“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6”
I love this verse. Other versions, such as the NIV, say “boundary lines.” When I hear this verse, I don’t think “the rules that trap me from doing what I want.” I hear, “the boundaries that are there protecting me from harm.”
There are dozens of boundaries that Bret and I have establish and have acknowledged that God has placed in our lives. Here are a few that have helped me.
Other men – I am careful to not have private conversations with other men online or in person. I do not initiate them unless I must. I will include the guy’s wife, if I can. Even though I have no desire for anything other than friendship, I draw this line. A little conversation here, a little conversation there….and before I know it, if I’m not careful, a guy who is “just a friend” is becoming a confidant. If a guy messages me, I tell Bret about it. If necessary, I wait to respond to the guy until I can talk to Bret about what to say. You may think, oh, wow, that’s pretty extreme…but my marriage is the second most important thing in my life. I will defend its honor, purity and trust with every ounce of my being. A guy who is put off by my delayed response or even my cold manner is a small price to pay for my marriage. Having this boundary and being honest with Bret about who I talk to and about what has given us a high level of trust.
Phone notifications – I have turned off almost all of the notifications on my phone. I receive phone calls/voicemails, text messages, calendar notifications and my gmail (and this is only because of one of my jobs). There are no Facebook notifications or Twitter notifications or email notifications (my photography email in particular). I’ve read a lot about compartmentalizing my time…so I shut off that “need to be connected” and remind myself that there is nothing so major that can happen that it won’t wait until I check my email or Facebook….if it is, I’ll receive a call or a text. This has allowed me to truly enjoy my free time. I work when I’m “at work” and I enjoy myself when it’s time off.
Weekends – Since Bret started teaching, I have become fiercely against busy weekends. We may have a few commitments on one day, but I try to keep the other day clear. We don’t do much work on the weekends and I feel zero guilt about that. Again, if it’s that important, I’ll get a call or a text. It is incredibly energizing going into my week after a truly restful weekend. (I mean, look at how long this blog post is!)
Listening to sermons – I’ve been listening to sermons online for a while now, but I’m really trying to make them the very first thing I do. I am merely human, so I HAVE to have my cup of coffee before I can do anything worthwhile…even being happy towards my spouse. I’ve gotten great sleep on the floor…but I’ve found that those first few minutes coming from the dream world to the real world are a little harsher than they used to be. Thankfully, Bret is learning this quickly and just this morning, kept calling to me to get up and had a cup of coffee all ready to go. Within just a few minutes, I was all smiles and started my first sermon. It is such a great way to start the day. While I listen, I put together puzzles and can feel my brain loosening up and I am energized. It’s a happy thing to know my greatest need (being reminded of the gospel) is met at the beginning of my day.
Saying no – I have a pretty good idea of all of my boundaries, listed and not listed. I know what will help me stay in those boundaries and what will be unwise to do. The best thing I’ve learned in keeping in my boundaries is to say no. Those two letters hold a lot of power. The power to keep my mind pure, my heart loving Christ, my time to be used for growth and not destruction and a whole host of other things. If you want to see a big change in your life, start to say no.
What about you? How have boundaries helped you?
Here’s a boundary that kept us from falling in a really big hole. 🙂
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