About Boundaries

Becky asked if we’re setting boundaries or building walls.

We’re doing lots of planning and dreaming right now, about the FREEDOM TOUR and about life. Like most good questions, this one stuck and rattled around in my brain. As I realized the depth of Becky’s question, I listed some important differences between walls and boundaries.

Walls divide. A wall clearly defines us and them…and keeps them out. Once I build a wall and install a door with a lock, nobody gets in unless I approve.

Boundaries actually bring people together. A boundary lets people know who we are, what we stand for, how we operate. It’s an invitation – if this sounds good, come and join us. If it’s not for you – that’s okay as well.

Walls tend to be permanent. One the bricks are set and the mortar dries, a wall’s not readily moved a few feet. So even if circumstances change, the wall stays. Permanence leads to set-in-stone, black/white thinking. Once you’ve invested in the wall and what it represents, you have to maintain it and defend its existence.

Why do we draw “lines in the sand?” Because sometimes, as circumstances change, as people learn and grow, we need to re-draw the boundary. Easier to move a boundary than that rigid, intractable barrier.

Walls are about fear and mistrust, about creating some sense of control (real or imagined) over a small piece of a chaotic world. Of course, you’re only as safe as your defenses. Pretty soon you may see “bad guys” lurking everywhere and you’re a prisoner in your own castle.

Boundaries offer the opportunity for authentic engagement. As people are attracted to the light of your mission, they’ll step into the circle. You’ll encounter folks you might have missed, perhaps people sent by God.

Some might violate, misunderstand, or ignore our boundaries. Pain, disappointment, heartbreak are inevitable, No boundary – or wall – can repel them completely. Well-defined boundaries leave open the possibility of relationship, love, and service that are precluded by walls.

Some walls are useful. A house protects me and my family, to some degree, from weather and unwelcome intrusion. I want those walls to stand firm, and I’m not replacing them with a line in the sand.

But God created us for relationship. Hiding behind fortifications, *pretending* they can keep us completely safe, is a recipe only for isolation. The alternative is healthy, well-defined, adaptable boundaries.

Once in a while I’m tempted to create a list of rigid requirements for joining the FREEDOM TOUR. Because…what if someone shows up who doesn’t belong, doesn’t fit in?

That’s a wall. It’s fear whispering that I need to be in control because I can’t trust God to draw the people HE wants into the circle.

It’s simple, and really difficult, to establish clear boundaries and welcome those who decide to join.

Ride bikes. Follow Jesus. Serve each other. Bring hope and freedom to kids rescued from human trafficking.

Hope you’ll join us.

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