seem to know all the escape places, and yet the dogs respect the fence.
Think about boundaries for a moment.
What self-imposed boundaries have you placed in your life to ensure you do not get past the penalty line? What boundaries have others placed upon their connection to you? Have you learned to draw a line, or obey the line that is placed for your safety, or do you regularly exercise your judgement that those lines mean nothing?
Here’s my thought: Having boundaries is necessary. Knowing them is even more important. Living by them keeps us moving forward more successfully than one could imagine. We should write a book for ourselves on what our boundaries are, and then learn to live by them.
To some, boundaries are huge walls of defense. They are built high, deep, thick and sufficiently strong to ensure safety. In Israel, we journeyed beneath the visible West wall (Wailing wall) and saw the foundation that was a massive undertaking during a time of no hydraulic equipment… They must have felt Desperate to build such a strong wall, yet they were conquered several times in spite of the boundary.
Boundaries work, but you must build them, maintain them, and keep your understanding alive as to what those boundaries mean.
Quickly. Can you name 10 boundaries in your life?
(Listen to this blog here.)