As I walked through my neighborhood a few months ago, I encountered a Great Dane. It wasn’t a matter of who would blink first. It was a question of who would run first. I didn’t know if he was aggressive, but I knew I was vulnerable. The dog took a few steps forward and then he stopped. I thought my heart would too. Then I realized any possible attack was prevented by an invisible fence.
Although I couldn’t see the fence, its function was unmistakable. Pet owners install this mechanism to keep their dogs from leaving the yard. If the animal attempts to cross the predetermined perimeter, an unpleasant zap directs them to stop. For the passerby like me, these boundaries are beautiful.
How are you doing with setting boundaries? Sometimes I struggle. The desire to please, control, impress or over-indulge can blur the lines I need to draw. When this occurs, I stand on the outside of a sacred space that clearly bears my name. However, as wisdom prevails I step into the best way to spend my time, talent, and treasure.
Boundaries are healthy borders. They allow us to flourish in an intentional space. The space is intended by God to keep us safe from what is harmful and to keep us productive in His purposes for our lives. The Bible provides instruction on where we should draw the lines. Faith in Christ gives us the strength to live within them.
Sometimes drawing a necessary line seems awkward or confining. And yet, these feelings inform me that I’m leaving my comfort zone to enter a zone with a different priority. It is the will of God. His boundaries for my life are beautiful and the benefits are long-lasting.
Boundaries point to God’s purpose: Whether it is a goal or a relationship, the purpose of our pursuit matters. A boundary (or the lack of one) boldly declares our heart’s affections. Saying “yes” to the Lord requires me to say “no” to something or someone else. Sometimes I don’t realize the full impact of my choices until I am stressed or blessed by the result.
Boundaries provide God’s protection: As we set divinely prescribed boundaries, we receive divinely provided protection. It enables us to thrive in our commitment to God and to people. But what happens when a boundary is crossed?
Whether we step outside the boundary or someone else trespasses, it triggers an “unpleasant zap.” The pain may tempt us to build a wall where commitment stops and isolation starts. But instead we can establish a new boundary. It creates more space for God’s peace and power to dwell. Boundaries state we have value; walls state we’re a victim.
Boundaries promise God’s provision: As we see them as pleasant lines, we give ourselves permission to enjoy why we need them. Establishing boundaries empowers us because it gives us access to God’s provision. As we abide within His will, He provides what we need to accomplish it.
Godly boundaries are our friends. If you want to make more of them, here’s some good news: faith in Christ gives us a new life and it comes with new lines. The old lines no longer fit and living in them no longer fulfills. Discovering His pleasant places is a process. But knowing He empowers us to dwell there brings hope to the heart and joy to the soul.
“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” – Psalm 16:5-6 NIV