“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins” – Henry Cloud
“You must create more margin so you have room for what’s important, not merely urgent.” ―
As I was contemplating the built-up clutter in my home, I began to ponder again the concepts of Boundaries and Margins. I have written about, around, and on these topics before. In my mind, these two concepts are “life rails” that, when well-installed and free of pebbles and grit, allow daily life to run smoothly.
However, as I sat to write about Boundaries and Margins once again, I struggled to capture them succinctly, and then these two thoughts came to light:
First, they are interrelated. By definition a boundary creates margin. However, that creation does not necessarily define the scope of the margin. The fence around my yard is a physical boundary and its dimensions create a margin. However, if I wish for more margin I must add something to widen it: a ditch, a moat, or another barrier.
Second, healthy boundaries and margins apply to everything. Think about it:
- Physical boundaries define stewardship and ownership of property
- Margins and boundaries define our personal space by having things in their proper place or home
- One’s personal inner life needs boundaries to avoid confusion
- Relationships, even close intimate ones have a need for space and definition.
- Stewardship of time reveals how one manages these two rails.
- Proper Stewardship of Finances is defined by adequate margins and boundaries. Is that not what having a bank account does?
Even in today’s writing effort, I found the need to give myself both space and outside limits. Both are needed to give creativity some rails to right upon.
Indications Of Damaged Boundaries And Margins
Many times it is easier to grasp a concept by looking at its abuse, disfunction, or absence. For instance:
- disorder, clutter, and even hoarding indicate a lack of boundaries for our “things”. “A place for everything, and everything in its place” goes the adage.
- confusion inward and outward indicates one’s personal inner life is disrupted in some way.
- strife may be an indication of the above that has overflowed into our relationships
- Continued tardiness or the inability to keep commitments may indicate difficulty with saying “no” and overcommitting and/or the lack of adequate time margins.
- overdue bills? Financial boundaries or margins have gone wonky somehow.
Well, you get the idea. As a former air traffic controller everything we did was about boundaries and margins. Perhaps 30 years of working in this field made me more aware. I get very uncomfortable when I sense my boundaries and/or margins erode.
God-ordained Boundaries And Margins
The truth is these guidelines are our Creator’s idea. He is a God of order. Not inflexibility, but order. From the way He set the universe and all creation into motion, to the way He instructed the Israelites to set up His temple, there is order, boundaries, and….margin.
Margin to play, celebrate, and rest. Boundaries for protection, security, and stewardship. Yes, even writing down our stories requires the employment of these two God-given gifts.
What boundary or margin do you most value? Is there one that needs redefining? What will you do this week to do so?