Guard your heart and live free!

How Are You Managing the Boundaries in Your Life?

Sunday Scripture

“Don’t go past the birch tree!” I called to my sons whenever they played in the front yard. The boundary gave them plenty of room to play, but kept them well away from the road. We settled disputes over taking turns with a timer–twenty minutes for one brother’s turn and then a quick reset for the next brother. Later, we reminded teen sons with driver’s licenses about their 11:00 curfew.

Boundaries are a big deal when we’re raising children, and they’re a big deal in the Old Testament, particularly in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 3 is not exactly the stuff of which a “life verse” is made, and maybe you’d be tempted to skip the chapter all together, but let me point out one phrase that keeps recurring throughout:

“They laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.”

Nehemiah 3:3, 6, 13-15

What’s the point of a walled city if the gates are not secure?

Five times in Nehemiah’s counter-clockwise tour of the wall we are confronted:

Shore them up!  Every beam; every door; every bolt; every bar, not just for the glory of Old Jerusalem, but for the glory of God, who is, after all, the Center, the focus of Nehemiah’s renovation.

What About YOUR Boundaries?

How are you managing the “GATES” in your life?
What enters your seeing, hearing, tasting, touching?
As mothers, we faithfully oversee the boundaries for our kids, but we have gates, too…

How are you managing your boundaries? What enters your seeing, hearing, tasting, touching? What are you allowing in and out? As mothers, we faithfully oversee the boundaries for our kids, but we have gates, too.

What are you allowing in and out? “Mindless entertainment” can seem harmless enough, unless we remember those wide-open gates. Friendships, conversations, media, reading material–either they are uplifting, truth-telling, life-giving, or they are soul-corroding.

Eugene Peterson put it succinctly:

Where there is no center, there is no circumference,”

And how we need a circumference–

A boundary–

Not to hem us in, suffocation-style,

But to correct our warped geometry,

To free us up,

To establish the playing field:

“Here is the goal.”

“This is my responsibility. Someone else will cover that area.”

After all, didn’t original sin sprout from the refusal of a boundary?

What if, instead of an outreached hand to harvest death,

Eve’s response had been,

“Let me not be like unto God.  Let me be instead what I was created to be.

Let Me Be a Woman”?

Today, and everyday, let me secure the gates.

Guard your heart and live free!

All day long we choose

With eyes, ears, lips, fingers —

Trivial pursuits, mindless entertainment,

The gates wide-open to the corrosion of our souls.

Lay the beams, tighten the bolts and bars.

Guard your heart and live free !

Praying for you in 2021,

Friendships, conversations, media, reading material–either they are uplifting, truth-telling, life-giving, or they are soul-corroding.
How are you managing the “gates” in your life?

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65 thoughts on “How Are You Managing the Boundaries in Your Life?”

  1. “Friendships, conversations, media, reading material–either they are uplifting, truth-telling, life-giving, or they are soul-corroding.” That it in a nutshell! They are never inactive in our lives and it is wise for us to take stock of their impact.


  2. Boundaries are a big deal when you are teaching too (as I am sure you find out as a substitute teacher). It may seem like a contradiction that we need those boundaries to live freely, but we do. Thank you for the good reminder to pay attention to what we are allowing inside our gates.


  3. You’ve given us three terrific terms, Michele, to help us make our choices within God’s all-wise boundaries: Is it uplifting, truth-telling, and life-giving,? The result will be a healthier mind and spirit–a worthy goal to pursue. I’m writing those down on a Post-It, to live here in my desk area as a frequent reminder!


  4. I believe children really long for the security of boundaries and we adults think we don’t need them but we definitely do as well!


  5. Setting boundaries this way can be so challenging, but I am always glad when I do. Leaving social media was a part of this for me, and I immediately found that my thought pattern changed, and that I had a lot more faith.


  6. Boundaries are a good thing as I always thought it shows concern and love. God has given boundaries because of his Love. I set boundaries because I loved my children and wanted the best for their welfare, and the same for myself.


    1. So true, and somehow we are most reluctant to set those boundaries for ourselves. I know for me, it’s a fear of being “selfish,” when actually, accepting my limitations is one way of honoring God who alone is unlimited!


  7. I’m always puzzled when supposed “mature” adults fight against setting healthy boundaries. It is even worse if someone else suggests it. I had to completely cut off a relationship of over 20 years becasue they refused to respect the boundaries that my husband & I set. It was painful but necessary.


  8. Perfect post for the first of the year, Michele! Well, really all year-’round! Regardless, there’s something so crucial to starting our year, or new day, with the right boundaries in place in marriage, parenthood, and life! Pinning!


  9. Thanks for the reminder, Michele. Boundaries are important. We sometimes forget that they need re-evaluating from time to time. It can be hard at times to set new boundaries but I often find after I do that I wish that I had set them sooner.



  10. Speaking as a mother and a teacher, I strongly believe boundaries are necessary, and I agree with what Elizabeth above said about boundaries giving a sense of security .


  11. It is hard to determine what is our responsibility and when we might be interfering in others’. Thanks for the lovely post.


  12. I used to think of rules and boundaries as negative. Kill joys. But now I see them as life giving. Freedom. Healthy relationships have boundaries. Unhealthy ones don’t. God has boundaries with us. We have boundaries with our kids. And we need boundaries with our self. Otherwise our choices are not so wise and we just wander into things not benefiting us. My trouble is saying no to good things with loved ones when I don’t have the time. That is my current boundary I am learning to manage.


    1. When you figure out that current boundary struggle, write a post about it, okay? That’s where I’m working, too. There are just so many things that NEED doing–all of them good–and I keep raising my hand…
      Thanks for sharing your good thoughts here!


  13. Michele, as my boys grow into older teens, the challenge has been in knowing which boundaries to widen and which boundaries to abolish and which ones still need to remain firmly in place. They constantly push against some of them. I find myself praying that they will learn to live within God’s boundaries. And I need to aspire to be the woman who sets boundaries on what I will watch and read and listen to. You’re so right. When we guard our hearts we choose life and freedom.


    1. I found that the “letting go” process for my four sons was different with each one. I’d like to think that it was because I was responding to their needs, but I think the main reason was that I had so much learning to do along the way.


  14. Hi Michele, yes! Working on my boundaries is definitely an ongoing journey. For me, it was journaling that really helped me understand my triggers and how setting boundaries more clearly would help me better manage those triggers. I feel a lot more stable but it’s always a work in progress 😉 #MondayMusings


  15. Thank you for these good words. I confess I did not read the responses. I have a sick puppy who had surgery today ad she is leaning against my leg and whimpering, a high pitched keening. . Silly of me to expect to get anything done tonight, but I wanted to read through a few more posts and comment. Your post on Boundaries reminds me of an old computer phrase, ‘Garbage in, Garbage out.” I think your comments on those things that we let in, perhaps mindlessly, like the jokes we listen to or shows we watch, or other entertainments as though they were harmless, that can really hurt the soul. Thanks and blessings, Michele


  16. Boundaries are a huge deal when dealing with kids… and yet those boundary lines rarely are fixed like a wall. As they age and naturally push the boundaries we have to find ways to encourage them to do that safely. It can be such a difficult balancing act. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.


  17. Boundaries are important for children and adults alike. Adults need boundaries to reduce what they are exposed to, including social media and people in their circle! Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend!


  18. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn


  19. I hadn’t thought of a boundary as something that could free you. What an interesting insight. Lockdown has definitely made mine a bit too flimsy. I’m going to spend a bit of time focusing on re building them a bit over the weekend. Thank you for joining us for #MischiefAndMemories


  20. I think that boundaries are essential for kids for safety and as they learn to navigate the world, but as we currently live with so many boundaries due to lockdown I am keen to have more freedom 😉 As a grown up I set myself boundaries with things like social media so I can be more present and mindful #MischiefAndMemories

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is such a big and wide subject, for me recently I am thinking of what I allow into my mind that can influence me to not think and act in a Godly manner. I am very concerned for children who have their minds bombarded digitally or any other way that the wiles of the enemy can influence them. May Christian parents have the courage to set boundaries to protect their children. We are honoured to feature your post in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.


  22. Boundaries are so important, and good to reset them every now and then. My work boundaries are creeping and creeping, and it’s true they become taken as the new normal. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo


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