Fall Discovery: How to Set Wise Boundaries

Most of us are not masters at setting boundaries. However, I think we can agree that all of us are in need of them. We need boundaries for our sanity and our security. Since I am not a good source of limits, I look to my Father who is the master creator of boundaries.

On the day time began, our Father spoke boundaries into the formless, empty darkness before Him. He separated darkness from light. Sky from water. Land from sea. He split day and night. He eventually split a rib so that man would not be alone. Genesis 1 & 2.

God is the master of boundaries. I don’t often know when or how to create them, but he speaks them out of wisdom and love. The Word often uses the analogy of the sea when it comes to boundaries. Proximity to the ocean and its view are peace for me. But the ocean also rages, just like our lives. God has a plan for our peace in the midst of the raging sea.

When worry and anxiety strike and control is something you don’t have, God provides the boundaries. We are not out at sea without cover. We are children of God whose nature it is to create boundaries. As his daughters and sons, we can believe and trust that the hard thing won’t consume us.

Security in the Storm

The next few verses have been safety for me when I don’t have insight to the resolution or outcome. In other words, I am speaking of the stage of circumstance when there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The chaotic season, the fearful season. The lost in the dark season. These verses give us security to know we are protected while we are in the middle of the storm. The full verses are at the bottom of this blog if you want to read more.

The one who has your best interest in mind limits the stretch of the proud waves. He rebukes chaos and puts everything in its place. God limits transgressions so that they cannot flood you. Even when the circumstances of your life are roaring against you, God places a perpetual barrier around you.

Can you feel the safety net around you? Can you feel the promise that there is no drowning in chaos? Can you believe that no matter the rage of the storm, barriers exist to protect you?

If we know, believe and trust the character of our Father, it makes sense that he holds the wisdom to help us express boundaries in our own lives.

Boundaries can feel complicated, well, because relationships and responsibilities are complicated. But there is a simple starting point that has worked for me.

You Have Control of Your 24 Hours

If you know God protects you, what in your daily practices will you protect? We know that daily practices are key to living a peaceful, productive, purposeful life. Simply start with your calendar. This is the aspect of your life where you can push back proud waves, tame chaos and create barriers. You, my dear sister, have control of the twenty-four hours a day that belong to you.

I’ve been working on this in my own life for a few years. Below are a few bullets that represent some of my daily and weekly practices. I may not be in the same season as you. We may have different likes and resources. You will have to brainstorm within your specific life circumstances. The point of my sharing is to provide evidence of how intentional daily practices are the stepping stones to strong boundaries.

Daily & Weekly Practices

  • Monday Verse of the Week, Prayer list and Inspirational Quote
  • Weekly Bible Study in a group
  • Tuesday Physical Therapy
  • No Cooking on Friday nights
  • Sunday Night Review for the week
  • Weekly act to replenish my joy
  • Weekly act of kindness towards another
  • Mail a snail mail card to someone every week
  • Regular blogging and posting
  • 2-3 walks at the beach
  • 2-3 yoga workouts

Whether or not you can relate to any of these daily and weekly practices, consider how the carving out of space for these practices results in the small steps of boundaries. As you take responsibility for the time you have been given and protect your resources, you are effectively splitting your life into yeses and nos. As you separate and split your time in positive ways, you are mirroring your Father. You are honoring your Father.

Creating boundaries in your personal life sets in motion boundaries for the rest of your life. When I am exercising my positive spiritual, mental and physical boundaries, I can offer more clarity, love and intentionality in my friendships and parenting. I can offer understanding and realism in my marriage. I can give work what it’s due but not my blood.

Boundaries Rock the Boat

When you are a woman with boundaries, you rock the boat and rile up proud, raging waves. Your opposition doesn’t like the path of your life when you are living a peaceful, productive, purposeful life with boundaries in place. Your opposition prefers that you wear yourself down and out – –  especially in the areas you are most vulnerable or insecure. The opposition intends to stop you from growing in depth, calling and wisdom.

As you assert boundaries, attacks come. Arrows hit. In these moments, we can allow these arrows to point us toward old, unhealthy ways such as

  • Overcommitting your calendar
  • Staying in toxic friendships, organizations or business relationships
  • Allowing work to take more than its allotted time on a regular basis
  • Spending more financial resources than you have or in the wrong areas
  • Taking on the needs or problems of others while neglecting your own

Or, we can interpret the arrows as opportunities to hold tight to our boundaries, even if our actions rock the boat.

Lesson in Boundaries

Recently, I had a prior client make untrue claims and unfair demands. I decided to stand by my firm’s work. At the same time, I attended to her requests to the best of my ability. In the end, my efforts failed to please her. She filed a formal complaint against me and her view of me has remained negative.

Without boundaries, I may have met her unfair demands. In this case, that would have solved the problem in a way that didn’t honor my time, credibility or resources. I maintained my boundaries and had to stretch myself to deal with the resulting “raging sea”. That was a tough arrow for me as it hit me in a place of insecurity. Who am I if I can’t make everyone happy? Am I still worthy or valuable in the face of other’s negative opinions?

I thought several times, was this experience worth setting a healthy boundary? When it comes to my bend toward people pleasing in a way that doesn’t honor my time, credibility or resources, this was an exercise of growth. Boundaries really do rock the boat. Maintaining the boundary cost me time and emotional stress. At the same time, maintaining the boundary is also growing my worth, resilience and faith. God places wise boundaries and I can do the same.

In Another Instance

In another instance, I was involved in a community project. In that role, I found myself regularly questioning my worth, attempting to earn my value and over exerting myself in areas that are not my strengths. I defaulted to an equation where if I worked hard enough, the dynamic would change. In obedience to God’s direction in my life, I decided to humbly step away. It took a full year for my soul to heal. Until writing this blog, I had not realized how important my eventual boundary was in this scenario. I pray for you and for me to learn to mirror our Father and place timely, fitting, protective boundaries in our lives.

Imagine That

Imagine yourself as a woman of worth with protections around you that are set by the authority of God. Can you shift your mindset to believe that the opportunity to set boundaries is there to grow and prosper you and not to harm you or hurt others? Can you stay alert and not be caught off guard by arrows that seek to open wounds that Jesus has healed or is healing?

My examples above may not feel as heavy to you as some of the circumstances you may be facing such as abuse or betrayal. Look less at the facts of the story and more at the lesson at hand. My experiences may be preparing you or me for bigger steps in the area of boundaries.

Stand Your Ground

When we are in the heavy circumstances of life, we don’t have to be unprepared or without clarity or direction. The Word tells us

. . . to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm . . . Ephesians 6:13-14

. . . Rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produced perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us . . . Romans 5:3-5

. . . walk in freedom for we are devoted to God’s commandments. Psalm 119:45

Let’s acknowledge how hard standing our ground can be. Let’s be candid about the process of perseverance and suffering. Obedience that leads to freedom costs us something. These are hard precepts. Hard promises. Hard love.

Let’s also recognize what God has done for us by example. He split the day from the night for our well-being. It’s not the other way around. We are not meant to be split open through overcommitting our calendar, overspending our resources or staying where we are not called to be. The unboundaried life does not get to choose how we live for Jesus. The boundaried life is one that models Jesus in wise choices of yeses and nos.

Do you feel the protection of that? Can you feel the perpetual barrier around you? Can you believe that creating boundaries are good despite how we may feel in the moment?

Mirror Your Father

Let’s mirror the Father and follow his example of setting wise boundaries.

You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here. Job 38:8-11

You set a boundary they cannot cross. Psalm 104:5-9

He set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command. Proverbs 8:27

The waves surge, but they cannot prevail. They roar but cannot pass over it. Jeremiah 5:22

Begin with a reflection of your daily practices. Stick to them not because you are a rigid person but because these practices are your lifeline to expanding boundaries in your life.

Know that setting boundaries will rock the boat. Stand firm. The same God that split night and day holds back the waters for your good. Mirror Him. You can trust the God who split open his body to make you whole.

Remember . . . the one who has your best interest in mind limits the stretch of the proud waves. He rebukes chaos and puts everything in its place. God limits transgressions so that they cannot flood you. Even when the circumstances of your life are roaring against you, God places a perpetual barrier around you.

Reflection Questions

Of the four verses describing limits, which one provides you the most security that God has your back in difficult circumstances?

What do you think about the concept that daily and weekly practices are the springboard to strong boundaries? Write a list of your current practices. Pray about adding one or two. Pray about removing one or two that are not promoting growth in this season.

What circumstance in your life feels like a raging sea? What yeses or nos can you decide upon today to start a path of healthy boundaries?

You know boundaries are working when the opposition increases. What are some ways you can stand firm and continue to cultivate a boundaried life?

Full Verses

[I] enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb . . . [I] made the clouds its garment and total darkness its blanket, [I] determined its boundaries and put its bars and doors in place, [I] declared: “You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here.” Job 38:8-11

You established the earth on its foundations; it will never be shaken. You covered it with the deep as with a garment, the water stood above the mountains. At your rebuke the water fled; at the sound of your thunder they hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the place you established for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross, they will never cover the earth again. Psalm 104:5-9

I was there when he established the heavens, when he laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, when he placed the skies above, when the foundations of the ocean gushed out, when he set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate his command, when he laid out the foundations of the earth. Proverbs 8:27

Do you not fear me? This is the Lord’s declaration. Do you not tremble before me, the one who set the sand as the boundary of the sea, an enduring barrier that it cannot cross? The wave surge, but they cannot prevail. They roar but cannot pass over it. Jeremiah 5:22

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An Invitation to Follow Your Call

Dear sisters,

Before time began, God chose you for a calling that you only you can fulfill. God creatively spoke into you uncountable unique details to empower you and lead you to live, move and breathe in the calling He crafted for you. You were made for a purpose.

Even now, the spirit whispers to you.

Over the course of your life, you’ve known pieces of your calling. Similar to a quilt, the patches have come to you. Some of you dream dreams of who you were made to be. Some of you hear your calling spoken to you by others who see the gifts and talents you can’t see quite yet. Some of you have a heart cry to stand up for injustice but haven’t determined the path yet.

As you decipher the whisper of your calling, you also must choose to face the roadblocks or barriers to living out your calling. Some of us fear. Some of us must make hard choices to say yes to calling. Some will have to let go of control. Some of us must heal from trauma. Some of us will have to dig deep to replace lies with truth.

The foundation of calling is freedom. The only way to calling is to identify your roadblocks and move past them in a healthy way.

Time is like a quilt where the patches and pieces come over the seasons of your life. However, a season arrives when it is time to step into the masterpiece. The truth is you will not likely see every detail of your quilt. You will not know every detail of your calling. You will not be 100% confident that the time is now. But there comes a time when it is time to step into the masterpiece.

As you come to realize that your life has prepared you for your calling, you will need to craft a plan.

Transformational plans don’t come easy in our fast-paced culture.

In fact, darkness will send arrows with the intent to send you in every direction other than your calling. You will be offered valid excuses to tend to issues and projects that push out of your life your God given calling.

You will need a solid plan that includes self-care and community, and contributes to your inner peace.

The bottom line is

  •             It not easy to hear the whisper of God in our often loud, busy lives,
  •             Roadblocks are more easily identified in safe community covered in truth and wisdom; and,
  •             Designing a plan to follow your calling is a layered process that includes a healthy, whole self.

These bottom line realities fueled my passion to create the Follow Your Call class. My passion is to help women step into the masterpiece they were created to be.

Every woman has a God given calling. We simply need the time, space and direction to be who we were made to be.

The class is a Guided Journey because your calling is about the story of your life and how it leads you straight to your calling. The six week class includes live, original content, small group discussion, professionally recorded interviews, hands-on, in class projects and weekly at home discovery questions – – all pointing you to Follow Your Call.

The last class took place at the turn of the new year when most of us are in a time of reflection and goal setting. The next class is taking place at my most favorite time of year. Summer! For many of us, summer means a little more rest and a little less responsibility. Perhaps it is the perfect time for you to Follow Your Call!

If you can no longer ignore the whisper of God, then this class is for you.

If you feel like you know the whisper, but for whatever reason, you haven’t been able to put your call into action, this class is for you.

If you have found yourself in burn out over the years, and you want to make the decision to follow your call in a healthy, powerful way, this class is for you.

I look forward to journeying with you.

Follow the link to check out more details and to register.

Follow Your Call Class



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The No Pressure Path to Following Your Call

Women don’t need more on their plate. They usually need less. So, why even consider following your call? 

The truth is that the inner peace and freedom that women desire is very much wrapped in the gift of our calling. Receiving the gift and acting upon its treasure opens the door to what we want most.

The path of calling isn’t more pressure, burden or a distraction. It is setting out to be the woman you were made to be in a way that blesses others on your path. As you live and breathe and move in the center of who you are, inner peace and freedom enters your heart and flows into the lives of others.

If that description feels too vague or hard to put your finger on, here are a few guideposts that will take the pressure off.

Our calling doesn’t depend on us.

You don’t have to think it up or create it. Calling is a revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead and direct you to exactly where peace and freedom reign. Calling will roll itself out as you listen and take your next steps with intention.

Calling doesn’t pull you away from your current life.

Following your calling empowers you to live your current life with more excitement, energy and joy than you had before you followed God in this way. In fact, the roles and responsibilities that you may be frustrated with or grumbling about just might lighten up when you are following your calling.

Following your call allows the people you love the most to see more of the treasure inside of you.

Living out your calling invites your friends, kids and husband (if you have one) to see Christ active and alive in you. Not only that, calling empowers your loved ones to take brave steps to live out the best that God has for them too.

Calling sets your imagination free to do the good work you were made to do.

There is no greater way to put your mind to work for good than designing a plan to follow your call. Our minds were made to think, create and connect ideas to action. Calling engages our mind for good.

Calling doesn’t blow up your schedule.

Knowing your calling helps you make life giving decisions with your time. Calling helps you revisit in a positive way your current schedule, commitments and responsibilities. The journey of calling doesn’t lead you to exhaustion and burn out. It empowers you to be the woman God intended you to be.

Following your call is not another pressure or problem for you to tackle. Calling brings energy and new wisdom into to all areas of your life. It is the path to bring you the inner peace and freedom that so many women deeply desire.

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Five Reasons Why Pursuing Your Calling is the Key to Inner Peace

If you have breath, you have a call. No exclusions or exceptions. No mistakes or passing over.  As God breathed your soul, spirit, and body into existence, He also infused you with passion and calling. Like tea steeps into water, God imbued you with individual purpose and calling.

Calling Vs. Identity – Understanding the Differences

Your calling is part of who you are made to be over your lifetime. Your call is woven into your personality, gifts, talents, and good deeds prepared for you before your life began. Because of the intimate dance between your true self and your calling, pursuing your passions will always be key to realizing inner peace. Without the exploration and pursuit of your passion and calling, your inner self can feel dry or even bankrupt.

Calling, however is not the same as identity. Your identity is the understanding of who you are in light of your relationships. Your identity is not the same thing as pursing the passion God gave you to take ground in His name. For women, calling can be easily rolled into our identity as a mother, sister, friend, daughter, and wife. We value our relationships the most and are wholly devoted to them. We want the same inner peace we desire for ourselves to flow into our most precious relationships. Consequently, our value is often tied to key relationships, but that is not the whole story.

Coming from a legal background, when I think of calling, I think of the word ‘summons’ which is defined as “an authoritative or urgent call to someone to be present or to do something.” It’s God’s individually crafted “summons” over you – the combination of God infused passion and action made for you and you only. Calling goes beyond the roles (identity) we live out in our lives. Certainly, your call may bring you to a specific focus as a mother, sister, friend, daughter, or wife, but the call does not begin there.  When we roll calling and identity into one, we angle ourselves to the left or right of inner peace.

Calling is the standing God gave you as His child with a purpose and mission to live out in the service of others. When we focus on our roles instead of our calling, we miss the intersection of our passion and purpose. We miss the fullness of who we were made to be. The resulting tragedy is the simultaneous unmet longing of so many women: Inner Peace.

Five Reasons Why Pursuing Your Calling is the Key to Inner Peace:

1.  Knowing your calling provides purpose for your soul

What makes your heart beat fast? What fires up your desire for justice or equality? What causes tears to stream down your cheeks? What could you just keep doing forever because you love it and you thrive from it? What keeps you up at night or gets you up early? What do you want to stand on a podium and talk about? Is there something that breaks your heart and you can do something about it?

Purpose gives life to the part of you that was intended to be active and alive. When we verbalize and memorialize our calling, we are invigorated with energy and determination to do the thing we were made to do. When we are in sync with our God given desires and can name them out loud or on paper, the inner self invites and welcomes peace.

2.  Living out your purpose satisfies the cravings of the soul

Women often fear that they have missed the mark. With the exception of the failures and mistakes that are part of living, the fear of missing the mark is related to whether a woman is pursuing her calling. There is an internal craving that exists inside of us until we live out our calling. Just like many describe salvation as the God-sized keyhole of the heart, calling is a go button waiting to be pushed. The green go button lights up again and again as it waits to be pushed. The blinking light continues until activation and so does our craving. Inner peace is not realized until the self is living out who the self was made to be. When your calling is unleashed, pursued and active, the soul is at peace, satisfied and fulfilled.

3.  Avoiding or setting aside your calling disrupts inner peace

Pursuit of a good cause, intention, project or relationship that is not in line with your personal calling may be a factor in thwarting inner peace. In a recent survey of passionate, intentional women, I found that almost all the women were pursuing projects and building relationships. The same resourceful, creative women also stated they desire inner peace the most.

We cannot ignore the difference between pursuing positive projects and relationships and pursing projects and relationships that are aligned with your God infused passion. There is correlation between inner peace and whether you are pursuing the calling that your Creator designed for you. Inner peace does not arrive until your pursuit becomes a pursuit that was God breathed into your being.

4.  Pain is healed by pursuing your calling

Women experience deep pain arising from their own self-image, difficulties in parenting and marriage, financial uncertainty and death and loss. The pain is not just in the season of difficulty but in moving forward from the hardship. If we are not careful, we will take our pain with us far beyond the season. We will see our lives through the lens of pain. We will live our lives consumed by wounds and brokenness. In effect, we will narrow the course of our lives instead of expand the ground we take for God and for his glory.

When we have pinpointed our passion and calling and pursue it, our pain is met with purpose and hope. Healing comes. Healing does not necessarily come from the resolution of the hardship, but it comes from gathering up your gifts, talents and abilities towards your God imbued passion and calling. Pursuing your calling is not about distraction from pain, it is about working through the pain by honoring a part of yourself that is meant to be expressed no matter the circumstances. Pain disrupts inner peace, but passion and calling are a spring board for healing.

5.  The pursuit of your calling connects you to community

Women often hide their struggles. Strong women hide their fears. Balanced women hide desperation and hopelessness. Confident women hide idols of perfectionism. Grounded women hide how lost they feel. Together women hide how undone they really are. Hidden struggles chisel away at inner peace. Hidden struggles strip down and immobilize passion and purpose. Connection, however, gives way to voice, revelation and freedom.

Connection breaks down the walls of silence that are marring the self-worth and self-image of women. As we verbalize struggles and passion among sisters, we become connected. When we set out to pursue calling, our team of sisters support us, act as resources for us and remind us why our passion matters. When we are supported and heard, inner peace increases. Our passion and peace grow side by side in community.

The pursuit of passion and calling is the key to inner peace. The soul craves purpose. The soul finds healing in the path of passion and calling. The soul finds her voice in the presence of community. The one thing she desires most for herself and her family can’t be found in her roles, although exponentially important. The one thing she desires most can’t be found when calling is side stepped or avoided. Inner peace is found in living out the God-imbued calling over her life. She will find peace when she lives out her calling.


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