Week 6 Day 6: Boundaries

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 6: Boundaries
What boundaries would it be helpful to put in place for yourself?
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Transcript of Video:

So you can’t have openness without limitation, because without limitation then I would say if it is my own limits, and I don’t know my limits, or I don’t (observe) them, then I am just everywhere and there is nothing other than me everywhere. If that makes any sense. Where I end something else begins and that immediately introduces the notion of mystery, whether it is God or another person. In a rule we also talk about when we are relating to other people not trying to make them into images of ourselves or making these demands of control. That requires openness to another point-of-view, just anything other than me. I have a limit and therefore I have needs. I need other people and I also need rules, for a lack of a better word – structure, guidelines. I need a container for which to hold me, which I think is what attracts me to this life and what attracts me to having a Rule. I have resisted this as much as anyone of having rules imposed or structure. I mean I’d love to just lay in bed all day if I could and do absolutely nothing. But would I have much of a life or do much with my life that I feel is a divine gift? Absolutely not. So I need rules, I need structure in order to go further and further. And I find that for me what begins as sort of resistance to that, you know, I think first approaching this need for rules and structure hesitantly and reluctantly more because I have to and eventually tipping over to the point where I do it because I want to, because I see the benefit of doing it.

– Br John Braught


  1. Jaan Sass on March 15, 2017 at 12:33

    Since leaving the military Ive been attending school, working around the house, and involved in Church. My anxiety cripples my desire to reach out at times, and ADHD keeps me jumping from one task to another. I do need boundaries on my spending. I also need boundaries on how much bad news I listen too. I usually read it until I become obsessed and angry. It will then set the whole tone for the rest of the day, I need to reach out and deepen my relationships with others so that I can grow personally.

  2. Linda on June 21, 2016 at 08:45

    I need boundaries on my mouth. I share too much about myself, views etc. I would like to draw others to Christ by example and almost no words. I would like to learn more on how to do that.

  3. Debbie on March 29, 2016 at 17:09

    Sometime people put too many boundaries on them selves and are not open to exploring, to seeing something in a different light, to inspiration. That is what helps me grow.

    • Chioma Nwaogu on February 13, 2021 at 14:25

      Boundaries that will not constrict my fledgling spiritual life will be very vital, and so , I would ensure that I don’t over do acts that I think can aid me in my journey of divine life and more, go for subtle but sure exercises.

  4. Claire on March 23, 2016 at 09:45

    Thank you. This hit my nail! OUCH AND YES! I fight routine so much (as you can see that I am behind in this reading) I do know that it is good and needed, but I pray to experience the joy of it. I must say I get a glimpse now and then, so I will press forward!!! This series “Growing a Rule of Life” has been a wonderful gift. Blessings to you all this Holy Week.

  5. Bettie on March 21, 2016 at 07:47

    Learn to say “no” . Consider the request/opportunity thoughtfully before saying ‘yes’. Build a structure for time so that I do the things I need to do in order to be the person God wants me to be; adding in the things I want to do, but adhering to the basic structure.

  6. Stan on March 20, 2016 at 20:03

    Actually, I already have too many boundaries in place. My spirit wishes to wander through life as an adventure, encountering folks from all walks of life, listening, comforting, supporting, and being supported, making friends, loving life and learning more about the love of God which is within us all, and finding my way towards a more complete self.

    But I live within a capitalist society, and I have many responsibilities (including a job) which impose time limitations, and keep me relatively grounded and rooted in one place. That being said, I do still have the opportunity to live my life with open mind and open heart. I am getting close to retirement now, so … perhaps I can find my wings and fly once I’ve finally shed these boundaries.

  7. a city monk on March 19, 2016 at 20:47

    When we laid out our garden design for this corner lot, it was without any boundaries… We took down fencing, and put in obvious walk throughs among the native plants. Ahh but it turned out — we were not mature enough to live with it. Really. In house, we had private space, semi private space and public space. And that! we were mature enough to live with.
    So many years of living in the deep country, 1/4 mile from the nearest paved road, with Bambi and Thumper and deer and hummingbirds dropping in to nest…. becoming a city monk has been quite a miss match. In recent months, I’ve become much more aware that I’m the one who isn’t maintaining balance and boundaries. There aren’t Barbarians at the Gate!
    I disturb the peace of myself and of those around me. The blessing of this “very grateful” practice is helping me to bring freshness to the experience of God’s abundance.
    I’ ve been so blessed by this journey with all of you…
    and very grateful.

  8. Winifred on March 18, 2016 at 22:12

    I need more “structure” on my time, so even setting aside precious time to do nothing, as well as to be productive in physical and intellectual and loving ways,
    would be a positive.

  9. Kristi on March 18, 2016 at 20:34

    I find I need structure and limits as well. When there’s a lack of structure or defined routine I tend to just float so to speak. Having parameters, boundaries is very healthy for me. I’m a fan of challenges for prescribed amounts of time, they keep me focused & im able to achieve more during that period of time. Otherwise, time just goes by & im not able to be as self disciplined as I’d like.

  10. susan zimmerman on March 18, 2016 at 19:25

    …middle & lower classes don’t need anymore boundaries.

  11. Eugene Wright on March 18, 2016 at 18:52

    I have several boundaries already that have helped me to grow so far, but I believe that I should establish a few more. In my garden, there should be a fence to keep negative thoughts and behaviors out. A fence to keep in my love for God and my neighbor; a fence to keep out vexation and anger; a fence to keep in charitableness; a fence to keep out procrastination and a fence to keep in industry and service.

    • Kathy D on July 10, 2020 at 15:46

      I love these thoughts. They hit home for me. Thank you for sharing them!

  12. Russell on March 18, 2016 at 14:59

    I think I work hard as separating my stuff from other people’s stuff. This boundary I call personal responsibility. The question I pose to myself is often “Is this something about which I must take direct action?” More difficult to set are the emotional boundaries that often blur and facilitate direct action that is misplaced, unrequired or even harmful to myself or others. In my life this often appears in the form of guilt or blame. In the hold of these emotions, I suffer from the delusion that I can have a beneficial effect, that I possess a useful opinion or that I have some magical knowledge that will prevail positively if only I force others to adhere or agree. Sometimes emotional boundaries blur when I misjudge my needs. In my life this appears in the form of self-pity or self-victimization. It takes a steady and faithful gait for me to stay on the path where God is in control and I am protected and loved. I don’t give up easily the notion that I am in charge.

  13. Faye Walter on March 18, 2016 at 13:31

    Thank you all for sharing yourselves. You offer much to respond to–even if my response is unclear to me right now.

  14. Mryka on March 18, 2016 at 11:43

    I’m afraid I can’t relate to wanting to stay in bed all day and do nothing! But I can relate to those who are finding themselves suddenly in a position of not having the strength or energy to do things they always did easily. I am in my late 60s and have been blessed with excellent health, I am still working full-time. But I can see the decline in energy starting, and I just have to flip over gradually to doing less, more particularly fewer activities that I am responsible for. But in our church we have many seniors who known how to do things but are having to restrict their time and involvement, and anybody still working (almost everybody else) doesn’t have the time or energy to take over.
    As I get older I think that I need to spend more time in prayer and worship, and my service could be to simply show up for services and help out where I can without extensive planning. But how does anything get done if we are all int he same boat, saying “no” because we simply can’t any more?

  15. Bill Spies on March 18, 2016 at 09:40

    In my case the boundaries I have to place on myself deal with my age, being in my late 60’s, knowing that my time is short, so using that time with a purpose to help others matters more than ever. Also being retired means conserving funds for the right purposes and not buying something just because I like it, but only if it’s critical to my or other folks needs for core life purposes. Now at the same time retirements means being able to give my whole time to useful purposes, ones that help the community, i.e., to give back to the community that I live in.

  16. Rhode on March 18, 2016 at 09:08

    My boundaries? ….thinking about a fence around my garden…good fences make good neighbors…what does my fence look like? Free form thought about what I am including…what am I excluding…..Ok, Fence out: gossip, negativity, fear, snobbery, ill will/pettiness, profanity of all sorts….Fencing in: life with Jesus, prayer, praise and thankfulness, forward thinking based on scripture, music, art, play time, laughing with close friends, ……reaching over the fence for new friends…opening the fence to urgings of the HS to include and to get out there…

  17. Betty on March 18, 2016 at 07:47

    The boundaries I need to put in place for myself are many some of them that come to mind are: stick to the line Jack has drawn in the sand no money for k and s; two glasses of wine a night if that; no new outfits for a bit; exercise daily; limit food intake; pray daily; don’t be afraid to say no listen to the voice of God.

  18. Muriel Akam on March 18, 2016 at 06:59

    I have certain daily rules for myself concerning habits , including prayers first thing in the morning , moments of thankfulness and contemplation during the day and the same in the evening. Being in my early 60s I am feeling the limitations of age and time and at times rush to do things that are on my ‘bucket’ list and at times just relax using my age as an excuse! I want to help and listen to others but have learned to have some boundaries although this is a little hard for me. I try to listen to my inner voice.

  19. Jim V on March 18, 2016 at 06:30

    When I think boundaries I think where will I stop and not go on.
    In terms of wasting time, I could set a boundary of no more than one hour a day of mindless entertainment, surfing or watching TV.
    In terms of eating, I could set regular times and meals.
    In terms of people, I can say no judging or criticizing and only helping.
    In terms of exercise I can set goals of frequency and movement.
    Similarly goals can be set for reading, music, meditation and other things. These type of items can be scheduled so they don’t get competed out.

  20. Suzanne on March 18, 2016 at 06:29

    The strength and energies of my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s is slipping away. While I learned a lot during these decades, in this decade of being in my 60s I am placing boundaries around my own abilities and inviting others to participate and have a role. Whether it’s at work programming a website or at home trimming hedges, including others in the process not only helps me, but helps them.

  21. Ruth West on March 17, 2016 at 19:54

    What boundaries would be helpful for me to put in place for myself? I must, of sheer necessity, observe physical boundaries for myself (at age 85.)
    I have dreams and desires of accomplishing much more than I am able to do. However, I have some priorities and honor those. I belong to three important groups, and so enjoy attending those meetings. But, too, I must listen to my body and refrain from foolish attempts to go against my better judgment. My church attendance is very important. But, even in that part of my life, I must set boundaries. Yesterday I had a severe asthma attack and could not do the things nor go the places I wanted to . I love staying in touch with my family members, but I must be careful not to become a hovering old mother, even at my age. They are busy people, absorbed in their work, so, most often, I wait for them to choose the times when we talk, which is quite often.
    Today I am mulling over the thoughts from this post. Thank you for it. May God bless you today.

    • Jane on March 18, 2016 at 05:51

      Thank you for what you’ve shared! I’m glad you mentioned your age because you inspire me to believe and pray that I will continue to be engaged for all the years that I am blessed to have. I am in my early 60s and sometimes wonder if I have what it takes to keep the momentum of vitality going, and I am beginning to feel more and more that my time on earth is limited. Sometimes I long for the feeling I had in my younger years, that I had all the time in the world, and yet I don’t think I used my time as wisely, that is, I don’t think I had a sense of limits, and the need to be more selective and intentional for how I spend my time.

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