My friend Cortney (at left), who my entire family adores, went above and beyond and wrote pretty much a book on the subject!! So, I thought I'd honor her and let everyone in on it ... yep, it is that good!!
Take it away Cort:
This topic of boundaries can get me going in about a million directions ... here are two:
I was at Missionfest in February and Floyd McClung was speaking and said, "If we fear man, we will not fear God". That totally stopped me because I don't consider myself a person who would "fear man", but there are things in this world that I avoid or shy away from. Things like conflict and everything else! If we fear conflict or being hurt by someone through betrayal, disappointment, anything and everything ... will we truly fear God? Those are just some thoughts.
My other coherent/incoherent thought on boundaries comes out of a different pile of writings. If you want a truly simple yet astoundingly powerful book to use in a sermon or with a bunch of kids - Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt is phenomenal!!
This is a kids book about a squirrel that has never ventured out of his nut tree. He's happy with it because there's things in the "great unknown" that are scary (green martians, germs, poison ivy, killer bees, sharks, etc...). He even has an emergency pack full of things that will help him if he ever falls out of his nut tree (hand sanitizer, calamine lotion, bug spray, a parachute, etc...).
Anyways, to make a long story short, Scaredy falls out of the tree (accidentally losing his emergency pack in the process) and finds out that he's a flying squirrel. He realizes that the great unknown is not such a scary place and returns to his nut tree with a renewed sense of adventure.
Boundaries are like Scaredy's nut tree: too often they define our world, who we are, what we stand for (or what we stand for is a reflection of our boundaries). People will create personal emergency kits to deal with unexpected happenings in their lives (defense mechanisms, ditch, shut down). I think that boundaries hold us back from what God would have us experience. A full life in Christ - the wild ride of pursuing Him.
Here's where it is for me ...
There is no growth without risk.
Scaredy could have lived his life within his boundaries, safe, secure. but risking (even though it wasn't his choice) showed him a world that God had made and a life that he didn't expect (really, don't we all want to be able to fly?). We don't serve a safe God, and we don't serve a God who's tied down by our reasonings. We serve a God that will take us on the ride of our lives ... beyond our imagination and show us things that will change us forever!!
So, I'd better shut up now. Seriously though - buy that book!! I had to order it from Chapters. Oh - and sorry for this novel. I just love talking about fear and risk.