When I was in college, my life felt massively complicated and chaotic. My schedule was go go go with very little room for rest, I was pouring into people left and right, and I had a pitifully weak ability to say “no”. Because my life had no margin, I would go through crushing periods of depression and lethargy because my body and spirit weren’t being taken care of. My sleep schedule was nonexistent, leading to many mornings where I was late for class because I’d tried to pull yet another all-nighter. My friendships frayed around the edges, because I was trying to be too much to too many people and I also needed too much from too few.
Does any of this sound familiar to you, friend?
Boundaries are like a fence around a yard. My life in college had no “fence”, so people came in and out of my yard and took whatever they needed. Because I didn’t know where my “yard” ended and someone else’s began, I believed it was my responsibility to take care of every single need or hurt I saw.
My lack of boundaries made life exhaustingly complicated.
To simplify our lives, we must, must, MUST have boundaries. We must have fences that protect us from things and people that are unhealthy and unnecessary. Boundaries keep the clutter and overgrowth out of our lives. They also keep the clarity and sanity in our lives.
In her book 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, Joyce Meyer says, “We must remember we are called by God to follow Him and walk in wisdom. We are not called or required to let other people dictate to us what we must do to keep them happy.” In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. While God does call us to do hard things and He does allow us to walk through complicated situations, He never asks anything of us that is unhealthy or unnecessary.
I’m not saying that we ought to become selfish or gluttonously self-absorbed in the name of simplicity. I am saying that we ought to concern ourselves more with what God wants us to be doing rather than what other people want us to be doing. We are to be obedient to God and His calling on our lives, not other people and their calling on our lives. While we cannot always trust other people and the things they ask of us, we can always trust God.
Again, this ties back to the Gospel. A lack of boundaries in our lives is often indicative of believing lies or succumbing to fears. We say “yes” to unhealthy things that other people ask of us because we feel a need for their approval, instead of being satisfied in the approval that God has for us because of Jesus’ work on the Cross. We are afraid that the world will fall apart without our intervention, so we try and save everyone and everything around us instead of trusting that God can and will take care of it.
When you set and maintain good boundaries, you are putting up wise fences around the yard of your life. Wise boundaries lead to abundant simplicity. When you are following the calling that God has on your life and saying “yes” to the things that He has for you, you can trust that He will take care of the rest.