The world is so broad, how do we set boundaries against massive force of possibilities? Establishing boundaries for your self is a great place to start. Once you have a reasonable understanding about your own identity, your interests, your beliefs and you’ve managed your time to protect these things, you’ll find that boundaries still need to be put up against the outside.
We live in a society that provides us with two ways to connect to the world. Physically and virtually. Many of us connect more in one world than we do the other. That will be important to consider as you read on.
Boundaries with the world are essential because knowing where you end and the rest of reality begins will help define your personality, your goals, and your trajectory. When you are confident about why you are separate from the world, then you will be able to get on mission. For believers, the truest thing that separates us from the world is being saved. But not only does God separate us by salvation, He gives us special gifts to carry out the mission.
These talents and qualities we have are meant to reach the world in a healthy way. That’s why establishing boundaries with the world matter.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
• Philosophies and thoughts
We’d be naive to assume that every single person was in full control of their thoughts and ideas. One of the ways the world can influence our position is through philosophies and ideas. What you believe becomes how you think and what you think is what you will become.
If you believe in the Bible then you have to stand for it even when the world challenges it and vilifies it. Some times people think that conforming to the status quo is aligning with the common good and that’s not true. You’re able to disagree with the world and still want the best for it, yes even politically. Conforming to God’s word is aligning with the common good–not only do we improve ourselves to match the image of Christ but we share it with others.
Does the world affect your belief system more than your belief system affects the world?
You should be measuring the amount of energy and time spent on developing your own version of the world versus accepting the story that is being told to you. To cultivate a strong sense of reality, you should limit time spent on social media or watching television. These platforms put your mind in a passive and receptive state, you are being fed a typically dishonest view of the world. Increase the amount of time you spend reading books, researching interesting topics, or attending galleries/museums. These activities allow you to see the world through other lenses but in a way that forces your mind into an active state where you have to create images or connections. With more and more practice, you will sharpen the good ideas and eliminate the bad ones.
Exercise your mind, know your beliefs and translate that into the world you interact with.
• Society and community
Knowing your social role is critical. Today, we live in a world bent on destroying social roles. That’s not a very good thing because without roles and boundaries, we have no purpose. If you don’t know what you’re built to do, then you won’t be able to get very far. Don’t be a cat who thinks it’s a bird, you may need to walk to travel your journey while another may need to fly.
The environments you live in can impact your path. We are mimetic creatures, so we will begin to desire the things that the people around us desire. If you spend a lot of time with somebody who wants to be a fashion designer, you’re going to become conscious about your style even if that’s something you were never interested in before. Now you’re spending money on new clothes instead of piano lessons!
This is not to say stop hanging out with the fashion designer or that your clothes are insignificant but to remind you to be in places where your pursuits are actually relevant. Find people and groups that share the same interests and fit them into your schedule. Choose to be in the small world that develops you for the big world. (totally preaching to myself)
Maybe you’re spending too much time in the world of social butterflies, productive jobs, or volunteering. Too much of you is going to the community. Nature dates are great ways to break from the hustle and bustle but still be outside of yourself. Spend half an hour staring at the ocean, watching birds in the trees, or walking a nature trail. Man, even five minutes in front of a retention pond can make your day.
• Admirations and Hopes
How could a small child want to be a doctor when they grow up if there weren’t doctors to look up to? One thing I’ve learned is that who you look up to matters. First of all, nothing and nobody should be exalted more than Christ.
But we’re human and we will naturally admire others. Along with admiration comes the desire to live a similar lifestyle, work a similar job, or own similar possessions as others.
What big names do you look up to? And why? Celebrities are cool (not really) and all of their luxury items are nice (ehh), but they aren’t yours. Idolizing somebody for their fame and wealth automatically lowers your position in this world. Be grateful for what you have including your gifts that make your life purposeful. You might come to find that the person down the street who tutors kids for free is a lot more admirable. And the peace they have in life is more valuable than a big chain and a sports car.
When you interact with the world, you’ve gotta turn your focus on what is good and pure and noble. Make your mind attracted to things that matter, not things that are just matter. Obviously the best role model is Jesus, He left the biggest impact on this world without anything luxurious. His character was all.
Are your hopes built on wealthy wishes or famous forces? Are you ignoring the good people in your life who’ve got a lot more to teach you about living well? Does your admiration stem from a position of lack or a place of abundance? Pursue a good life, follow good leaders.
Find the garden of your world. It starts with your thoughts, it follows with the environment and ends with the pursuits you chase.
The world will shape your image of desirable character. And your character will adhere to that image. You can let the world define you, even subconsciously, or you can choose to alter the world around you.