Tank: Target, Skirt: H&M, Flannel (similar): H&M, Purse (similar): Target, Sunnies: Target
Typically, when I think of boundaries, I think of walls, rules, and things I can’t do. I’m an unashamed rule-follower and yet I still feel a small ounce of rebellion stir inside when I’m told I can’t do something. That’s the human condition. Rebellion is a greater characteristic in some people versus others, but we all struggle with temptation and we all push (or demolish) boundaries. We don’t enjoy being told no.
As a young child I was the classic annoying kid that would do the total opposite of what my parents told me while never breaking eye contact with them (I clearly needed Jesus). Thank goodness I grew out of that attitude, but like everyone, I’ve struggled with temptations and have absolutely crossed lines I shouldn’t have.
Here’s the thing though: we’ve been given the most helpful tool that lays out how to live our lives. The best instruction manual. Yes I’m talking about the B-I-B-L-E.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Life gets outrageously overwhelming. It’s so easy to feel like you truly have no clue what to do or how you even got to a certain point. The truth is: we need boundaries. We can be so self-destructive, our inner rebel always dying to break free. Even when we feel like we’re content with the boundaries God has laid out, the media, society, and Satan himself is trying to convince you otherwise every day.
“Do whatever you want.” “In the end, it’s all about being happy.” “You’re not hurting anyone.“
The problem with all of these statements is that the focus on you. Yikes. Through pushing too many boundaries in the past and through constant, faithful reminders from God I’ve learned that boundaries provide us with the sweetest freedom and peace. If you’re looking for that, here are a few more thoughts:
1. Boundaries provide direction.
Every time I stray from God, I feel like I’m wandering. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m wandering until I realize how miserable I feel. Anyone else? Living within the boundaries of God removes that from your life. If you want to know if you’re living within God’s boundaries – look to the Bible. Ask yourself, “Is this honoring to God?” “Does this encourage or strengthen fellow believers?” “Does this this reflect Jesus?” And the obvious, solid one, “What does this Bible say about this?” Boundaries take effort. Direction takes effort. Living within the boundaries of God is also a lifelong process. You will be asking yourself those questions for as long as you’re on this earth. Boundaries give us better discernment, which allows us the make the best, most godly decisions. Isn’t that such a relief? I’m so grateful to be bound to a God who will forever seek after me when I’ve wandered too far.
2. Boundaries require a content heart.
You have to know that the boundaries given to us from God aren’t meant to keep us closed in and forced to only live life with other believers. It’s actually the total opposite. These boundaries are meant to guide our actions, thoughts, and passions so that we can best serve and love others. It does mean that your dreams should be God’s dreams. This one is a struggle for me. I have such a dreamer’s mind that I’m constantly looking for adventure, fun plans, and amazing moments. I’m reminded a lot that anything I dream up for myself is never going to be a sweet as what God has planned. This one ties into the idea that we’re supposed to be content with where we’re planted. If we have faith that God’s guided us to a certain place, we’re never going to thrive there unless we’re content. God has such big dreams for each of us and as soon as we align our dreams to His, some amazing things happen.
3. Boundaries are activated by faith.
The whole backbone of having boundaries is having a firm trust that God’s got you – that He’s created parameters that only serve to protect you. When I was younger (and in a rebellious phase) and heard people talk about “living within the boundaries of God” it made me think of a bunch of Christians hanging out in a mansion high-fiving each other for their good deeds. Honestly, it’s more like a training center – does that sound worse to you? It’s not I promise! Living a life within the boundaries of God means living in a way that is the most useful to God. If you’re struggling with something – ask for help from your community. Work hard to heal and be stronger. If you’re not using a certain gift, train up and get out there and use it. If you need rest, find comfort with people you trust. All the while, bring other people in and help them get involved. Faith is active. Faith means you’re doing something. If you’re willing to recognize God as your Lord and Savior, you’re going to live a very full life. It’s going to be tough, you’re going to struggle, but it’s going to be so rich and so full.
Be encouraged, friends. Freedom and peace is readily available for you. Just takes a little faith.
– Caitlin –