Love Thy Neighborhood

Maintaining Boundaries

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This is part 2 of a 2 part series on creating and maintaining boundaries from our Operations Administrator, Kiana Brown.

I had said “yes” to every opportunity but I wasn’t any closer to the person I wanted to be at the end of my life.

After college, I was still maintaining the same lifestyle PLUS working a full time job, I was living in a constant state of being burned out. We had a staff training one day and the person leading the group gave each of us a 3×5 index card and told us to write down what we wanted to be remembered for after we were dead. We took 5 minutes and were furiously writing. When time was up, I looked at my card and beamed with pride. My card telling the tale of a well lived life. Then the presenter asked, “What steps are you taking now to make this a reality?” My smile slowly faded and my shoulders slumped. I had packed my life so full of activities, clubs and tasks because that was what I was “supposed” to do. But as I looked at the index card I held in my hand, those commitments seemed meaningless. I had said “yes” to every opportunity that came my way but I wasn’t any closer to the person I wanted to be at the end of my life. That was a scary reality.

From that journey I learned some practical ways to create and maintain boundaries in my life that I want to pass along. These are by no means all encompassing but a great place to start.

– Make a list of your needs. You have to know yourself to know your needs. Each person’s needs will look very different. A helpful tool for knowing yourself is the Enneagram or Meyers Briggs.
– Make a priority list. Making a priority and needs list makes it easier to say “no” to things that aren’t in support of that list and it gives you a filter by which to make decisions.
– Make a list of what you want an ideal week to look like. Ask your community to review it and get accountability.
– Try waiting 24 hours before saying yes to commitments. This will help you slow down and evaluate your decisions and look back at your lists.
– Schedule weekly rejuvenating time and quarterly retreats.
– Use “Do Not Disturb” and other practical features on electronic devices to give yourself space from work/school related items.

Boundaries are always created in supportive communities.

We can pride ourselves in our jam packed schedules but inwardly we are wasting away. Even the God of the universe had a day of rest. Even Jesus had boundaries and made time to get away. There were constant needs surrounding Jesus during his ministry here on earth but he was able to make wise boundaries because he had his ultimate goal through which he could filter all decisions. In the same way we need an “ultimate goal” to filter our decisions. If God the Father rested and his Son said “no” to what seemed to be pressing needs, how much more do you think we need that as well? Living a burned-out lifestyle and seeing what I wanted as my ultimate reality was what lead me to pursue better boundaries and ultimately a better life. I hope you will choose better by pursuing God’s best for your life by creating and maintaining healthy boundaries inside of supportive community.

Kiana Brown serves as the Operations Administrator for Love Thy Neighborhood. She is also an alumni of the program and served with the homeless for a year in 2010-2011. She now lives in Louisville with her husband Bradley and son Pax.

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