I stayed at my daughter’s house with my granddaughter and their two dogs, a young Great Dane and a German Shepherd, who is only around four and still playful when he wants to be, yet he takes his role as the senior dog and protector seriously. Every morning, I let him into the yard, and I had to allow enough time for him to prowl the perimeter to make sure nothing had changed through the night. Each night, he needed as much, if not more, time to make sure everything was in place before he collapsed for the night. He can be a big goofball, but he takes protection seriously.
I wonder if we’re as intentional at patrolling our edges and protecting our territory. I don’t mean to suggest we draw a box around ourselves and declare no one invades our space. It’s not about keeping people out, but it certainly involves being aware of who and what we’re letting in. What influences us? What do we let slide into our lives and impact us in ways that are unhealthy? And how do we impact others’ lives who we invite inside the lines? Are we influencing them poorly, ignoring them, or mistreating them when they’re in our care? Are we dialoguing with respect, caring well, and forgiving offenses? Are we humble enough to process and honest enough to share and heal?
Some of the people in our space are residents or regular guests. Others have limited access. Everyone brings opportunities to connect and grow as well as challenges to do quite the opposite. We want to blame others at times, but perhaps we’re not patrolling the edges well. That involves more than a watch dog mentality, where we growl and defend before we assess and interact. It involves being authentic enough to know the boundaries that are important in the situation and relationship. Boundaries are occasionally brick walls, but most boundaries are more like a swinging screen door or a large window that can easily be opened or just as easily locked with darkening shades pulled.
Consider how well or how poorly you are patrolling the edges of your life—mind, heart, and soul—today.