We don't talk much about boundaries anymore, what with the internet and all breaking down so many social, cultural and relational walls. It's kind of an old term used to describe the old ways we knew what was ours and what was theirs. But you can still find them today. Just look on any map and you'll see the clear boundary lines drawn between cities, states and entire countries. And I'm convinced, in a similar fashion, we need to draw some distinct boundary lines in our lives. But it's a lot easier said than done, when we're caught up with the likes of status updates and push notifications. The following are areas in my own life I am working on drawing distinct lines around.
The on/off switch for work (especially those of us who work for ourselves) is a big one. We need to learn how to be present when we're off the clock, and how to be focused when we're on the clock. But honestly, for me, it's still a great challenge. I've experienced both ends of the spectrum now, from a 9-5 office job to total freedom in my schedule to work whenever, from wherever. And it sounds weird to say, but I feel that now I have total freedom in my schedule I have a much harder time setting boundaries. Not to mention being a father of almost a 1-year old now. Doing a good job, at home and at work, takes some serious work. (pun intended) There is a lot to be said here, but one way in which my wife and I work together to help bring a greater balance to our lives, and my work life, is sitting down every week and making a schedule for the week ahead. We are now those people that if it's not on our calendars, then we probably won't be there. We've totally found the freedom in scheduling our lives.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. From our closest family and friends to the neighbors we see at our local coffee shop. But not everyone we meet needs to be our best friend. That's one of the hard truths I'm facing right now in life. Getting over the "everyone must like me" complex and realizing that the friends I do have deserve all my attention. It's hard to stay focused on the one right in front of you if you're constantly looking over their shoulders to who you might talk to next. That's why I believe Jesus shared his life with only twelve others. And if Jesus can't handle more than a dozen dudes to live intentionally with, then how can I expect to be "friends" with hundreds, if not thousands, of other strangers? I like how in the movie Jerry Maguire Tom Cruises' character learned this lesson the hard way. He was charming, hard-working, but he took a risk and shared what we all feel inside and was outcast because of it. However, look at what happens to him in the end. He builds this beautiful relationship with his one, single, client and finds what it means to really love someone... "You. Complete. Me." Sorry I don't know how I made the connection from Jesus to Tom Cruise, but I trust you get the larger point I'm trying to make. Bigger is not always better when it comes to relationships.
This, to me, is a growing concern. If we never stop to ask ourselves "is it worth sharing" then we will continue this snowball effect in our lives of constantly sharing based on the way we feel when someone else "likes" part of our life. It feels like the norm is to say "it's okay, we're all a little socially awkward, but we can all hang out together if we're on our phones." And why should we challenge that notion? I know I'm the worst at keeping a conversation going. I'm really awkward at walking up to people at social functions and introducing myself. The phone is a warm and cushy blanket that protects us from being vulnerable. Not to mention the soft glow upon our face in a dark room makes us all look a little more mysterious. But the phone, rather the apps we choose to use on our phone, are the jagged knife quickly cutting the chords on the art of having a real conversation. Shit! Sooner or later, if we're not careful, we will all just be using Siri to talk for us. Friends, let's work together to put the tools we use in their right place, say in our pockets, at the appropriate times, say around the dinner table. I gladly welcome my friends to challenge me on this and call me out when I'm getting side-tracked on social media.