Lesson # 3 Setting Boundaries
I walked into my garden today to find one of my chickens digging up my freshly planted lettuce. That was just the motivation I needed to finish painting the pickets for my garden fence. I love my chickens, but they are wreaking havoc in my garden! I am happy to say that these mess makers are finally fenced out of my produce.
Since I will be speaking on relationships soon, I have been studying the Romans 12 passage that outlines how to do relationships God's way. Verse 16 says, "Live in harmony with one another.” So often, we have trouble living in harmony with others because we fail to have boundaries in place. God never says that we should just open every part of our lives to each person we come in contact with, nor does He say we should be willing to let anyone trample over us.
It is wise to set boundaries, even with the ones we love. Just as my chickens are an important part of my life, many people are important to me. But also like my chickens, I shouldn't let everyone free range in all parts of my life. I have found this to be especially true with my students. Though I consider them like my children, is not wise or appropriate for me to allow them open access to my personal life. My own children mean the world to me, but there are times and places that are reserved for just Jerry and I. My husband and I are one, but even that relationship should not overshadow my time with God.
I found myself becoming angry with my chickens when they made a mess in my garden, but I realized that this wasn't fair since I had not set proper boundaries for them. Without a fence in place, I couldn't expect my feathered friends to know what was acceptable to me. Likewise, I can't expect the people in my life to know my boundaries if I do not make them clear.
Boundaries help others to know and understand our expectations and limitations. They are not just fences meant to exclude people, they are borders set to protect us and the people we love from trampling our tender growth and the vine that produces our fruit.
Now that my fence is in place, my chickens can wander around the yard, enjoying their freedom, but staying out of my garden! Now, if I could just keep the birds out of my blackberries!