The issue of “boundaries” has come up over and over again over the past few weeks and I find it a really interesting paradox.
I was listening to a podcast not long ago and I heard mention of the pop psychology concept of “boundaries,” said with the same kind of mild disdain I feel about the whole matter. A pastor I adore recently spoke of boundaries, too. The other day I said, “uh no.” a form of setting a boundary, and I inadvertently created a firestorm of melodrama. It’s a bit comical in the sense that I thought nothing of it, like just simply “no.” I mean really, how much trouble can a two letter word really cause?
Bahahaha. Uh yeah. Quite a bit of trouble apparently.
I have an exceeding dislike for the pop culture notion of “boundaries” and a great love for the biblical notion. There is a huge difference and I’m not quite sure exactly what it is, but it IS. The bible has this lovely bit of wisdom in Proverbs 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
That is one profound little Proverb, let me tell you. He that hath no rule over his own spirit shall henceforth be known as road pizza. Fresh meat. Collateral damage. A bit of flotsam caught in the tide of life. You are completely unprotected, like a babe in the woods. Been there and done that. I have the tee-shirt to prove it.
Or perhaps the more aggressive form of having “no rule over your own spirit” would be a bully. Just an unprotected city of constant hostility with a powerful need to rob others of any power you might find potentially threatening.
One issue I have with the pop psychology version is that it simply says, “build walls.” Absent the spiritual you have no spirit to rule over, so you know, just build bigger walls. Pretty soon we are all just hiding behind our walls, feeling quite isolated and terrified. But Jesus Christ didn’t build walls and He is NOT now sitting up behind a great big wall. He actually rules. He is seated in victory…..with His arms wide open to us.
We were designed to rule. I really believe that. We were actually designed to rule in victory, seated right next to Jesus Christ. So when we can turn to Him and allow Him to lead us in learning how to rule over our own spirit, we can create spiritual and emotional safety in our lives. You just can’t do that by throwing up walls. Walls can be scaled or knocked down. Then there are these Trojan horses…..but I digress.
It occurs to me that while I am busy pondering the nature of boundaries, walls, and genuine rule over your own spirit in a much more personal context, our nation as a whole is having a much larger conversation about a wall and some boundaries. I don’t wish to go all political here. Ha! Mostly on account of the fact that there seems to be quite a few people with some very limited rule over their own spirits and that always creates a huge emotional mess.
No condemnation intended. A huge emotional mess can be a beautful thing, it just makes internet communication very challenging.
I just happen to believe that this is a necessary and vital discussion to be having, that it is okay to say “no,” and that the key to life is to not reactively just throw up another wall, but to actually learn how to, rule over your own spirit. Start there and the rest just has a way of falling right into place.