Week 4 Day 4: Boundaries

Question: What limits would give you life?

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Transcript of Video:

For some of you probably what most gets in the way of your life is this: being requested to be all over the place at one time without there being any boundaries on your life. How do you live within the constraints of time? The old monastic wisdom is: freedom is found in the context of limitation. How can you limit your access to things and others’ access to you? Otherwise time is a tyranny and not a blessed thing.

-Br. Curtis Almquist


  1. Dennis on March 18, 2020 at 13:35

    What limits would give you life?
    I’ve been pretty good at setting boundaries for myself, even in the most hectic of times at work, I always had a fruitful discussion at work with my supervisors.

  2. Janet on April 9, 2019 at 18:47

    Frames around work are essential. This includes volunteer service. I have always come in to initiate, rescue, or “drive projects” and assume a leadership role, naturally. It is my “identity”. I am known for bringing “high energy.” Working within the design professions, there is an expectation that one works – day and night. I stopped for a good, healthy period of time and have explored boundaries and working in a more collaborative role. Giving myself permission to end the day with the confidence that enough is done is an important boundary. To begin the day with rituals and not going straight to the computer to “get ahead” of work, before work is also essential. I realize that I am answering a lot of questions with the word essential running through my thought or writing.

  3. Brenda on March 25, 2019 at 23:47

    Barriers to my communal Christian life. Church, education, choir, cursillo

  4. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 24, 2019 at 19:21

    I am very aware of the limits which my cross puts on me. For me, my cross is being ordinary, and living a quiet life. I have been struggling to carry this cross for many years now, and am just now learning how to live within these limits. Carrying this cross and living within my limitations gives me freedom and exactly the life which is best for me. I know that the lives I would like to live, would, in reality, not suit me. They would be like traps which eake the life out of me. God knows best.

  5. Patty on March 24, 2019 at 11:53

    Accepting that I can’t physically do what I used to do without injury. Five years ago I had back surgery. I am so much better, but every time I feel “back to normal “ I over do it and sprain, twist or strain something and have to start PT again. Then I need a muscle relaxer when pain wakes me up around 2am, which really affects the next day. I don’t like limiting my physical activity, but I definitely can see how free I would be if I accepted it. Thank you!

  6. Helen Chandler on April 1, 2015 at 09:38

    I have a cell phone – only a cell phone – and as I normally have it with me, people have access to me at any time.

    As a parish priest, this is potentially problematic. A colleague said, “I don’t think I would want to be that accessible.”

    My response was that I don’t have to answer it! But I do know who is calling and can decide whether it might be urgent.

    I am amazed by the number of people who have the “if the phone rings, I have to answer it” gene! How many family meals are disrupted by a ringing telephone that cannot be left to ring?

  7. Kimber on March 13, 2015 at 15:45

    Yes, one thing I could do is have my cell phone turned off more of the time. Because I’m a teacher and writer, though, I know that the one thing I should set more limits on is the amount of time I spend at the computer each day. I take my laptop everywhere, know all the local places with free wi-fi, and spend a lot of time reading and responding to email, commenting on students’ papers, reading articles and looking at websites, and, yes, even checking in with others on Facebook every few days. (Of course, this adds to the problem of my not getting enough physical activity, etc.) Other things that I could place firmer limitations on would be reading for entertainment and watching TV.

  8. Lisa on March 13, 2015 at 10:14

    As I work remotely some of the time, carving out specific time and sticking to it would allow more space for the other aspects of my life. It is very easy for me to work – it takes very little mental/emotional energy to begin working away at all that needs to be accomplished in that arena – rather than moving into the more personal aspects of my world. I must value my work (whether paid or volunteer) more than getting in the yard, taking care of a few projects around the home, taking a walk, reading for pleasure.

  9. Jane on March 13, 2015 at 00:48

    I am not good at stopping writing. I need to set a time limit and you have made the point for me. I will be better for it and spend more time with my husband. Thanks.
    I really need to have a little more fun!

  10. gwedhen nicholas on March 12, 2015 at 19:40

    I feel that I already have limits. For the most part I feel at rest, and contented, because I listen to myself; to my body. I don’t have a cell phone, so I’m not on the end of a phone all the time. I limit my time on the computer. Rather I do things such as reading, practicing the organ, reflecting on life. It’s amazing how doing these things gives me freedom; freedom from myself and from others, in a good way. I work when it is time to work, I play when it’s time to play, and I rest when it is time to rest.

  11. Louise on March 12, 2015 at 18:56

    Dedicating only 1 day/week in care of a chronically ill family member who would like my help 2-3 days/week. Am I “enabling” this person? Limiting my online time to 1 hr in the am, 1 hr at noon and 1 hr in the evening….instead of signing on throughout the day to see who is trying to contact me. Turning off my phone the same.

  12. Pati on March 12, 2015 at 16:08

    JUST SAY NO !!

  13. Lissa Davis on March 12, 2015 at 11:20

    Not feeling obligated to pick up another shift when all I really want to do is curl up with a book, cup of tea and my dog. I like what he said about limits being freedom, never thought of it that way.

  14. Elizabeth S on March 12, 2015 at 09:07

    I am pretty good at setting boundaries at work. In the past that was harder, but now with children and as I’ve matured, I see that it’s ok to do. Nothing bad will happen if I work fewer than 60 hours per week! (Or actually stick close to 40.) My personal life is where the boundaries need to be set. I have not had any for a long time in one particular relationship. It has caused great damage that must now be repaired. There are limits (boundaries) to what I can or even should give to and do for another person. It’s a behavior that is very hard for me to change. Perhaps I can apply the same thinking I have with my work boundaries to this relationship and see if that helps.

  15. Judy on March 12, 2015 at 08:53

    Being a working mother with a sick parent, I’m not sure what limits would give me life. Perhaps just some quiet time during the day. Time without the TV on or the cell phone or the computer. Just time to relax, meditate, or simply be alone with my own thoughts for a while.

  16. Susan on March 12, 2015 at 04:54

    I am so tired. I have taken on too much and now I am in the process of saying no, of making myself less available, of trying to rest. But I’m so weary today I feel as though I will never be able to get back up.

    I have spent several years trying to establish a rule of life that I could follow, but without success. And life keeps changing, so what seems like a good pattern to live by for a while stops being the right pattern when things change.

    But i would like to have a firmer container to help me with the yes and the no. I know that I tend to think that if there is a space in the calendar and I want to say yes, or I want to please someone by saying yes, then I can do it. But the truth is I can’t, i really can’t.

    I suppose it comes down to being clear about how I want my life to be. For every “yes” there has to be several times “no”. But we have to know what we are saying yes to and be faithful to that.

    • NA on March 12, 2015 at 08:12

      Realizing that our systems are saying our current path is unsustainable then listening and responding to that is challenging but freeing. I like the idea of freedom coming within the limitation: because you know where you are and what is available, it makes the limits clearer.

    • Tracy on March 14, 2015 at 04:36

      This sounds like the journey I’m on with time. I don’t like disappointing others. It’s like another firm of rejection I find hard to cope with, but I think I need to learn to cope better with other people’s disappointments in me. My quiet peace in God is all need from moment to moment. It’s hard work though!

  17. NA on March 11, 2015 at 23:29

    I am my own worst boundary pusher. The past six or so years of health and financial challenges have been a combo of body, soul, and spirit screaming at me to do things differently because my way is simply unsustainable. I’m stubborn, so the volume has had to increase and increase until I could no longer push through and ignore the screaming.

    Gradually, I am learning to take the time I need to restore myself, to build and create, to set limits, and to severely curtail the time I spend doing things that do not feed my soul. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning, I’m learning!

  18. Jana Everett on March 11, 2015 at 23:13

    boundaries are something I’m not good at.
    Saying no.
    Staying home in the evening to relax

  19. Karen Fast on March 11, 2015 at 23:11

    I could be more realistic on what I can accomplish. I could be more generous in giving myself permission not to “get it all done” this year or the next.

  20. Christine white on March 11, 2015 at 22:27

    My limits would be on anxiety,stress, worrying about everyone else, and work schedules.

  21. Dee Dee on March 11, 2015 at 22:25

    I need to set limits on my time spent on social media, the internet, and email, as well as catering to the needs of people I love. Although I don’t have a problem saying “no” to most people, it is hard for me to not “make time” for the needs of certain people: my children, my parents and other loved ones to whom I am very close. Discerning between a true need (“Mom, I need a refill on my prescription medication.”) and a not-so-true need (“Mom, I need my khaki pants washed for school tomorrow morning”) is something I need to work on adding to my skill set. 🙂

  22. David Cranmer on March 11, 2015 at 21:58

    Setting boundaries is a concept that I heard about only when I became an adult and was confronted with my own workaholism. Left on my own, I don’t do a good job. Fortunately, I have close friends who help me learn to set limits to the amount of time I devote to my job. As a teacher, I find that there is always more I could be doing to learn more of the subjects I teach and to prepare better assignments for students. So I struggle with setting boundaries.

  23. Joan on March 11, 2015 at 21:26

    I used to be like Linda H – but in the last couple of years I have gotten much better at saying “no”. I used to feel I had a responsibility to say “yes” to each request of my time, especially I must say in the Church. But now if I feel it’s something that will go on without my time and it is something that I know is just going to stress me out because of the limits of my time, that it is O.K. to say no – and I have “almost” lost all my guilt when I do say no.

  24. elizabeth wright on March 11, 2015 at 20:45

    Setting boundaries is a slow but steady work-in-progress for me – in my occupation we bill revenue hours in six minute increments, so on personal time I’ve rebelled against any watch watching. But finally I’m seeing the value: how time limits create blocks out of otherwise sprawling amorphous stuff, as blocks do for building. To do this well seems in itself to require allowing yourself time for deliberation. What is it I’m/we’re building? Then how to do it? I hear stone wall builders spent more of their time thinking than heavy lifting. What resolve it takes to think things through! Thank you for all your teaching and help with doing just that in this series. And all the responses!

  25. Mark on March 11, 2015 at 19:32

    Work! Only 40 hours a week ( but at overtime rates however)

  26. Charlotte Williams on March 11, 2015 at 19:27

    I think that one approach to the questions of the last several days is to try and live a holy life within the boundaries and limitations that life has set for us.

    A holy life has God as its center and one main direction, to serve Him, to do His will in our lives. A plan should be consciously made to have the physical part of life under discipline so that there will be more time for the spiritual: time to say our prayers and meditate, time for family, time to read or study.
    But garden, house and job are also ways of loving God and showing this love.

  27. Clare Keller on March 11, 2015 at 19:24

    Something I seriously need to work at.

  28. Paul on March 11, 2015 at 19:09

    The subject so far has been Time. I agree that external “claims” on one’s time can be draining and limits must be set. Another area that I and my wife find draining is in multitudinous requests by surface mail, telephone, and e-mail to sign petitions, write letters, send donations, go on marches, vote for X, etc., etc. Against all of my left-leaning tendencies, I am at age 68 finally really beginning to trim away much of all this mental clutter. I know, I know — all of these groups depend on the “folks out there” for whatever it is that they are asking. I can freely choose, and do, to support some of these causes. But I also now understand that I have the right to decline, and I need to exercise that right regularly or it will become weak and my life will be one endless guilt trip. Hard to write these words, but I wonder what others may think about the same subject?

    • NA on March 11, 2015 at 23:24

      I think that the realization that we cannot save the whole world in reality frees us up to work on the bit we’ve been given as our job.

  29. margaret nunn on March 11, 2015 at 19:06

    The best thing on my smartphone is the Cortana quiet hours function. You can set it up to be completely silent so you can forget it, but it sends an automatic answer so callers know you are ok. An absolute boon when you want to worship or meditate in peace!

  30. Patricia on March 11, 2015 at 18:14

    I’m not very good at setting boundaries. If I did, I would not be gritting my teeth all the time which causes a lot of mouth pain. I cherish the moments when I can just be.

  31. Sophfronia on March 11, 2015 at 17:06

    I recently discovered the “Do Not Disturb” setting on my phone. It silences incoming messages/alerts during a selected amount of time, which for me is 11pm-7am. When I started using it I was surprised by how many messages had to be silenced between 11 and midnight, when I was already asleep. I keep my phone by my bed because it’s my alarm clock so such messages used to wake me up and I allowed them to do so. I like the freedom gained from taking back this time.

  32. Kenneth Knapp on March 11, 2015 at 16:56

    I am trying to adhere to a schedule that builds in time for prayer/time for exercise/time for recreation. I don’t want it to be a rigid thing, but I think that I need to give my day some structure in retirement. I’m sort of modeling it on the days that I have experienced when on retreat at SSJE. There is enough to do so as not to get bored, but a routine that leaves plenty of time to think and read.

  33. Shane on March 11, 2015 at 16:20

    I was so pulled in by Curtis this morning. I was waiting for him to tell me how to set limits on my I-phone. But he did not. I am addicted to it. I will try to face up to that. I know that I am the only one who can make the decision to control my access. Thank you for the gentle nudge.

    • Janet on March 11, 2015 at 20:06

      Remember, Shane, you can turn it off, and retrieve messages later!

  34. Martha Paine on March 11, 2015 at 15:40

    I agree with Linda, Take time to quiet the mouth, Holy. Silence is what I pray for and it will help me to. Say NO to many demands of my time and then regret what I have committed to do.

  35. Michael on March 11, 2015 at 13:45

    I have time and it weighs too heavily on me at times

  36. Karen on March 11, 2015 at 13:19

    Definitely limits on work would give me life…limits on how many projects can be due at one time, for instance, although that’s completely out of my control at the moment. I can also try harder to pace myself during the slower times so that the crunch times won’t be so difficult.

  37. Carole on March 11, 2015 at 13:15

    At one time I said “yes” to every request made of me, and as a result I was harried, frantic and not very happy. It took a while but I learned to say “No”, though I still will have at times that quilty ping feeling. I later used this at work in the reverse. Telling people “if I ask you to work extra hours and you can’t/don’t want to, say ‘No’, it is a complete sentence and not to worry about the answer.

  38. Harold Pound on March 11, 2015 at 12:34

    I limit my time of service to three times a week at the homeless shelter with the 20 respite men. I also help out at my church by serving and occasional preaching. I’m blessed to be retired, to have enough money to pay the bills, and to have my masters degree in Theology and Pastoral Care.

  39. David Bowring on March 11, 2015 at 12:31

    This may sound pretty theoretical, but I strive to accept the limits of my humanity. Age, health, income, family involvements. etc. Mostly my struggle to accept that I cannot change all the things in life that I believe are wrong. “If I ruled the world….”

    • NA on March 11, 2015 at 23:22

      Sounds rather practical to me. 🙂

  40. Andrew on March 11, 2015 at 12:27

    What a powerful question … a question from Bro. Curtis that as usual goes to the very heart of the issues around time. This series is so probing and penetrating into how we use time; a real timely reminder from God, through the monks, for us to truly value this most precious of commodities

  41. pat taylor on March 11, 2015 at 12:12

    When some one asks,” Have you got a minute?. This won’t take long”. I sometimes wish I had the nerve to say, :”No, I am busy being in my own head and it will take longer than you say”
    So far I have not mastered a technique of protecting against importuning. Maybe I don’t really want to..

  42. Nicki on March 11, 2015 at 11:56

    Learning to say, “No, not then,” is vital. It always meets with cooperation and a couple of alternative offerings. I have freedom to think, evaluate what took place at one place before moving on to the next, and it eliminates the victim feeling I had when time seemed to be in control of me. This brings back the routine question. If I’d learned to say ‘no’ earlier, I wouldn’t have felt so steered by routines, throughout my life.
    This also reminds me of Br. Geoffrey’s recalling of the “principle central to the monastic understanding of work: that we don’t run ourselves down into the ground so that we’re in desperate need of rest…so that we remain centered, balanced and sane.” Beautifully put!

  43. A&P on March 11, 2015 at 11:48

    Instead of becoming angry with everyone in my life for wanting too much, I am giving them all “haircuts”.
    My husband will pay more of the bills, me less.
    I won’t take personal days to see my sons, we will fit into the regular vacations.
    I am visiting my parents every 3 weeks, not every one or two. They can afford to hire help, or live dirty.
    I am coming home from work by 5, and no weekends or evenings.
    Most interestingly, I am considering retirement to increase my choices. I have six weeks to finalize whether to make that choice. Emotionally I am leaning toward yes, so I can redefine my life!

    • Clare Keller on March 11, 2015 at 19:28

      Good for you! Whichever way you choose, keep on making wise decisions.

    • Susan Dredge on March 12, 2015 at 12:26

      Well done but if you take retirement, be cautious of again not over-stretching yourself. People think if you are retired you must have nothing to do. I took a year out when I retired and did not volunteer for anything. Sadly I have found myself saying words I never thought I would say “how did I find time to go to work” but I only have myself to blame for this. I am now taking time back to consider what time I want to give.

  44. John Goddard on March 11, 2015 at 11:22

    Boundaries in work are vital to any ministry. Being a workaholic is not helpful or a good model for anyone. I learned this from my first rector as I was fresh out of seminary. He worked everyday and when I started modeling this pattern he stopped and told me to take care of self so as to be a better priest. He died a few years later and his wife thanked me for giving her her husband for those few years. But it was really Amos, my rector who taught me.
    # DIOWNY #SSJEtime

  45. Linda on March 11, 2015 at 11:18

    My limits would come from my ability to listen and not talk so much. That is when I have the most trouble with limits. My time is pretty much etched in a day because I must pray, exercise, work, eat, and relax everyday … weekends are pretty much the same but perhaps a little more free time when I can do my puzzles and read/watch my mysteries … but my mouth, I must limit the use of that orifice so it doesn’t hurt people or how people see me as a child of God.

    • Tracy on March 14, 2015 at 04:24

      Love this!! Lol! Makes me laugh. I might be similar actually!

  46. Verlinda on March 11, 2015 at 10:32

    Learning to say no without feeling guilty or explaining. Stop being the first person to raise their hand to volunteer. If someone else doesn’t step up, that doesn’t mean it’s up to me every time.

    The projects/initiatives may be good, and God might very well be pleased by them, but to drain myself in their service so that I become singularly unpleasant and unhealthy wouldn’t please God.

    Taking “me” time every day.

  47. Linda B on March 11, 2015 at 10:26

    I struggle with setting boundaries. But I am now trying to say “no” unless I am truly led to take on a new project.

  48. Louise Howlett on March 11, 2015 at 09:59

    In the last two years I have been setting my own work schedule for the most part, which is liberating and difficult at the same time. If I am too busy, it is my responsibility to say no. If I am bored or lonely it is my responsibility to connect and make a plan to be with my husband, my friend, my colleague. This is helping me to be more intentional about work time and allowing myself down time without guilt- still often a challenge.

  49. Joan Alayne stevens on March 11, 2015 at 09:40

    Being able to say no without giving a reason is freeing and feels good. This is true even if and when one’s schedule for a requested timeframe is open.

    • Melinda on March 11, 2015 at 10:51

      Thank you Joan for this reminder!

  50. Aimee on March 11, 2015 at 09:34

    To stop working on anything for the day past or day to come by 8pm each evening. Regardless.

    • bob on March 11, 2015 at 11:10

      Bold and sensible. Keep it up.

  51. John on March 11, 2015 at 09:34

    Keeping the smartphone off or inaccessible (in my car while I am in office), closing the office door, setting time limits for openended tasks, agenda with times for meetings, time limits on conferences, real deadlines…

  52. Rev Tom Calhoun on March 11, 2015 at 09:32

    I receive many requests for my time, and for financial assistance. The money part is easy; my ministry is funded entirely out of my own pocket, and I am retired with a limited income. This time thing, though… I recall a passage from the Rule, “We will find the demands made upon us too many and our resources too few.” This passage, from the chapter, “The Spirit of Poverty,” reminds us that this situation is in itself a gift from God, for which I am grateful.

  53. Greg on March 11, 2015 at 09:31

    The ability to fully embrace and accept forgiveness.

    • NA on March 11, 2015 at 23:19

      I can relate to that quest. Have you ever read The Art of Forgiveness by Lewis Smedes? It is the best and sanest treatment of forgiveness I have ever read. I also loved the movie “An Unfinished Life” which was directed by Lasse Hallestrom (sp?) It, too deals with forgiveness. May God grant you the desire of your heart.

  54. Meg on March 11, 2015 at 09:28

    I found it was hard to stop working when I could work at home. God heard my plea for more time when I was laid off. Now I’m looking for a go-to-work job as my way of setting a boundary for myself.

  55. Terri on March 11, 2015 at 09:19

    I learned a long time ago to set limits from the office. In the evenings, I tend to shut down all types of communication to spend precious time with my family.

  56. Lucia S. on March 11, 2015 at 09:18

    The only REAL obstacle I have to living life is me…my choices. I think that having structure and firm requirements to make my life a priority would help, but only because it would free me from the personal responsibility to achieve the balance I strive for. I pray that God will give me the strength, courage, and discipline to establish the limits and make the choices that will give me the life I want to have.

  57. Roderic Brawn on March 11, 2015 at 09:07

    Finding work to support myself over most of my life has been a factor in my understanding of the limits of my life. In Ontario, Canada, my wife is a retired teacher, and has a very good pension, which frees me from the need to seek work. I have a small teachers’ pension, as I worked as an occasional teacher for some years of my life. I also have some Canada Pension Plan income. What gives us our life back is being careful not to be swept into the desire for ocean cruises, Southern vacations and international travel that some of our retired colleagues who as couples have the sum of two retired teachers’ pensions can take.
    Knowing the means we have, and being content to live within them helps us to live peaceably. Now, my wife did work some supply teaching. That income really helped with Christmas and the like.
    We have been in the process of buying a new car. We have an eighteen-year old and an 21 year-old living in our home, and we would like to offer the freedom to all of us continuing to have two autos in the house will give.
    Still getting too worked up about the purchase of a car, and the fact that some of our wealth will have to go into it, can take away from our life without worry.
    So, making good decisions and walking away from them after they have been made is a way of giving oneself a peaceful life.

    We look for tasks we enjoy to do. Not too difficult for a trumpet-player and choral singer like me. My wife is an amateur political activist. Doing these things brings both of us pleasure. Of course, knowing when, for instance, I have practised (excuse my spelling) to the my limit, and for my wife to know that she has organized to the full extent of effectiveness will help us to know when standing back and reviewing is the best thing to do.

  58. Jerry Mawhinney on March 11, 2015 at 09:05

    Modern Technology has given us lap tops, I-Pads, cell phones, etc.etc.to keep us connected with the world. However, our inventions have out distanced our abilities to use them properly. We are much too connected with the world. We need to leave our cell phones and computers at home at certain times, especially when we are involved in family events and when we are worshiping our God.

    • Jane on March 11, 2015 at 11:52

      This is so true. It saddens me when I am out at a restaurant and see an adult sitting with family/friends who is engaged not in speaking with them but in conversation of his/her cell phone. And on a recent Sunday, someone’s cell phone went off in the middle of our service and she got up to answer the call. Later on, it went off again, but this time she ignored it.

  59. Kathy B on March 11, 2015 at 08:50

    I feel like I am doing better at setting aside time for God, but what needs attention is my leisure time. I would like to limit the work I carry home, especially on weekends. Since I teach school, however, I find that I am carrying home more and more because my days are filled attending to children’s needs. I am pretty good requiring the students to be more independent learners, but I still have to have work prepared for them to do. I need to find a way to prioritize both at school, in how my time is spent, and before I get home, in deciding what should be carried home.

  60. Karen on March 11, 2015 at 08:27

    If I could learn that I don’t have to be everyone’s helper; I don’t have to fix everyone’s problems. My co-workers, friends, and family will still love me if I say no (or maybe some won’t). And it is absolutely OK to take time for myself. Now, I just have to put this into action!

  61. Cheryll on March 11, 2015 at 08:13

    My desire to learn new things, skills, etc, is the hardest for me to set boundaries on.
    But I also find a quiet time for worship, thought, clearing my mind is essential.

  62. Barbara on March 11, 2015 at 08:05

    Having worked for 45 years, now retired, for me there are no “constraints of time” … except for the final one which moves closer every day.

  63. N on March 11, 2015 at 08:00

    This is a huge, urgent question. I welcome the thoughts and suggestions of my brothers and sisters who are on this Lenten journey alongside me.

    • Michael on March 11, 2015 at 13:36

      Remember, Saying no others is not always a negative thing

  64. Norm Anderson on March 11, 2015 at 07:59

    I work mostly at home and have “given up” Friday, Saturday and Sundays from office work. Setting limits and boundaries is always a challenge for me as I get demands on my time pretty often. I have a hard time between the lines of responding to a bonafide need and feeding myself.

    • Lisa on March 11, 2015 at 14:06

      What if one of those bona fide needs IS to feed yourself?

  65. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 11, 2015 at 07:51

    My wife and I have to split our time between two homes. One is in Redding, CA. and the other is in Weaverville, CA.
    Each one puts contraints on our time. Each home requires time to do our daily chores and packing necessary things, food and clothes each tgime we travel from one house to the other. It requires us to check and double check before leaving one home for another.

  66. Michael on March 11, 2015 at 07:48

    I limit muti – tasking. Driving while talking on the phone talking, dinner with friends and cell phones, and on and on. Whether it is a quiet walk or talking with my neighbor, limiting what I’m doing to what I’m doing allows me the freedom to be present. Present to the silence around me, to wheels of the car as they hum over the road, or to the concerns of someone I am talking with. Br. Curtis has asked a thought – provoking question.

  67. Kathleen on March 11, 2015 at 07:43

    This is lovely, because it is so countercultural. I am very lucky. I am a stay-at-home mom and am fairly good at setting boundaries in my personal life. A friend of mine is in a miserable job situation where he is expected to be all things to all people. The lack of boundaries around his job is wearing him out. I have shared this with him. Thank you.

  68. Vicky Moore on March 11, 2015 at 07:39

    If I understand my motive for doing something I am better able to observe healthy boundaries. As Henri Nouwen wrote in his book, The Inner Voice, “Every time you do something that comes from your needs for acceptance, affirmation, or affection, and every time you do something that makes these needs grow, you know that you are not with God.” (Page 24)

    • Melinda on March 11, 2015 at 10:43

      Thank you Vicki for sharing this. Such a good reminder, and one that I often need. Old habits, patterns die hard and the practice of self examination of my motives does help me to recognize and then choose a different path.
      God’s blessings 🙂

    • NA on March 11, 2015 at 23:14

      Love Nouwen. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Susan Dredge on March 12, 2015 at 12:24

      Very powerful words Vicky and in my case sometimes very true.

  69. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 11, 2015 at 07:27

    Br. Curtis has his finger on the pulse of modern life. If we set our own boundaries, and live within them, we are truly free.

    • Joanna. Cotter on March 13, 2015 at 14:21

      Setting our own boundaries-great idea, making it work depends on who you are, what you want & how curious you are. For me, retirement
      (going on 12 yrs.)gave me more time to delve into my interests. With a husband who shares many of the same interests, plus more curiosity, we are busy 5-6 days weekly. But we have found enriching activities. Both avid readers, we attend book clubs, classes, & our churches/
      programs. Living in FL a good part of the year, we garden & ride bikes. Yoga & dancing keep us fit, focused & satisfied.

  70. Jeanne on March 11, 2015 at 07:23

    I think, oddly enough, that having a schedule would give me life. And then not crowding it with myriad obligations. My life is too impromptu. I say that but then there are things I will still drop everything to do – babysitting for a grand niece is the latest thing. Then I can’t complete the things that I really should do. So I have life, if intermittently, but live a lot of it in anxiety about what I should be doing.

    • Lisa on March 11, 2015 at 12:11

      The tyranny of, “I’ll just start this one little project before I leave home.” Which means I will arrive late to the meeting, appointment, or recreation.
      Or, “It’s 9pm. I’ll just work a little more on this little clean-up project before bedtime. Oops, it’s midnight!”
      Now I have seven minutes to get to my tutoring

      • Lisa on March 11, 2015 at 14:29

        Jeanne, I meant this as a general comment, not specifically in response to you. But, in response to you, I also feel I need a healthy schedule –framework might be a more helpful, less guilt-filled word– but I have learned that the framework itself will not bring me life. My willingness to engage in the space and time the framework provides is what brings me life and helps me see that my life is not impromptu or intermittent
        (two words I often feel describe my day).
        Thanks for sharing your story.

  71. Bob Stains on March 11, 2015 at 07:18

    Deliverance from the “tyranny of the urgent” email whispering its importance: “No time for prayer; look at me! If you don’t, bad things will happen….”

    The limits of Emery House give me life: limits on having to listen and speak; the daily office with its defined times for worship and prayer; the woods shielding me from the visual and auditory cacophany of urban life.

  72. Virginia Brooks on March 11, 2015 at 07:04

    I try to make some time for nothing every day – time when I can just be in the presence of the Holy Spirit and have no agenda, no distractions, but just be in the moment. This is probably the hardest thing for me to do, but so essential to balance and renewal.

  73. Tom on March 11, 2015 at 06:51

    Limits on computer time.
    I have never texted, tweeted or been a member of a social media group. Although I am social and enjoy my friends very much, I prefer communicating with people in person or by telephone.
    The difference between
    receiving an incrypted message which includes something like, “i (picture of a heart) U” and hearing my adult son or daughter say the words, “I love you”over the telephone is limitless.

  74. Christopher Epting on March 11, 2015 at 06:46

    As an assisting bishop on retirement, I have been given the blessed gift of being able to say “No.” After my initial priorities of Sunday visitations and some ecumenical/interfaith commitments, I can politely decline many other requests!

  75. Linda H. on March 11, 2015 at 06:22

    I’m not good at setting time boundaries. I like to say yes. I like to please. I want to be the person who reads, goes to plays, exercises, etc. there are things I don’t do such as crafts and television, but mostly I look for a full balanced life and don’t think in terms of boundaries. This is food for thought.

  76. Kara on March 11, 2015 at 06:11

    The limitation of not trying to “fix” everyone-nor trying to please everyone. To be willing to rest…and let God’s will be done…

    • Celeste on March 11, 2015 at 14:57

      It is certainly easier said than done.

  77. suzanne robinson on March 11, 2015 at 05:57

    This Lenten offering from SSJE has filled me with the
    ever present awareness that God, the Creator of the
    Universe and Father of our Lord an Saviour Jesus
    Christ waits upon our awakening with such joy ~
    showering us with the co-creative gift of the Holy
    and Life giving Spirit throughout the day if I would
    but turn and offer the simple gift of an open and
    loving heart. It’s a precious, hallowed time, this
    wakening to the wonder of the Holy Presence
    present. We huddle in prayer and Word.While
    still dark, I rise to dress and head off to St. Paul’s
    for 6:45 a.m. Morning Prayer followed by 7 a.m
    Holy Eucharist. This pattern establishes
    the stability necessary for me to go forward
    with others out into the world. I am a beggar at the Holy Table of God’s redeeming Love through Christ.
    All is Grace and Mercy.

  78. Julie on March 11, 2015 at 05:43

    There is a time…and place for everything. I don’t feel obligated to answer that phone each and every time. I let it go to voice mail. If it’s truly important, that person will call back. After my evening bath or shower it’s my own time for the rest of the evening. To read, or talk to my husband. Or if I choose, the phone or email. But not for obligations or plans for things. Leisure talk and sharing is a good way to think of it. Definitely no contact or phone calls in the mornings until my prayer time is done and I’m on the road to the city for work.

    • Susan Dredge on March 12, 2015 at 12:21

      I strive not to be a prisoner to time and certainly not to technology. Often my very basic mobile phone (only calls/texts) is not even switched on!! I can be “selfish” with my time and let the phone ring and return the call when I am able to. I am not constantly at the computer. Sometimes it cannot be helped that boundaries are breached but I can always find time, sometimes short, sometimes longer, to have my quiet time, listen for God and say my thanks. I pray for those who cannot make boundaries or take time.

  79. bob on March 11, 2015 at 03:52

    I will just work 9-5, Monday to Friday

    OK. So, 8.30 – 5.30

    Well, definitely not more than 8-6, and only the occasional weekend. For an hour. Or two…

    I creep as deadlines near, as exciting opportunities present, as I want to gain “fame”.

    Br Curtis has reminded me again I need to cut back and reshape. Thank you.

    • A&P on March 11, 2015 at 11:37


    • Diane on March 11, 2015 at 14:20

      Being a Realtor is open to being on call for the public at all times. We receive e-mails and calls from 9:00 AM-9:00 PM. Thursday is our day off. Sunday morning is my day off. And Saturday I often work 1/2 a day. Making clear boundaries is very difficult. When the phone does not ring, the real work begins to make it ring. Habits are the only things that work. I mentor 2 nights of EFM Classes and that helps to keep me in touch with the holy as well a Sunday morning Worship. I guess I like busy.

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