3 Tips for Making Healthy Boundaries


One of my favorite authors, Richard Swenson, discusses the concept of “dysfunctional math, ” when he uses mathematics to demonstrate that humanity simply can’t keep up with the speed of progress.

Here are just a few of his examples:

  • The average American is exposed to 10 hours of media per day and watches 34 hours of television per week.
  • Go to college and you can choose from over 500 baccalaureate degrees.
  • There are 55,000 configurations of coffee at Starbucks.
  • In the next century, we will have a million times more technology than we do now.
  • Knowledge workers check e-mail 50 times a day, instant messaging 77 times a day, and visit 40 websites per day.
  • The average desk worker starts something new every 3 minutes.
  • One third of us live with extreme stress and 48% believe it has increased over the past 5 years (2008).
  • There was more change in the last century than in all of recorded history prior to 1900.
  • There will be a thousand times more change in this century than the last.
  • Apple offers 800,000 apps in its Apps Store, and 50 billion apps have been downloaded.
  • There are 90,000 governmental bodies in the U.S.
  • In 1800 there was just 1 city with a million people; now there are 381.
  • The percentages of households in the U.S. that are married couple households: 1950–79%; 1960–74%; 1970–70%; 1980–61%; 1990–56%; 2000–52%; 2010–49.7%.

Cutting the Fat


The facts of the world we live in are listed above. While some people (perhaps the Amish and other likeminded orders) have fallen outside of this paradigm of dysfunction, the majority of us are being rushed along a rolling river and are in desperate need of a safety raft!

In an increasingly complex world that produces information at the speed of light, where should we stand? How should we as Christ-followers adapt to this overload? How can we set healthy and sustainable boundaries in our personal lives and our families that will ensure God-centered living and priorities?

These are all questions that I have pondered regularly the last several years. Our own family has increased from 2-6 people over the last seven years. We have had to adapt and find a “new normal” with each new addition. We have had to work together to find and keep healthy boundaries a priority.

3 Tips to Setting Healthy Boundaries

1) Prayerfully determine a personal and/or family mission statement. This doesn’t have to be a complex thing, but it will help you clearly focus and define your priorities in one sentence. Some great examples are here and here.

2) Evaluate Your Current Commitments – Write out everything you do. Everything. Make a list. Look at it for awhile. Pray about it. Put it aside. Look at it again. Ask yourself some questions such as:

~ Do these activities clearly reflect my mission?
~ Do these reflect my priorities, or what I would like my priorities to be?
~ Is there simply too much on this list? Not enough margin for rest, play, or Sabbath time?
~ Is there enough time for investing in important relationships with others?
~ Is spiritual growth reflected as a vital priority based on how I have chosen to invest my time?

These are some questions just to get your mind rolling. I am sure you can think of many more!

3) Make Necessary Changes and Implement! – Make a decision to cut the fat. Be okay with saying “No,” to social events, service requests, or other activities if you know that saying “Yes” will keep you from what you consider a vital priority.

If you tend to procrastinate necessary duties such as meal planning, grocery shopping, lawn maintenance that end up stressing you out later, put it on your calendar such as “Every Saturday morning I will take 30 minutes to meal plan for the week,” or something similar.

Take charge of your life and sow in the field that God has appointed to you. As the Scripture says, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Galatians 6:4).



No Man Is An Island

Learning to Lean on Others


About two weeks ago, I had a baby. This being my fourth child, I know what to expect for the first several weeks – lack of sleep, fatigue, recovery, and often one day seeming to run into the next (My husband and I are constantly asking each other “What day is it again?”)

Having three vibrant, energetic girls already who wake up between 6:30-7am ready to attack the day with exuberance is a beautiful challenge in this short but intense season of our lives with a newborn. I have learned from previous births how much I need to lean on others to support me in this time.

I simply can’t do it on my own.

The last two weeks, I have been overwhelmed with the amount of help I have received from family, friends, and neighbors who have cared for the girls, brought us meals and groceries, stopped by to hold my baby for awhile while he is fussy, or just popped by our home to say hello because they know I’m in the house much of the day.

I can’t over-emphasize my need for these precious people or my appreciation for each one of them.

No Man is An Island


Poet John Donne wrote the famous words:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main…

Indeed, we are all in need of one another regardless of how independent we may pride ourselves in being. Often it can take illness, crisis, or a significant trial to reveal to us just how much we need those around us.

A significant part of the Christian life is acknowledging with humility, “I need community. I need the Body of Christ.”

There is no perfect church. There are no perfect people. And because all people are full of flaws and weaknesses, we are simply going to rub each other the wrong way at times. It’s part of life.

Regardless of whether you’ve been hurt by others in the past (who hasn’t?), Christ still said that we need each other, wounds and all. In fact, He prayed with passion that “All of them (meaning the Church) might be ONE, Father, just as you are in me..” (John 17:21).

If we say we love Christ, we need to love each other. And we can’t really love others if we don’t let them into our lives – perhaps even in our most vulnerable states.

Letting People In

As I sit on my couch I look at my front door, which remains open most of the time these days. Sometimes people come in when I’m unprepared. Sometimes, I’m not in the best mood to greet them. But I have found that my life is richer and fuller for letting people serve me in my times of need and from those times that others have allowed me to serve them as well.

No man is an island – have you made yourself one, though? Who has been there for you in your times of need? Have you told them how much you do need them?

If you’ve camped out on an island for awhile, thinking, “I can do this on my own,” take some time to re-evaluate. When you isolate yourself, no one benefits.

Whatever you are going through right now, you don’t have to go through it alone. Make a choice to get in a boat and cross on over to the main land. You’ll be glad that you did.

How to Make Time for Exercise

Even When Life Gets Crazy


Let me start this post by painting a clear picture to you of my current reality: I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom to three girls six and under. My husband has a demanding job, I broke my big toe three weeks ago (which gets stepped on numerous times a day by my two year old), and I’m in my ninth month of pregnancy with my fourth child in mid-July.

These are all excuses (very, very good excuses, mind you!) of why I “just can’t make time to exercise.” I have chosen to deny them all, get creative, and keep moving my body in spite of it all.

Why, you may ask? We all know that regular physical exercise is good for your body, mind, and soul, but maybe you need a little “jump start” reminder as to specifically what you get when you prioritize regular exercise.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s article “7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity,” regular exercise helps control weight, combats serious illness and disease, improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, improves your sex life, and can be just plain fun when you do something you really enjoy!

Prioritizing Your Personal Health


My father-in-law has a plaque hanging above one of the doors leaving his home that says “A man who is too busy to pray is too busy.” Prioritizing exercise works the same way as prioritizing our prayer lives, time with family, or anything else important to us.

My husband has found it difficult to find time to exercise since we have had kids, seeing that he works at least 8 hours a day and wants to spend time with the kids when he gets home. But he has realized that he wants to prioritize his health so he is able to be the best husband and father he can be – and live long!

He’s found that working out at a gym after the kids are in bed a few days a week, riding his bike to work, or playing volleyball with the men at our neighborhood pool are ways that he can get regular physical exercise without compromising his other main priorities.

I’ve personally found that the best time to exercise for me is early in the morning. If I’m up by around 6:30am, I can get in a 30 minute jog or (right now) 30 minutes of lap swimming before anyone in my family really needs me.

Letting Go of Excuses

One of my neighbors asked one morning how (and I think, why) I keep up my exercise routine during pregnancy. I responded, half joking and half not, that I exercise so that I don’t yell at my children during the day. She laughed and understood completely.

When I exercise, I find I am more calm, patient, relaxed, and just happier overall. And this impacts everyone around me, especially my family. I sleep better at night. I make better eating choices. I think more clearly.

Yes, I am a morning person, but I have to tell myself to get in bed every night by around 10pm if possible so that I get enough sleep and am able to wake up early enough to exercise.

Do you prioritize regular physical exercise? What is your favorite way to move your body and de-stress with physical activity?

Have you put off prioritizing exercise, saying “one day when I am not so busy, I’ll take the time to do that”?

Make a choice today to prioritize your personal health. Take a good look at your schedule, chat with your spouse if needed, and find a way to include some regular exercise into your weekly schedule.

Your body and your soul with thank you for it!

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