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Boundaries. Not. Barriers.

On my drive home last week, I did some thinking. As I was mentally going through my to do list, I realized I had a lot more “to do” than I thought. I came to the conclusion that I was going to grocery shop, do six loads of laundry, pay bills, BLOG, read, make a few phone calls, and of course do all the everyday mommy things all before going to church that evening. I planned it out hour by hour and it seems feasible. My thoughts turned into prayers as I asked God to help me achieve all that I had to do that day. As I was praying I sensed God impressing on my heart these words, “boundaries not barriers.” I must have heard it four or five times and each time I felt it deeper and deeper. That’s when I got a phone call from someone who needed to go to the dentist for an emergency visit and needed someone to babysit her 4 month old son. She is single, teenage mom I mentor and she and her son live on the Family Floor of the Dream Center.

First Response.

I wish I could say that my first reaction was to turn my car around and volunteer myself to help. But instead, my first reaction was to see who I could call to help her. I told her I would call her back and that I would hopefully have an answer for her. After I made some phone calls, I heard those words once again, “boundaries not barriers.” If this “someone” was my best friend, my family or one of my leaders what would be my response? Of course I would drop everything and help him/her. But why wasn’t this my first reaction? Was it because I have been taught that you set “boundaries” with those you lead so that you are not taken advantage of or walked over? Or maybe it was my past experiences of being burned by people before who took advantage of me and I didn’t want that to happen again. I know having two toddlers of my own and a long list of “to do’s” played a part, but if I am transparent, those weren’t really the reasons that kept me from immediately responding with a yes!

Bridge of Hope.

To say that it has been an honor to serve under Pastors Matthew and Caroline Barnett, the pastors of The Los Angeles Dream Center is truly an understatement. They have dedicated their entire life to serving people and have pioneered the way for churches, organizations and people like you and me to understand what it really means to love people. Pastor Matthew has said, “If you are going to be a bridge of hope for people, you have to be willing for people to walk all over you.” This quote has become famous in my home, but in that moment it was becoming real in my heart. This someone isn’t a family member or a leader of mine, but she is my friend and someone who needed me. I called her back and told her that I was able to help her with whatever she needed that day. I knew it was going to be a stretch for me and I knew that the day I had planned was going to look a whole lot different.

Boundaries vs Barriers.

The day was crazy and hectic, but it was also a lot of fun. Who wouldn’t want to love on a precious baby boy for a day? Me and the girls had so much fun hugging and loving on him. I even got the three of them to nap at the same time, giving me enough time to cross most off my “to do” list.

  1. Boundaries are important, they allow you and I to love freely. Barriers allow us to love, but with limitations.

  2. Boundaries help us be responsible with what God has placed in our hands. Barriers keep us from attaining what God has placed in our hearts.

  3. Boundaries keep the wrong things from coming IN. Barriers keep the right things from coming IN.

  4. Boundaries put us in the right place and the right time. Barriers only look for the perfect place and perfect time.

  5. Boundaries ask, “how can I make this fit?” Barriers ask, “what is in this for me?”

True Religion.

I have always loved serving God’s house and His people. Before having kids you could usually find me at church at any point of the day. This season of being a part of a church that doesn’t serve from inside the four walls of a church or from behind an office desk, but instead, “Finds a need and fills it, finds a hurt and heals it” has challenged me to live different. Boundaries have been a sorry excuse to not change the world one inconvenient moment at a time. I didn’t share this moment I had to highlight some amazing thing I did, the truth is that it really isn’t that amazing in comparison to the thousands of world changers who already understand this, but I shared this with you today because I know that when you and I embrace boundaries and let go of barriers we can change the world.

What About You?

Have you mistaken boundaries for barriers? Do you find yourself saying things like, “If I had more time or if I had more money I would ? Maybe your boundaries of “family time” have become barriers to “do life” with other people. Maybe your boundaries of being “on a budget” have become barriers of being “generous.” I don’t know what your boundaries look like, but I do know that if you allow them to become barriers in your life, you are going to miss out on the moments that were meant to change you, encourage you, and that were meant to give life to your dreams.

Tell Me.

If this post spoke to you, highlighted an area in your life that you have used boundaries as an excuse to do something you didn’t want to do, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment, share an experience or just give me a shout out in the comment box below.

Every week I highlight a TRUTH about you, your life, or about a situation you may be facing and then I DARE you to believe it.

Here are this week’s TRUTH or DARE.

TRUTH: “If you are going to be a bridge of hope for people, you have to be willing for people to walk all over you.” Matthew Barnett

DARE: Stop using boundaries as an excuse to have barriers, and do something that inconveniences you today!

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