Boundaries

After a week hiatus, week 4 of my collaboration with Ruth is finally up! Read her thoughts on boundaries here (do it!), and in the meantime, feel free to peruse my writing below.

Boundaries are both loved and despised. There is a comfort and a stability to ‘staying in the boundaries’ and a certain ease of existence that follows with no pushing of the bounds; be it in a social scenario, within any given construct (work, school, sports, any game) or within yourself.

At the same time though, there is nothing quite as thrilling as stepping outside of whatever constraints have been put in place, whether breaking the social norms for no one but yourself, or stepping outside of your comfort zone in a different way. True progress and growth as an individual is often the result of stepping over self-imposed boundaries.

But is there a limit to the overstepping? Is there a point where we must seriously consider the ramifications of pushing our comfort zone to its limits?

To these questions I want to present an analogy: the Montana highways of old.

And what I mean by the Montana highways of old is the period of time when Montana did not have speed limits on its major interstates and highways, simply the urge to drive ‘prudent and safe.’

I picture our lives a lot like the roads crisscrossing my beloved home state.

God has created the roads before us. God has created the vehicle we drive. God has created our starting point. God created those icky rest stop bathrooms along the way that are both a blessing and a curse (from personal experience: enter only with closed toed shoes..). And God has created all of the infinite destinations we could arrive at.

And then He hands us the keys.

We can drive as fast or as slow as we want. We can stay the course, or take our car rampaging through the woods. God doesn’t pull us over if we are speeding, and he doesn’t stop us from driving off the road. He gives us paths to follow, an infinite supply of gas, and safe havens to rest at and pursue. He leaves the rest up to us.

So back to boundaries.

We can all imagine what taking the wheel of our vehicle and doing what we please with it could result in. Flat tires. Fender benders. Fatal rollovers.

Maybe it does pay to follow the rules of the road.

And at the same time, if there is a two mile stretch of straight away, I know God wants us to rev it to 100 and feel the thrill of pushing our vehicles to their potential, feeling the wind whip in our hair. There is nothing quite as sad as squandering such a strip of road at 55 mph (cough cough, Oregon, cough cough).

We have all the tools, and we have two sets of boundaries.

The ones carving and constructing the landscapes and scenery and natural paths we have the privilege of being able to experience and maneuver through.

And the ones we place on ourselves while driving through this world.

Some boundaries constraining, some boundaries freeing.

And God leaves it up to us to decide which ones break.

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