This week’s devotional is for my planner friends and my Proverbs 31 study ladies. It’s a topic that’s difficult for most of us to apply to our lives. I’ve had to set boundaries for myself in a few situations and am trying to learn to do it in more. For instance, my mom is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. I try to visit her twice a week. If I’m there more often than that, I fall into depression and don’t want to get out of bed or accomplish anything with my own life. I just mourn that my mom is in the state she is now. I adore my mom and it’s hard to see her decline. I want to be a good daughter and be with her and I need to be with her anyway because I love her so much. My sister would like me to be there every day and sometimes gets angry with me if I’m not there more than the twice a week I’ve limited myself to. It’s for my own mental health that I’ve set this boundary for myself. I need to take care of my family and myself and if I’m a depressed blubbering mess, that can’t happen.
How have you experienced setting boundaries in your own life? I’d love to hear!
Set Your Boundaries
Throughout the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John repeatedly note the amount of time Jesus spent in solitude—away from the disciples, the crowds, and the busyness of his ministry. The frequent mention of this behavior suggests that Jesus was a master at setting boundaries with His time. Likewise, if we are to effectively manage our time and make our greatest contribution to the world, we too must establish clear boundaries with our schedules.
Like Jesus, this should start by allocating regular time for prayer (Mark 1:35) and study of God’s Word. Most of us are are used to the idea of tithing our money. But what about tithing our time? If we fill-up our schedules with demands from work and home and then try to find time to spend in prayer and study of God’s Word, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Before you go any further in this study, take some time to determine what time you will tithe exclusively to prayer and study of Scripture on a daily basis.
Once you have set clear boundaries in your schedule for spiritual disciplines, it can be helpful to take a similar approach to budgeting your time at home and at work. For me, a regular routine helps me keep my “work-life balance” in check. Nearly every day, I head to the office at 4:45 a.m. and I arrive back home at 4:00 p.m. This predictable schedule gives me clear boundaries within which I force myself to concentrate my work. Is my work ever done? Of course not. But that would be true if I worked until 5:00, 6:00, or 10:00. There’s no such thing as done. Having a hard line in my schedule for the end of my day at the office ensures that I have plenty of time to spend with my wife, kids, and church family.
If you don’t take the time to set boundaries in your schedule, someone else will. If you haven’t already, follow Jesus’ lead and set clear boundaries within which you will spend your time. This is the first step in getting control of your calendar and managing your time well.
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Luke 5:16 ESV
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
–by Jordan Raynor on http://www.jordanraynor.com/time/