“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6
I don’t know about you, but drawing boundaries with my time or in relationships is a constant challenge. Presented with many good needs and opportunities, it can be hard to discern what to say, “yes” and “no” to. If I say “yes.” to everything, then anxiety and frustration take root. By saying, “yes” to everything, I am saying “no” to giving my best.
Do you have a friend or family member who is constantly pushing your boundaries? I see every hand up. Who is that person in your life who consistently makes you feel like no matter how much time that you give them, it is never good enough?
Are we afraid that we are not being loving by drawing clear boundaries? Instead can we consider drawing a boundary as a loving act? We need the help of the Holy Spirit to apply God’s principles in specific situations to draw boundaries. A few years ago I drew boundaries with a family member, and we both experienced frustration and awkward moments. However, drawing boundaries has made our relationship better and deeper.
Or may be you need help drawing boundaries with a parent of one of your child’s classmates? Your child participates in an after-school activity each week. One of the moms wants her child to ride with your daughter to the activity, but you have noticed her child’s negative influence. It is easier to share the driving, but what is best for your child?
Think about it this way: boundaries are blessings, providing guard rails where life flourishes within its dominion. Take for instance lines on an interstate; the lines keep the cars in lanes, so that drivers may travel safely. What kind of game would football be without the field marked off? You can’t possibly play a football game without lines. How would either team ever know if they made a first down? No one wins without boundaries. Are you living to win? I do not mean winning a game, but winning in life. Jesus says in 1 Thessalonians 4:12 to live in such a way “that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.” Making the right choice when it is hard and not the most popular wins respect. Wise choices, not popular choices win respect.
Why couldn’t drawing lines in our personal life be as easy as drawing lines on an interstate? Boundaries lines for living a life that pleases God are clearly laid out in the Ten Commandments, and others we learn from the life of Jesus through imitating Him and following Biblical principles. Everybody has been given the same amount of time in a day, and we need the help of the Holy Spirit to discern the appropriate boundaries to living a fruitful and God honoring life. Saying “yes” to every need does not make you a more loving person, just as saying “no” to a need does not make you an unloving person.