Wouldn’t life be easier if one formula worked for us all?
Wouldn’t life be easier if one formula worked for us all? But God, in His infinite wisdom, made each one of us unique and distinct. We have different needs, different graces, and we’re in different seasons of life.
With this in mind, allow me to share some principles I have learned (and am still learning), along with practical applications on setting boundaries to live a healthy life.
Know God’s “Now Assignment”
There are so many people and things constantly calling for our attention. If we don’t know what our God-given assignment is, the urgent will dictate how we spend our days. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years and years into a lifetime. We can spend a lifetime reacting to the urgent instead of purposefully living the plan of God.
Over 15 years ago, I began taking a day at the end of each year—alone, with no cellphone or interruptions—to go before the Lord to ask Him for His plan for the upcoming year. I ask Him to speak to me regarding me (spirit, soul and body), and regarding each role I play: first as His daughter, then as a wife, as a mother, as a minister, and so on.
Each year, God has been faithful to give me direction and focus in every category. These simple (though not usually easy) instructions set the course for how I live everyday life. They are my priorities, they show up on my calendar, and they help me define what to say yes to, and what to say no to.
Consistently Evaluate and Plan
Our human nature is to start strong … but somewhere along the way, we can get tired, discouraged, distracted or simply forget where we’re going.
Have you noticed, in Genesis 1, how often God stopped to assess what He created and “saw that it was good”? How often do we stop to look at what we’re doing to see if it is good? How often do we evaluate how we’re living life and leading our ministries?
My husband, Jerry, and I have learned the benefits of pausing, sitting together with a cup of coffee and evaluating the previous week(s) based on what matters most. We ask each other pointed questions: “How am I doing at loving you?” “Are we spending enough intentional time with our kids?” “Are we leading or simply managing?” “Are we doing what the Lord asked us to do?” The answers to these questions help us to make adjustments as we plan ahead.
Understand the Season You’re In
Seasons change, and boundaries change. When I was a homeschool mom, I had many more boundaries regarding how involved I was in ministry and how much I traveled, because my primary focus was my children.
Now, with grown children (how quickly it went by!), those boundaries have changed quite a bit, but I still have strong safeguards to ensure I have time to be in God’s Word, to be with my husband and family, to take care of my health and to lead intentionally. I still have to say no to many things, not because I don’t want to do them or serve more, but because saying yes to them would preclude me from doing things I’m really called to do.
Let me be perfectly honest—though we need a healthy lifestyle for longevity, there will be times where, well … it’s just crazy! Three weeks before we opened our church, for example, there was little to no balance. It was all hands on deck, doing whatever needed to be done until it got done.
Home-cooked meals, between eight and 10 hours of sleep, a day off, quality time with family—not during those weeks! Thank God for El Pollo Loco, getting at least five hours of sleep, and grandmas. We call times like this “temporary seasons of imbalance.” The key word is “temporary.” Some seasons will require boundaries to adjust, or even change drastically, but we cannot allow these seasons to become our lifestyle.
It is amazing to me that an airplane can take off from one runway with an assignment to land on another runway halfway around the world, and arrive on that exact runway. So precise! But the reason it’s so precise is because the pilot makes constant adjustments to stay on course.
I pray the Lord gives us wisdom to make the necessary adjustments and to set the boundaries needed to run our race and finish strong.
By: Kimberly Dirmann, supervisor of Foursquare’s Southwest District