Although we like to think that we are superheroes who operate outside of space and time, we each only have 24 hours in one day.
That is just one of the first and many boundaries that God put into motion when He created the earth.
Our good God created boundaries on our behalf. Think about it, within each 24 hour day we have day and night. He created our body to need both sunlight and sleep. A biological boundary that many of us overlook and push the limits on.
Many of us struggle with boundaries, especially when it comes to our relationships. We find ourselves overcommitted, obligated and overwhelmed at the number of yeses that come out of our mouths.
Yet we keep doing it. Why?
Some of the biggest reasons come from our need to people-please, FOMO (fear of missing out), our unrealistic self-expectations, and even guilt from our ideas of what a “good Christian” should do.
If this is starting to resonate with you and you are wondering if your boundaries are healthy or not, here are some red flags that may indicate if you are overextending yourself:
Do you cringe or hide when you see a certain person at the grocery store?
Do you find yourself drained from being with someone?
Are you crabby or anxious when you know you have to see someone somewhere?
Do you feel like you have to say yes to things even when you don’t want to?
Are you exhausted and drained?
Do you struggle with self-care?
Have your lost your own sense of identity, opinions or aspirations?
There is a very freeing and empowering bible story that helps us understand God’s heart for us and view on boundaries. It is a part of Moses’s journey when he was leading God’s people out of Egypt, through the wilderness and to the promised land. At one point his father-in-law Jethro, a priest, came for a visit and shared some wisdom with Moses.
Jethro saw Moses letting the people line up before him from day to night. He was doing good God stuff. Yet Jethro saw the quickly approaching burn-out and told him a better way to handle the people so that Moses and those in community with him could flourish. (Exodus 18:13-20)
Boundaries are biblical.
There are some simple things you can do today to start implementing healthy boundaries:
1. Identify your season. What is God calling you to in this season. Is a transition coming? Does he want you to prepare, rest or maybe even rally? What are His priorities for you and the people He has placed around you in this season?
2. Your calendar is a boundary. Start with a blank calendar for the month. Fill it in with your priorities and the things that correlate to the season God has you in. Make sure to include time for rest, fun and ongoing things we need to do for ourselves, homes, families etc. How much time do you have left?
3. Pause before you promise. It’s so easy to say yes without even thinking about it. It can become habitual. Instead we can give ourselves time to evaluate what a yes or no means and not just get caught up in the moment. You can sleep on an email and give yourself 24 hours to respond. When an opportunity presents itself, you can ask for time to think about it or simply let them know you will get back with them. Pausing before you promise gives you the opportunity to have purpose behind your yes and your no.
My friend Dr. Jen Bourgeois and I talked about healthy boundaries in her recent Instagram Live. We talked about all these things plus some of the lies women believe about boundaries, how you can start implementing boundaries today and more. Take a quick listen here.
Friend, you can do anything, but you can't do everything.
I'm cheering you on as you walk out all the things God has called and created you to do!