Years ago as a young mom of a preschooler and toddler, my neighbor-friend-role model was a big deal in my life. Gloria mothered five kids with patience and humor. Her door was always open to share a cold Coke and conversation. Her kids loved and liked each other and treated my kids like family too. She was the mom and wife I wanted to be when I “grew up.”
One summer morning her family loaded up their Suburban and headed off on a family vacation. A few days passed with no kids playing ball in the yard or riding bikes together. I was surprised to see them pull back into the driveway earlier than expected. When I headed across the street to say hello, I asked what brought them back so soon. “We ran out of cash, so we came home,” was her answer.
That response made an impression that stuck, even years later as I’m the mom of my own five kids. My friend knew the limits of her resources and lived within those boundaries. She could have put their trip on a credit card. She could have put her kids’ fun above all else. She could have scrimped every day, having a half-baked vacation in the process. Instead, her family went all-in with what they had and knew when to call it quits.
I want to respect my limits, too.
Living within my means.
Resting when my energy is depleted.
Letting go of relationships that drag me down.
Asking for help when I’m in over my head.
Surrendering tasks or goals wrecking balance in my life.
Seeking God for wisdom before walking through doors or closing them.
If I’m honest, I’m struggling in a season of loose boundaries. Summer has meant late nights, cutting my sleep and energy. Major career and schooling changes in our family have eliminated old routines, and I’ve struggled to create new ones. I’ve procrastinated saying yes or no to new opportunities as I question what my life can hold. Mundane daily choices about a healthy diet, social media, and home projects have become a challenge. I’m rich in family, friends, and meaningful work, but stress is stealing my ability to enjoy them.
A lack of limits is keeping me from the abundant, beautiful life Jesus promises in John 10:10—“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Peaceful rest wraps around productive work and joyful play. Financial plans surround generosity and a nourishing home. Prayer and wise counsel help frame my choices and dreams. When I place strong fences around my life, I can remain humble and dependent on God. He holds all the power and strength I’ll ever need.
Today is the day to pound in my first fence post. I’ll honor my need for rest. I’ll pray for God to direct my steps. I’ll lean on those with greater wisdom and strength than I hold today. And as I return to the peace of Spirit-led boundaries, a thriving life will come.