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Welcome to a new year! Allow me to suggest that we start this year by setting boundaries, which I believe is key to success year-round. No one can be successful unless they have limits. For example, when you buy a house, you need clearly marked boundary lines to let you know what’s yours and what’s not. Good boundaries make good neighbors.

When you set your boundaries, be careful with your words. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions… Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”

However, without saying a word, your attitude may seem to say, “Keep out, trespassers will be prosecuted.” Why do we create such boundaries? The answer might be fear. We fear being known, controlled, hurt, or feeling inadequate and inferior.

Our unwillingness to be vulnerable or to compromise leaves us defensive, isolated and lonely. Closeness and togetherness are things we long for yet fear and avoid. We think that if we can keep someone at a safe distance, they can’t hurt us. But it doesn’t work.

God designed us to share life’s victories and defeats, not to live in isolation. We are to have equal concern for one another. If one person suffers, every person suffers with it. If one person is honored, every person rejoices with it.

Rigid boundaries rob you of life-enriching relationships. You might ask then what is the answer. The answer is in reaching out. You were created to give to others, and to receive what they have to give back to you. In giving you are fulfilled, and in receiving you are made complete. Anything less than that means you are just existing in this life unfulfilled.

So, in this new year do not fear setting boundaries in your life. But when you do set them, don’t be so ridged that you miss out on things that God has in store for you. Author Henry Cloud said, “Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not in me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to win and take responsibility for gives me freedom.” And Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten