Welcome to Day 12 of #write31days!
For more information check out the series’ page.
In the last few days we have talked a lot about problems we could have in setting boundaries with our family, our friends, in church, or with ourselves. We may have taken a closer look at ourselves and found some dark spots, things to work on.
And maybe a question came to mind: If so many problems can occur, why do I need boundaries? What do boundaries look like? Before we get into more practical details, let’s first discover boundaries all around us.
Boundaries in Nature
If you just take a closer look at your surroundings you’ll find boundaries that are not man-made. We have flat landscapes, hills and mountains, rivers and oceans. Somehow rivers stay in their beds unless there are floods. We also can’t just flatten mountains, we have to climb them.
We have different seasons, snow to rain to sun to drought – each takes care of the soil in its own way, with each we associate different things. Snow has its own charms, but after a long winter we all appreciate the first warmth in spring. We do want a bit of everything.
Of course, nature did not remain in its perfect state; man has conquered and shaped it. Before there were big towns and formal courthouses, people already had a sense to claim property.
They put up stones that marked the beginning and end of their land. With time this became a bit more techy and a lot more complicated, but overall it’s the same.
We’re all familiar with the red STOP signs at big intersections. Even though many don’t always pay attention to them 🙂 they help to keep order on the street. If we all crossed at the same time there would be way more accidents.
And I guess we also all have seen the NO TRESPASSING signs. Property belongs to someone, they normally payed a lot of money for it or inherited it. You can go to the courthouse and find out who it belongs to.
The reason for these signs are normally not to annoy others. A town or someone owning property wants to keep out strangers, and signs make it very clear who and what is allowed and who/what isn’t. They also define the object behind the fence. You can’t go any further than the gate because this is private property. You can’t cross the intersection whenever you want because you would hurt other drivers. Boundaries tell us who we are and who we aren’t.
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins…
Moreover, though, these properties come with a lot of responsibility. Owning a house can be a lot of work because you can’t pass it on to anyone else. A mayor of a town has a lot to do, for sure. Boundaries help to set things and people apart, but they also always come with responsibility.
Keeping the Good In and the Bad Out
If we think about the word and concept of ‘boundaries’ we normally tend to attach a negative connotation to it. Boundaries close other people off, they keep others outside, they don’t allow anyone to come in.
Boundaries force me to push others away, box myself in, maybe even stay away from things, people, and places.
One of the most interesting things for me to learn on this boundaries journey was a new understanding of the concept ‘boundary’.
Yes, sometimes it means to say NO to people.
Yes, sometimes it means to stay away from things and places.
Yes, sometimes it means closing off.
Boundaries are created to keep out the bad things that destroy our souls and lives.
We need to understand that boundaries are there to protect.
They tell us who we are, so we can enjoy and live in freedom. They give us a safe space to live and act.
They inspire us to take risks with people and life, and rise above ourselves.
But they also tell us who we aren’t, so we don’t outstretch ourselves.
They prevent us from burning out in exhaustion.
They enable us to maintain good treasures and don’t throw them away in vain.
Take a closer look at boundaries in nature today. Pay attention to stop signs or other signs saying something about personal property.
What are some of the good things you want to protect in your life?