Everyone has their own boundaries. You can’t force yours on them. You can’t predict that they can read your mind or heart and voluntarily understand those boundaries. Just because you would trust another person with your life doesn’t mean you’ll let them paint your kitchen hot pink.
Well beyond walls shades, I’m referring to personal boundaries. I seem to get myself in the same predicament time and time again. With people I love. With people I trust. But with people who do not NEED the same boundaries as me. I use the word need with intention, because I do not mean to sound pious.
Maturity is recognizing where one needs boundaries and establishing them while not criticizing others for their lack in that area.
They have boundaries that YOU don’t need.
You may not call them boundaries. Call them convictions. Call them “drawing the line.” Call them what you want. I am not specifically talking about areas of sin, although in one particular boundary of mine, whether it is the universal three-letter word is debatable. I am also not specifically talking about a boundary such as “I don’t eat past 8 at night.” I am not defining boundaries here in terms of “I’m doing this because I want to be able to say I do.”
I am specifically speaking about boundaries that, if properly drawn, will glorify God while simultaneously keeping your flesh in line.
As a young child, I was easily influenced by romances of any sort. I have heard it said once that an image will stick in your mind long after the words are gone. Before I even knew what wisdom really was, I determined to stay away from TV because of the negative affect it had on me. My family and friends thought I was judging them for watching it. That was debatable… because there were some things I would have been able to throw verses at. (Don’t judge people because they sin differently than you, I always say.) But as a whole I was not. I simply knew myself. And I knew the horrible affects that it had on me.
And so, for the ultimate glory of God, and so as not to give the enemy the opportunity to strip me of my weapons for any length of time (as he has done in the past through obsession over something I have watched), I decided to abstain from those types of movies or shows until I was married. The feeling of discontentment and the worry about the future that accompanied it simply was not worth the momentary entertainment.
As recently as a couple months ago, I took a teenager friend of mine to a movie. She left saying it was the best movie ever. All I remember is sitting on lover’s row in the back of the theatre and shrinking down in my seat while watching a sex scene with my pastor’s daughter. My point here is not that she was desensitized or to claim that she condones premarital sex. What I am trying to communicate is this:
I STILL CAN’T HANDLE IT.
It annoys me that I am this way. I have fought with God about why it affects me as it does. It ruins entire movies for me. I completely shut down. And then I rehearse the scenes and compare myself and wonder if I measure up. I doubt my husband’s love for me sans those romantic things and wonder if we will ever be as happy as those people. And you know what makes me the maddest? (Is that a word?) Is that I relinquish territory to the enemy for him to use against me. And I squander time I could be praising God and uplifting His kingdom because I’m wrapped up in my own little world, obsessing about my fault, being angry at how they ruined a perfectly good movie, and drafting letters to Hollywood about how no one’s first kiss is 15.3 minutes long.
But it’s no one’s fault but my own. I don’t have to watch it.
I get to choose. And I do not condemn others who can watch violence, hear language, see more than enough skin, or who recommend them to me. Perhaps it doesn’t affect them. But I answer for me. And like it or not, it affects me.
I would wager to say, especially in this day and age of an alarming percentage of women becoming hooked on pornography, that I am not alone in this. And so I am asking for you to stand with me. Have courage to draw your boundaries…For YOU and no one else. Just bail out on the movie night with your friends. Again, I am not writing this so that you can judge others. Mr. Other doesn’t have the same challenges or areas of temptation as you. For the life of me, I have tried to figure out why this seeming stronghold is here, but regardless, it is my thorn in the flesh. You have one, too. Sometimes, the Bible says moderation. Or pray. And sometimes it says flee. Take courage and recognize your soft spot and flee.
One of my dear friends fled Facebook. I applaud her although her social media presence is missed. Another friend flees buffets. You just simply can’t eat as much as you paid for. Well, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. (Therein lies the problem.) Another friend must have a certain amount of sleep a night and she has it down to the minute. To compromise in this area is to make those around her the next day want to call in sick. COUNT THE COST. Is the consequence worth it to you?
Or, to word it another way: is Jesus worth it to you?
There may be something you can’t avoid. In those cases, get an accountability partner who knows your heart’s desire and will agree with you for the accomplishment of your results. My sweet husband has now gotten to the place that when something comes on the screen that he knows will violate my conscience, he’ll just look at me and say, “You ready for bed?” It endears me to him so much that he cares enough about me to turn off something that doesn’t seemingly bother or affect him.
The older you get, the more you realize that life isn’t fair. And you get over it.
Don’t give over that ground. Our forefathers fought for freedom, and it is a lost meaning on our generation because we haven’t had to fight for anything. But I’m asking you to fight for the freedom God has given you. Freedom to make choices that you know are best for you. Not that are best for everyone else. Not so you can be better than others.
So that you can be a better you. For yourself. For others. For Jesus.