According to author Arianna Huffington “one American falls asleep at the wheel every second” (The Sleep Revolution, 112).  This leads to about 6,400 deaths a year killed by drowsy drivers (The Sleep Revolution, 32).  This is just one symptom of the frenzied, messy lives most of us struggle with.  Often this frantic pace is driven by people pleasing.  Our default is to say yes when we really should say no.  We need some thoughtful boundaries with life and our relationships in order to flourish.  “Boundaries are not a good idea, they are a God idea” (Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, Lysa Terkeurst, 7).  Let’s use the acrostic R.E.A.L. to think about boundaries that will make our lives better.  
     R. is for RHYTHM OF REST.  Are you getting adequate sleep?  Do you embrace the Biblical concept of Sabbath, one day a week for rest and worship?  Our cell phones quit working if we do not periodically stop and plug them in to recharge them.  People are the same.  Sociologist Christine Carter says “we don’t actually need more time, We need more stillness.” 
     E. is for EMBRACE YOUR SPECIFIC CALLING.  Each of us have a specific calling (Ephesians 2:10).  In order to live out your specific purpose you have to say no to many ways to spend your time and energy.  Focus is the best way to say yes to God’s call.  Say no to the good in order to say yes to the best.  Do what God called you to do, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
     A.  is for ACKNOWLEDGE LIMITS.  There is only so much time and effort that can be expended.  It might be surprising to some that God the Son had to walk this out.  The incarnation is the eternal Son taking on flesh and living life on our terms.  We see Jesus so tired that He is sleeping in a boat during a terrifying storm.  Much of my own maturing process is learning my limits.  I cannot be gone every evening with work and expect to have a close relationship with my wife and kids.   
     L. IS FOR LOVE INTELLIGENTLY.  Boundaries are the parameters in which love can grow.  King Solomon wrote “above all else guard your heart . . .” (Proverbs 4:23).  Maybe you have the gift of hospitality and love to open your home to people; you still do not post on Facebook where you hid the key to get in your house.  That would be foolish.  You should offer all people compassion but that does not mean that everyone gets equal access to your heart.  You can only let in those who are responsible.  The marriage relationship is the deepest and most vulnerable human connection; to give that level of access to someone who is not trustworthy does not work.  In addition, if your grown child has a drug addiction, you continue to love him but it would be foolish to let him live with you and have access to your credit cards and bank accounts. 
     Hit pause.  Look at your life, are you thriving?  It is time to get R.E.A.L. about the boundaries that will allow you to flourish.  No, is a beautiful and powerful word, let’s learn to use it.  
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church