Monthly Archives: May 2017

Boundaries Are Healthy

When I was a young girl, my parents installed an above ground pool.  They taught us how to swim and wanted us to have some summer fun as a family.  Having that pool in the summer was like heaven on earth.  It kept us constructively busy.  There were strict rules about pool safety, especially when friends were invited over.

I remember not long after the pool went up, my dad put up a tall wooden fence.  It was so high that someone would need a ladder to be able to look over it.  The fence had panels with very little space in between the slats so that nobody could look through and see the pool or the space around it.  It had a lock so that people could be kept out.  The temptation of pool access to neighborhood kids while we were not home was a concern.

Fences serve a practical purpose.  They indicate boundaries.  It is a signal to people that there is a line that cannot be crossed without permission or invitation. It guards privacy and protects outsiders from danger or getting hurt.

There are other fences that are invisible to the naked eye.  They are called boundaries.  These are things we permit or do not permit in our personal space.  As long as they are used in a healthy manner, boundaries are good things.

When we don’t have boundaries, or don’t enforce our boundaries, then we fall into unhealthy relationships and behaviors.  For instance, not setting boundaries can cause people to not be able to make decisions, not able to say no to people, believe that their happiness depends on others, and it can cause a person to feel sad and angry all the time…to name a few things.  None of these things are healthy.

When we set our own personal boundaries, we are able to protect ourselves from being hurt physically or emotionally.  We can also set the tone of a relationship by allowing the things we we want to allow and not allowing those things we don’t want.

It is important that in setting our boundaries that they are strong, but also show caring and respect for others.  Boundaries allow us to take responsibility for our actions, how we feel and what we do.  It also keeps us from thinking that others are responsible for how we feel, think and what we do.

It is just as important that we respect the boundaries of others.  When we do not, we are being manipulative and controlling.  When we respect the boundaries of others, we are building a strong relationship, building trust and showing that we care.

A fence or boundary is meant to protect and keep something or someone safe no matter what side of that boundary they are on.  When it is used for something else, it is not being used appropriately.  As we set our boundaries, we need to make sure that they are based on what the Lord would have us to do.

The Lord also respects boundaries.  He will only cross over our boundary if invited.  And He has set boundaries for us, and these boundaries are written in the Bible.  All relationships have boundaries.  Have a rocky or difficult relationship?  Perhaps it is time to take a look at your boundaries and see if they are in line with what the Lord would have for your life.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5


 

Pot of Gold

My mother told us kids that leprechauns put a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.   Of course, we kids were young and gullible and believed what she said.  We really wanted to get that pot of gold and thought of ways to spend it. Every time we saw a rainbow, the end was always too far away!

Then one day while the sun was out, there was a light rain.  A rainbow began to form close to our house.  I looked outside and could see that it ended near our woods.  I called my siblings to the window.  We were so excited and went and told my mother!  She told us to go out and see if we could get that pot of gold, and off we went.

The closer we got to the rainbow’s end, the more hope we had.  We tried to reach the end but it kept moving!  However, we got close enough to observe there was nothing at its end.  When we came back empty-handed, Mom said that someone had beat us to it.  Of course, now I know that my mother sent us outside, hoping for some peace and quiet.

Just because there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow doesn’t make it any less extraordinary.  Today when I see a rainbow, I’m reminded of God and His promise to Noah.  After the Great Flood, God promised Noah that He would never destroy the whole Earth by water again.  He set the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of this covenant.

Rainbows are a delight to our eyes.  When it appears, we can’t help but admire the beauty and majesty it radiates.  We point out a rainbow to others, photograph it, and watch it for as long as it is within our view.  I know I am thrilled when I see one, and I get a feeling of well-being and hope.

God knew what He was doing when He created rainbows.   A rainbow is caused by white light (sunlight) hitting a raindrop and refracting into different colors.  He takes something simple and turns it into something extraordinary.  It is no accident that a rainbow is caused by the meeting of both the sun and the rain.  A rainbow cannot form during a deluge from a cloud filled sky.  Only God could create something like that.

A rainbow reminds me that God always honors His promises.  It is probably why I feel so much hope when I see one.  The Bible is filled with His promises and when I need reassurance, I can look them up and read them with confidence, knowing that He honors His word.  When we pray His promises, there is power in our prayers.

I think of how Noah’s faith saved his family from destruction.  Faith has extreme power.  We may see it as a white light, but God sees a bow of various colors.  Our faith is a beautiful sight to Him.  He will honor it for He knows it’s harder to believe in what is not seen than what is seen.  It is our way to show our love for Him.   Our faith, like Noah’s, will help us navigate the raging storms of life and allow us to see the rainbow at the end of it all.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Genesis 9:12-15