Boundaries are hard.
And this post is hard to write because boundaries are something that are easy for me to teach and preach but hard for me to submit to in my own life.
Because I’m a people pleaser.
And there are expectations on me and I want to meet them because then people will need me and want me around and I will be valuable to them.
And that’s messed up and messy and a miserable place to be.
And I thought I had all this all figured out.
God, Family, Other stuff.
But I didn’t. My head had all this figured out but my will and my treasure was not focused in these directions.
God, Family, Other stuff.
This was not the order. The order became other stuff, family, God, sometimes.
I have boundaries like our old Basset Hound, Zelda, had boundaries. If you know anything about hounds, they get the scent, put their head down, and follow, boundaries be darned.
Following it through traffic, through staff rooms and mail rooms. It’s a climbing-on-top-of-1997-Ford-Mustangs-to-scale-6-foot-fences-with-your-4-inch-legs kind of following.
And that’s what I was doing. I was following a goal to the good of that goal and the detriment of everything else. Because that’s how it happens for me sometimes, and maybe it happens for you, that all the things are good things but all the good things are in the wrong order.
And the good things take the place of the best things.
So I found myself weeping on a stool in our garage as my husband gently reminded me that saying no is sometimes the most loving and holy thing you can do for yourself.
That saying no to the outward expectations and yes to the long-term potential for family memories is a sacred space and healing place.
That the outside world and my world would not crash and burn if they did not intersect for one day.
Because if you’re like me, then you begin to believe the lie that the things that bring you accolades are the same that bring you nourishment.
That the approval of one who seems great is not worth disappointing the heart of the one that is tiny and trusting.
When I turn my heart to what is the less permanent treasure, when I lose sight of the God then family, I lose focus and direction.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Sitting on that too tall for comfort garage stool I realized that my focus was outside-in and backwards. That I was so tied up in outward expectations that inwardly I was slowly wasting away. And the decisions I was making, so concerned about doing my duty, for being accountable to what I had signed up for, were decisions that meant saying no to the nourishment from God and nourishing of family.
I was all wrong and boundary-less.
My heart and my head needed to align. My sight needed to focus in on the one who creates and gives life.
And I needed to re-draw the boundary lines in my memory and intentions.
To remember that the fleeting Samaritan interaction does not compare with the memory stored in a child’s heart.
To remember that I am God’s treasure stored in this jar of clay. That I am free to choose, free to seek and strive.
That I am freed to be free of the outward expectation when it does not align with the still small voice heard in the quiet seeking.
The tears on the garage stool were healing, full of purpose and repentance.
Because that’s what Jesus offers when we need to reorient and walk our boundary lines. Direction, clarity, courage, and sure-footed peace.