Do you like the way you do life?
Does it work for you, or do you work for it?
Several summers ago, I decided the answer to the first question was, “No… I don’t like the way I do life.”
And, the answer to the second question was, “No… life isn’t working for me. I think I am working for it!”
Life had become so full! It was like an insatiable master who was demanding and driving me beyond my desires, and often my abilities. But, the irony was that I had created this “slave-driving” life without even realizing it.
So, I spent a little time studying my life! Have you ever studied your own life?
You may be surprised by what you learn.
I consciously became an observer, not just a mindless participant.
I observed I needed boundaries.
Where were the boundaries in my life? It didn’t take long to discover that the reason I couldn’t locate my boundaries was because there were none!
Life had just become one giant free-for-all! Like a pinball, I pinged, bounced, rolled, and sped with the momentum of the game. It wasn’t that the “game” was bad, it was just that it never stopped! It seemed to have no rules and I wasn’t the one pulling the trigger making the ball roll! It was others’ expectations, prior commitments, and old habits that were in charge now.
I learned if I don’t set my own boundaries… they will be set for me.
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There is only One whom I should trust to set boundaries for me, and it was His guidance I pursued in my new quest. The psalmist said that God has drawn the boundaries in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6). So, that’s what I began to pursue – boundaries that were set in pleasant places.
The purpose for my boundary pursuit was not self-indulgence, it was stewardship.
I don’t think I’m the only woman who lacks boundaries. Am I?
The boundaries I discovered I needed were in these areas:
- “If I add, I must subtract.”
- “If everything has a cost, can I afford it?”
- “Does this choice I am about to make add complexity or simplicity to my life?”
- “Do I have a place in my home, calender, or heart for this?”
- “Who or what will I have to neglect to add this?”
- “Do I actively pursue and engage in solitude?”
- “Is there any part of my life which I feel it’s my right to keep private?”
- “Can I say no to someone without explaining why?”
- “Do I give myself the liberty to let the phone ring? Do I think it’s okay to let it go to voice mail and listen to it when it is a better time rather than allowing it to disturb my privacy?”
- “Do I choose when I can, and will, work, or do others choose that for me?”
- “Do I carve out time to have a hobby?”
- “Is my motivation for work guilt-based or performance-based?”
- “Are others’ work and leisure ethics my own?”
- “Am I proactive, or reactive, in relationships?”
- “Are the friends I have the ones I chose, or the ones who chose me?”
- “Do I make the effort or sacrifice to invest in my friends and family, or are they the last to get my attention because I know they understand?”
- “Do I allow personal honesty, or others’ expectations, to govern my relationships?”
- “Am I intentional about being a friend?”
I was once told by a wise man who had spent years in public ministry, “Jennifer, you will find that everyone will love you and have a wonderful plan for your life.” He was right. And even though you weren’t there that day when he told me that great advice, the same applies to you.
Everyone does love you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
Your boss loves you and has an incredible plan for your life. Your husband loves you and has a great plan for you. Your kids love you and have a fabulous plan for what you can do every minute of every day! Your friends, neighbors, church, and family all think you are great and the plans they have for you are without limit!
It’s not that their plans are bad, it just may be that their plans are not what’s best for you.
That’s why we need boundaries. So, we can live out the best plan for us.
There is One who truly loves you more than He loves Himself and it is His plan for you that is absolutely wonderful. His plan is trustworthy, and when accepted, will give you life that really works – life with boundaries that are drawn in pleasant places.
Question: What boundaries have you established to make life work for you?