Tell me if you’ve heard this before about the path to success, “If it was easy then everyone would be doing it”? Generally speaking, many of us start off on the right path in life but for some reason, we veer off the path and can’t quite seem to stay on the path to success. I believe it’s due to the lack of setting boundaries.
There’s a story of a broad/wide road and a narrow way. The broad and wide road leads to destruction, leads to failure, and so many people are on this road because it’s the easy route.
Then there are only a select few people who decides to take the narrow way that leads to life, that leads to success. This road is more difficult. The key difference between the broad road and the narrow way are boundaries.
On your way to work or whenever you’re traveling, you’ve probably noticed those iron and wooden railings on the side of the road. Guardrails are a system designed to keep you from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas. I would like for you to look at boundaries as your internal guardrails.
On the path to success, it is important that you establish your own mental guardrails which should serve as warning signs to keep you from getting into those dangerous or off-limit areas that lead to failure and not, success.
In the best-selling book “Boundaries“, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend states that boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.
I want to push you to create your own mental guardrails to help you establish behaviors and principles to protect you from unnecessary long-term physical, emotional, financial or professional pain or setbacks in the future.
2 Reasons to Set Boundaries
Guard Your Heart
Sometimes we like to flirt with danger, getting as close to the line as possible. It’s important that we take the advice of a Hebrew proverb that says, “guard your heart with all diligence.” (Pro 4:23) Your heart is your will, emotions, feelings and your mind. What are you letting in? What are you releasing out?
Maybe you have had the unfortunate experience of crashing into a guardrail on the road. Yes, it probably left some damage and you probably had some temporary pain, but just imagine if that guardrail wasn’t there and you veered off a cliff or into a canal.
That’s the importance of having these mental guardrails, it’s for your protection. It protects your heart.
It’s important to understand that boundaries are not walls. Think of them as fences because fences have gates. Boundaries help you keep the good in and the bad out. Let’s face it, you’ve made mistakes, had failures, and you’re probably holding in a lot of bad emotions and experiences.
Open the gates and let the bad out and let the good in as you stay laser focused on that narrow way to success.
Burdens & Loads
Our second point is direction, dealing with others within boundaries. We are responsible to others and for ourselves. The Apostle Paul once said that we are to carry, share, and support each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2). He also said that each one should carry their own load (Gal 6:5).
There’s a big difference between burdens and loads. The Greek word for burden means excessive or overloaded burden. Think of a boulder, there’s no way we should be carrying a boulder each day.
For example, a burden could be a tragedy, crisis, or maybe a major loss in your life or someone else life. You should be helping or having someone else help you carry that burden. On the flip side, the Greek word for “load” is a daily responsibility. Picture a backpack.
Obviously, it’s easier to carry a backpack every day versus a boulder. Setting boundaries always require that you take responsibility for your own backpack, your own actions, thoughts, and behaviors.
When creating your boundaries it’s important to always have a support network to help you with your boulders/burdens, or to help others with their burdens. Setting and maintaining boundaries is hard work, not overwork.
It’s extremely important that you have a work-life balance because overworking on your daily load can lead to burnout, and burnout is just a one-way ticket to that broad road to failure.
We can’t trust ourselves to know when our boundaries are being violated. -Melody Beattie
Also, you have to put some teeth behind your guardrails, you have to backup your boundaries with consequences for yourself as well as others who step out of bounds. You have to learn how to say “no” when other people try to pass their loads on you; freeloaders.
You can’t be all things to all people. It takes discipline, self-control and wisdom to know what you should and shouldn’t be doing. You can’t carry everybody’s load and you shouldn’t carry your burdens alone.
As a reminder, it’s extremely important that you establish these guardrails to keep you from straying into those dangerous and off limit areas, to stay on that narrow way to success. I can’t promise that it’s going to be easy. It’s going to take hard work, but it will be worth it.
Do you struggle with setting boundaries, if so which area in your life is the hardest? Please comment below.