I asked my husband Allen to weigh in on boundaries and share his perspective as a pastor.
Here's what he has to say...
"Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." -Jesus
I used to hate boundaries. They were there to keep me from the really fun stuff. So restrictive. So uncomfortable. The grass is always greener on the other side of the boundary, right? I have since learned that the reason the grass is greener is because there is more poop over there. Boundaries are healthy. They actually give more freedom and less stress. Like a dog on a leash. The leash is there to protect, not prohibit. The dog can do anything he wants within those boundaries, and the boundaries keep the dog from being road kill. I dont want my marriage to end up road kill, so we created boundaries. They are changing as we grow together, and I am enjoying them more and more.
Amy did a great job laying some of them out last week, and as she said, this is a ginormous topic that could be written about for years. I would definitely encourage you to take an older couple to dinner (you pay) and spend an evening talking through specific boundaries for your season of life.
I would like to add one more for you to consider. It is a mindset as well as a boundary. As a pastor, specifically in student ministry, this little nugget im about to share has transformed my thought process. It is so simple, yet so challenging. It is easy and convicting. Yet when done with consistency, can be very freeing. Ready for this piece of gold? It is simply…
When you say YES to something, you are saying NO to something (or someone) else. Every time.
Can you come speak at this event? YES!
Will you help me get this done? YES!
Can you come to my game, play, show, recital? YES!
Hey man, want to go play golf on your day off? YES!
I know its not your area, but can you and the youth watch kids so we can have a bible study? YES!
I got tickets to this event, lets go. YES!
I need you to come fix this emergency right now. YES!
I'm tired, I just need to veg out and play video games. YES!
With every YES, there is always a NO.
NO, I wont be home on time for dinner.
NO, I cant get that done tonight, I'm too busy.
NO, there's not a ticket for you.
NO, it's just a guy thing.
NO, I can't just sit with you, they need me.
NO, not today, but I promise I will tomorrow/next week/next month/next year.
I cant tell you how many times I let the invitation of others needs/situations/emergencies/games/golf/"please help me" become the driving force of what my answer will be. It's a simple YES or NO, but it has an incredible ripple effect.
I want to challenge your thinking when it comes to your YES and NO. When you say YES to something or somebody, somebody else is getting your NO. It may never be said out loud but be assured it is heard loud and clear every time. And over time, it can cause distance and frustration and hurt and anger and resentment. It doesnt start that way, but if you are not careful it will end up there, and that is not a pleasant destination.
So get your spouse, grab an older, wiser couple and make a night of talking YES's and NO's. Listen with an open mind and not get defensive about how important all "those things" are. Yes we are called to be Jesus in skin to people and to serve like Jesus did. Just remember that the highest priority people that need you to serve them and be Jesus in skin to them live in your house. And you dont want to come home to road kill for supper.
Much love and blessings,