Spiritual Cartography

From space, this planet has no lines dividing up continents, marking out where one country stops and another begins. But a good atlas shows you these boundaries. Once etched on a page by cartographers, now marked out via Computer-Aided Drafting, these boundaries identify the limits: the edge of a county, the end of a time zone, the limit of one government’s claim and the spot where another begins.

boundaryAre there lines etched out on your life? Lines that denote your limits? Boundaries that signify where your commitments, your energy, your involvement stops?

Putting limits in place – identifying boundaries – is critical to forging a life with time and energy and space for “being” with God. As a do-er who has a difficult time saying no and seems to perpetually feel tempted to take on new challenges and start new projects, I’ve learned this the hard way. In fact, I perpetually keep learning the hard way that it’s critical to draw lines that say “no.” Lines that say, “I’ve got this much on my plate and there’s not room for more.” Lines that say, “I will not stretch myself to my absolute limit.” Lines that say, “I need to reserve space for joy, for rest, for spontaneity, for unplanned time.”

These boundaries are often fluid, changing as we change and as we pass from one season of life into another. Boundaries might need to be tightened one month and then loosened, opening them up wider, the next. But they must be there.

They keep us safe, protecting our emotional and physical health. They help us reject the “have-it-all-all-at-once” myth our culture continues to push onto women. They enable us to ask God what our calling is for a season (or for a day) and be satisfied with that, however amazing or mundane it may seem. And boundaries help us be who we really are, enabling us to maintain the energy to give to others, to encourage, to laugh, to uplift, to love.

Setting boundaries isn’t easy. Sometimes it involves the painful practice of cutting things out and letting things go.

But I need them, and so do you.

What lines might God be inviting you to etch out in order to protect time, space, and energy to just “be” with him?

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One response to “Spiritual Cartography

  1. Struggling w/that very issue right now. My take on R. L. Stevenson’s wonderful poem: “The world is so full of a number of things: AAAARRRGGHHHHHH!” 😀

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