I think about boundaries a lot. Call me the life of the party, but it’s true! As I ponder the arena of personal growth, it’s abundantly clear that boundaries are crucial for a healthy life. I want to live a vibrant and abundant life, and this requires staying within the limits God gives me.
By “boundary” I mean the borders of myself and my world. Where I start and where I end. What is my responsibility and what isn’t! It’s everything from choosing what I eat to prioritizing how to spend my time and who I let hold influence in my life. It’s letting go of other people’s expectations and answering to God alone. Emotional boundaries are about being able to own my feelings as well as not allowing someone else’s feelings to overtake me. Physical boundaries are about me being able to set healthy limits with myself and others.
I trust you get the concept, and that it’s likely not a new one for you!
Living within appropriate boundaries brings freedom. But, here’s the thing- boundaries change. Seasons change, our capacities change, our desires change, the circumstances of our friends and families change. Almost everything changes! Which I know from personal experience can be hard to accept! Nonetheless, it’s reality. Life can feel like a moving target where all the pieces change as soon as we get the hang of the game.
Healthy boundaries are super helpful, but if we don’t allow God to shift our boundaries when life changes, it can get ugly! It’s almost like having a combination locker in middle school and then for the rest of your life trying to use the same combo on every lock you use!
Once I find a rhythm with my boundaries I want them to work in every season no matter what changes! For the love. When I finally discern what I need to say “no” to so that I can say “yes" I don’t want to start all over and figure it out again!
But, I must.
Even the best practices we learn in one season will likely shift when the details of our seasons shift. Maybe you get into a great routine of feeling connected to your body through a specific type of exercise. Then, you endure an injury. Of course, your expectations of what is best for your injured body should be different than before. Maybe you are rocking your time with God and experiencing a sweet new depth. Then, something tragic happens in your world. While staying close to God is needed now more than ever, the nature of your connection might shift in light of this new information. Maybe you and your husband are in a groove with work-life balance. Then he starts a new job, and the stress throws everything off!
I don’t know about you, but I want perfection. I want to be strong enough to handle whatever life throws at me. I want to do it all, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone! Nonetheless, the reality is that what I can handle in different seasons is different. Therefore, I need to be willing to adjust my boundaries. If I refuse to accept this, I will forever be fighting a losing battle.
I believe that God wants us to come to Him open to recalibrating our boundaries regularly. It might feel humbling to call someone and say you need to back out of a commitment. It might feel disappointing to realize you need more downtime than you would like to admit. It might even feel selfish to spend your time and emotional energy differently.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to who you are trying to please. Are you trying to please people, yourself, or God?
He has your best interest in mind and doesn’t throw you into the deep end hoping you figure out how to swim in real time. Instead, He wants to walk with you in such a way that you hear His guiding voice and know how to adjust to be successful. You might have to loosen your grip on what “success” looks like, but you get my drift.
Girl, if you used to be able to work a full-time job and exercise five times a week but right now you are just trying to shower most days; it’s okay.
If you used to cook fresh organic meals for your family but lately you tell your crew they are welcome to help themselves to anything they find in the kitchen; it’s okay.
If you used to volunteer at every church event and kindergarten party but right now you need to prioritize going to counseling; more power to you!
As our lives change so will our capacities. We must be willing to change our boundaries as well. Let go of perfection and lofty expectations. Instead, lean into what He’s saying are the best boundaries for you right now!