How many times have you seen a No Trespassing sign in the past year? Even here in wide open Wyoming, we have those signs. Of course, here, there’s usually a public road that goes through the land, which we can drive on but cannot fish, hunt, camp, or do anything but drive through if we stay on the road.
Many times, a barrier might seem offensive to us, but as in our interstate, which goes just south of the town, I really love seeing those high fences on either side. It means the mule deer, pronghorn, moose, and elk are less likely to be on the road when we’re driving at night. Not totally unlikely, but less likely.
The rock fence Mel is standing in front of, for instance, might have saved many a hiker from falling to his or her death far below.
We all have boundaries in our lives. Our own skin is a boundary that keeps us safe from the world around us. Our home is a boundary where strangers cannot come in and take over our lives–or shouldn’t. And in most states, we have the right to stop them if they try.
There are other boundaries that are more subtle. For instance, when I was a teen in school, sometimes I would make friends with someone who crossed my personal boundaries, trying to force me to break the moral code with which I was raised. If I ignored their demands, they would verbally abuse me. Now, I was often a wild child as a teenager, but even then, I had a certain independence that helped me keep some boundaries up and resist others when they tried to force their will on me. I lost friends this way, but really? Were they friends in the first place?
I belong to a group of women who like to study the Bible together, and this fall we’re studying the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I’ve read and studied this book three times now, and I learn something new every time. Cloud and Townsend teach us how to allow God to control our lives, and how to resist the control others attempt to force on us. I have learned that my independence in many instances is not selfish at all, but allows me to do what God called me to do, and not be derailed by those who would attempt to wrest control of my life from God’s hands.
In fact, just recalling what I learned from this book before has helped me realize that I’m allowing all kinds of distractions into my life that have kept me from my true calling, which is writing. I may lose friends because I won’t have as much time for other activities, but I have a feeling my true friends will gladly accept and enjoy the real me.
How about you? Are there places in your life where others–friends, family, even pets–have managed to gain the upper hand and distracted you from your true self? Your true calling? Why don’t you join us and study Boundaries and see how to reset the controls in your own life?