We all have certain boundaries in our lives. They will differ from person to person, not only in terms of where the lines are drawn, but whether they are drawn at all.
Some people know exactly what they’ll do in every situation they could possibly encounter but others will not draw their boundary lines until they face the issue that needs to be decided upon.
But isn’t this only natural? Surely we only find our limits and the actions we are comfortable carrying out by encountering new situations? There are going to gaps in our boundaries until we find ourselves at one of the gaps and need to fill it in, that’s how it works isn’t it?
Well, many people do work like this, though I’d suggest it may not work very well for them.
I believe there’s a much better way: knowing all your boundaries by deciding them in advance is a powerful way of protecting yourself before you have to face a difficult or tempting decision and I hope to show you why.
We are probably aware of the sexual boundaries we have as we are often tempted to cross them in our society today.
Most of us will have thought at some point about what we consider to be acceptable sexually and then tried our best not to cross these lines. In some cases we may have had the wisdom to draw the line long before the temptation encouraged us to cross it, but in other cases it’s likely we only really thought about whether to do something or not at the instant the opportunity presented itself to us.
Of course, it’s not just in the area of sex that we need to decide upon boundaries.
There are many moral and ethical issues, a variety of social and relational situations and hundreds of legal and biblical scenarios in which we must decide what we consider to be right or wrong.
Take Time to Think
From the largest life changing conundrums to the smallest seemingly insignificant day-to-day choices, it’s always better to think about things in advance.
In the clear light of day when we are alert, detached from the situation and unaffected by all the emotional and relational pressures of a particular issue, this is the best time to think about what we should do in one scenario and why that’s the best course of action.
We don’t always have this luxury, of course, but it’s far better to have thought about what guiding principles we made our decisions by and how they apply to the many things we may face as time ticks by. The alternative is to wait for them to confront us with shocking suddenness (often with no warning at all) and then try and engage in some kind of intense intellectual exercise, all while dealing with the issue and the difficulties it brings.
When a decision requires a quick response, or when a situation evokes strong feelings or emotions that can obscure our judgements, we can end up wishing we had thought about things beforehand.
It is at those moments we wish we had more time to think. The reality is however, that we have plenty of time – and that time is now.
If you haven’t yet thought about what you’d do in a particular situation, let me encourage you to spend some time doing that now.
Think about how you should react and why. Decide now, so that when something appears before you, or some thought pops into your head, when an opportunity presents itself or a possibility in terms of word or deed suddenly arises, you will know already what is right to do. You won’t be swayed by anything else that comes along with it.
You’ll know in advance where you’ve drawn the boundary lines, you’ll be confident in the reason for drawing those lines, and most importantly, you’ll stick to them… or at least you’ll be much better prepared for doing so.
[Continue this series: Part Two]