Boundaries Are a Blessing
Boundaries Keep Good Things In and Bad Things Out
We recently moved from Maryland to Colorado and began a new adventure in a place we had never lived. We were both excited and a little anxious to get settled into a new neighborhood after spending the past 18 years in the same home. It was a huge change.
When we moved into our house, the backyard was missing two things — a fence and landscaping. There was no grass yet, so dust and mud were everywhere. Because of that, we were unable to let the dogs out of the house into the backyard. They would have made an incredible mess, and we would also take the risk that they might run into the street and get hurt or lost. Finally, after several weeks, we had a new lawn and the fence was installed. There was only one problem. There were still two large openings in the fence where the dogs could get loose. As a result, we still had to keep the dogs on a leash until it was completed.
Once the fence was done, we let the dogs out and they had a blast, running from end to end and exploring every square inch of the backyard. They were finally free — free to run and play without any fear, and without the possibility of tracking mud into the house. It was a joy to watch.
God Designed Boundaries as a Blessing
We often think of boundaries as restrictive instead of freeing. We think limits prevent us from having fun or might make us miss out on something. But just like our fence, God designed boundaries as a blessing. In the garden of Eden, He only withheld the fruit of one tree from Adam and Eve. When they broke that barrier by eating the apple, they felt shame and had to hide. For the first time they experienced separation from the One who created them.
In our families, kids often don’t like the limits that their parents put on them. Think about the limits set for the amount of time spent using technology, which friends to hang out with, the clothes worn or even the shows watched. It’s easy to be frustrated by these boundaries, but usually those limits are there for a reason. And most often it’s for our good.
In sports, without boundaries it wouldn’t be very fun, entertaining or safe to play the sport. Think about it. Can you imagine what it would be like to play or even watch a game of football, soccer, baseball, tennis — you name it — if there weren’t any lines? It would become total chaos, and no one would know how to play the game. But with boundaries, the players can be incredibly creative and show their skills and talents. The games become fun to watch.
Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27)
In the above verses from Proverbs 4, we are given simple boundaries that lead to life. We are told to guard our heart, be careful with our words, keep on the straight path and be mindful of where we go. These boundaries bring life and help us to live a life that is pleasing to God.
A Good Fence Gives Freedom
God gives us boundaries for our benefit and blessing. Boundaries protect us from dangerous things and give us incredible freedom to enjoy everything within the boundaries. Everything God designs is for our good and His glory.
In Exodus Chapter 20, we read about the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. The first four tell us how to love God. The last six tell us how to love each other. These boundaries are designed not as a list of dos and don’ts, but instead as a pathway to life and freedom. God’s ways are always best.
We have two ways that we can look at the fences or boundaries in our lives. One way is to look at them as something that is restrictive. Those boundaries are there to keep you from all the fun stuff. They are meant to punish you and serve to remind you of all the things that you can’t do. When we have this perspective, we tend to rebel and find ways around, over or through the fences. We want to do whatever we want to do, when we want to do it. In the end, we believe that whoever put up that fence did it to punish us. We see it as a bad thing.
But a second way to look at fences and boundaries is to see them as something that allows us great freedom and joy. It creates a safe area where we can explore and have adventures. It gives us a space to be fully alive and creative. A place where we can fulfill our potential and become our best for God. Instead of reminding us of all the “can’t dos,” we are blessed by all the “can dos.” When we have this perspective, we experience protection and blessing and can live without regret. We see the fence as a good thing.
Jimmy Page serves as the Divisional Vice President for the West for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As a 20-year leader in health care, he and his wife are co-founders of an innovative cancer foundation, Believe Big. Page is the author of several books and speaks for companies, teams, schools and non-profits around the world. Follow him @jimmypage37 or email to email@example.com.