“We live in a culture that says you can do anything and everything you want to do, and it provides you with choices and possibilities that are endless. That creates a lot of anxiety for a lot of people. But as we embrace our possibilities we must also live within limits to what we can do and achieve, regardless of our ambition or drive. Many see this as a hindrance to our lives, but living within limits creates freedom for us. Living within these limits can help people reimagine their anxiety in healthy ways, channeling it as a source of growth, rather than a debilitating feeling.” (The Anxious Christian, pp. 141).
A few weeks ago I spoke to college students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I love speaking to and working with college students. It’s such an amazing time of life…so many opportunities and roads to journey down, but also lots of fear and anxiety over which possibility to choose and which road to journey on. It’s a perfect collision of feeling excited and scared at the same time. I think that’s why I loved being the college pastor for seven years at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. It was an amazing experience to work with students at UCLA, USC, LMU and a number of other schools…as well as the large number of college-aged people in the entertainment industry.
But as I write in the quote at the beginning of the post, knowing our limits and living within them is so crucial. It is an issue in many cases of boundaries.
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.
So to begin to see and use anxiety as an opportunity for growth, often requires us to know and then live within our limits. In essence, it requires us to establish healthy boundaries.
Too many people are running around with very little boundaries in their lives, exhausting themselves and others in the process. Don’t be one of those people.
Start with asking yourself a few questions.
- If anxiety can often point to an area of one’s life where there is the need for a boundary, what boundary needs to be established in your life?
- What is one thing you can do today to create more margin in your life?
- What keeps you from practicing the Sabbath?
- What are some limits that have been placed in your life that you may be ignoring and that may be resulting in more anxiety?
This post is the eighth in a continuing series on the book The Anxious Christian and the topic of transforming your anxiety.