By Kelly Carr
It seems to be human nature to not want to be restricted. Cole Porter wrote the song “Don’t Fence Me In,” and that’s the mindset of many people when they hear about rules or boundaries set in place.
But boundaries aren’t always bad.
• Every game, from chess to tennis to Minecraft, has physical boundaries and also rules for play. Those regulations are set up to challenge and provide order for the game.
• If you’ve ever overseen a group of children, whether in a classroom, on a youth group outing, or in your own house, you know rules and boundaries are mandatory for their safety (and your sanity!).
• In this issue of The Lookout, we will examine why it’s good when we create boundaries in our personal lives as well.
Boundary Maker or Breaker?
Some people struggle to say no when asked to do anything—whether it’s something they have time and energy for or not. They don’t want to disappoint anyone. Nancy Hoag shares her testimony about this very struggle on page 6. If you’re in this category, I hope you find something in these pages to help remove the guilt you feel.
Some people find it easy to say no when others ask them to do things they don’t want to do. In fact, they may pass off more than their share onto others, thus becoming reasons for others to create boundaries! Amy Simon discusses this a bit in her article on page 8. If you’re in this category I hope you find some reminders to check your words and actions and keep in mind how they affect others.
Let’s All Agree
But in truth, we all find ourselves feeling intruded upon and also intruding upon others now and then. That’s how community works, I suppose. How about we all agree together: let’s not be afraid to say no and let’s also not be offended when others have to say no to us.
We’ve been on both sides. We’ve felt the struggle to find volunteers and everyone around can’t participate for one reason or another. We’ve also all been in a situation when we think if we take on one more task, we might implode and/or not see our friends and families for another month. Karen O’Connor shows us some great benefits—that are even biblical!—of having boundaries in our lives on page 3.
So let’s allow this idea to infiltrate our minds with each new request we receive or make. We just can’t do it all. And when we give our time and energy to the most important things, those relationships and events and experiences will thrive.
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