As a strong advocate for women who are ready to Establish Proper Boundaries in all areas of their lives, the search for foundational principles that support this quest is never-ending.
As I search through MY best reference source, the Bible, I am always amazed at the correlation between God’s Word and the importance of setting proper boundaries. Exodus 34:12 –
“Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant or mutual agreement with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in the midst of you.”
This was God’s warning to the Israelites informing them of their responsibility once they left Egypt and before they entered the promised land.
This is an important boundary to establish and relates to many areas of your life, but for this conversation, it relates to your “association” and the people who you may allow to influence you.
What God is basically saying here is that you will be placed in an environment where others are not like you.
As we live day-to-day, we are surrounded by those that don’t share our beliefs or our values.
I AM SURE THAT THIS IS NO SURPRISE TO YOU
What’s important to remind ourselves, is that just because we are surrounded by them, does not mean that we have to allow their practices and behaviors to influence us to go outside of your own values.
The more you place yourself in the environment where they reside, the areas that are contrary to your beliefs as children of God, the more you are susceptible to MIRRORING their behavior.
So What Does This Look Like?
Let’s take your place of employment as an example. Companies are notorious for loosening boundaries. Every day, they are allowing their employees to “push the envelope” on the boundaries they try to establish within their control; employees coming in to work; inching their way into the office later and later, taking longer breaks than warranted, using company equipment for personal gain (internet, copiers, office supplies) – all forms of theft that cost employees millions upon millions of dollars in one form of revenue or another. When we see others getting away with something, we tend to feel validated in doing the same.
Now, back to Exodus 34:12.
When we have a covenant or mutual agreement with the inhabitants of the land – when we agree to follow their behavior, we place ourselves in a position where we compromise not only our values, or our position, we also jeopardize or standing with Christ.
Now, I know many people who will try to justify their behavior, such as in the examples listed. The act of justification in itself is a form of turning away from the original covenant established between you and God. Right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter how you look at it.
As we remain diligent in heeding God’s instruction from our Life Instruction Manual (The B-I-B-L-E), we place ourselves in a position of right living, thereby living a life that is rewarded for our acts of obedience to His Word and the acknowledgement of our values.
Now this entire subject may be getting a bit uncomfortable, only you know the level of your discomfort. Who knows, I might be reading your mail.
Reading this verse gives me an opportunity to feel this discomfort in a quiet place where it’s just He and I, and to begin candidly considering what I do and where I might fall short.
It’s not until I face this uncomfortable place that I will begin to consider my actions in this place where I reside and begin to work towards establishing a firm boundary with how I live to ensure that I am keeping my covenant with the One who determines my destiny, not only in this life, but in the hereafter.
We must get to the place, as uncomfortable as it may be, that we are striving to live a life that is pleasing to Him and not allow the inhabitants of this land to influence our behavior just because “everyone else is doing it – why not?”
Remember, everyone is NOT YOU, nor do they have the special calling that you have. So don’t allow them to influence you in a way, no matter how minor it may seem, to veer away from doing right, living right and all that comes along with that commitment.
TAKE HEED. That means pay attention; observe, analyze, consider. Take the time to reflect on your surroundings and be sure that you are establishing the boundaries needed to live the life that honors your values and no one else’s.
Life Coach and
Pamela Byrd (Wilderness Journeys) is a Spiritual Life Coach and Journaling Practitioner.
She is a staunch advocate for human potential and partners with individuals in learning how to develop the discipline of personal journaling as a tool for personal growth .
She has been journaling since she was 11 years old and conducts highly interactive journaling workshops both live and virtually for groups, churches and a variety of organizations.