Posted by Mary Beth Dahl on February 23, 2019
Being able to set a boundary can be the difference between a life well lived and a life not lived.
There’s this thing in software development where the developer writes the code in such a way that it prevents the user from causing unnecessary errors. Like if the user is supposed to only put numbers in a certain field; then the developer writes the program so that the field only accepts numbers.
Developers kind of need to be able to foresee problems people will make. They need to plan for people’s mistakes and prevent them.
This made me think about how we all need to kind of be our own little developers. We need to think ahead and stop assuming people are going to respect our boundary or make things easy for us. Stop thinking they won’t try to put a bunch of letters in spaces we only intended for numbers.
It’s our job to know what we need, not someone else’s.
And it’s also up to us to let them know this. Many of my struggles in life with others have come mostly because I never spoke up. I suffered in silence—thought that was holy. It wasn’t. Preventing someone from forcing something into your life that you don’t want is really your job. We can’t control what other people do or try to do, but we can control how far it goes with us.
I’ve been failing at this lately. I’ve been plodding along thinking everyone around me knows what I need, and if I hold out a little longer, they’ll fix the letters they’ve stuck where only numbers go, but you know what? They’re not doing it. No one is.
I used to think that it was God’s job to come and fix my life. He wanted all of me, so let him magically rewrite the parts of me that are all screwed up. But now, I don’t think he works that way. Sure, he’s taken care of the big stuff, but he won’t do for me the things I should be doing for myself.
It’s like how a parent doesn’t keep dressing and feeding their kids. They teach them how to do it for themselves.
This reprogramming boundary thing is something I should be doing for myself.
And just because I don’t set boundaries very well shouldn’t stop me from at least trying.
Besides, God has generously provided me with all kinds of people who want to put letters in places where I only want numbers. I call them practice. And with each failure to set a boundary or have a hard conversation, I’m one step closer to getting it right the next time.
And I’m one step closer to being completely me instead of a compilation of everyone else’s wants, desires, needs, hopes, and dreams. And when I’m completely me, I can give myself completely to God– my gift to him of a life that’s rich, real, and full of numbers and letters right where they go.
How are you doing with the boundaries? Do you struggle to say no? It’s not easy. I hope this encourages you to keep trying. We are all warriors of sorts, and the warrior doesn’t stop trying just because it’s hard.
Peace to you! And come see me again. The sign-up form is on the right to receive my posts and newsletters. I hope you join me here!