Recently, someone asked on the Thin Within forums about how to know when to stop eating and how to stop when you know you should. These are some thoughts about that:

For me, considering the boundaries that are a part of my life helps me.

1.) Dog has a fence. Keeps her safe from deer hooves which flail when a deer is attacked. Seriously. And the cougar that was prowling the neighborhood. One view of the “kitty” apart from the fence, Daisy (my golden retriever) would be off like a shot to play with the “kitty.” The boundary keeps her safe.

2.) The yellow line down the middle of the road is a boundary. Oncoming traffic has to stay on one side of the yellow line and I have to stay on mine. I am thankful for that boundary, keeping us all safe.

3.) I have taught my kids that they can’t help themselves to whatever they see that they want at the mall. If they want something, boundary number one is easy enough–“Do you have the money for it?” They *can’t* take something they can’t pay for. It is a boundary.

4.) I need only so much food to sustain my energy and bodily functions. Eating according to this boundary keeps me healthy and safe.

When I think of stopping my eating at “satisfied” as a boundary that is like other boundaries in my life, it doesn’t seem so negotiable or offensive. It really is helpful, loving, and respectful.

If I want to drive on the other side of the road, that is not only disrespectful to other drivers, but it is also “disrespectful” to me…not to mention stupid. The same is true of eating. I know the risks involved with overeating. The physical ones are bad enough.

But for me, even *more* devastating is the attitude “just one more bite won’t hurt.” I play the guitar. When I have gone a few weeks without playing for some reason, I have no calluses left on my fingers. Playing HURTS until I get the calluses again. When I think about my attitude of “just one more bite won’t hurt” when the sweet voice of the Spirit has whispered, “Enough, child…” and I blow through it…when I think about what that does to my heart, in effect making it calloused so I don’t feel the pain of sin quite so readily (just like my calloused fingers keep me from feeling the guitar strings and the pain they cause to my non-calloused fingers), it isn’t worth it. It is like throwing open the gate when I see Daisy wants to chase the deer or cougar and letting whatever happens happen, acting like it doesn’t matter. It *does* matter.

We focus so much on our physical weight. Ignoring the voice of the Spirit may not cause me to gain a ton of weight physically, but the “weight” of the callouses that grow on my heart is too high a price to pay. (Boy, am I mixing my metaphors or what?).

None of this is meant in a condemning way. If it comes across that way, please reject that. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those of us in Christ. I find freedom in admitting what is going on in my life…the lack of boundaries and the need to adhere to them. His forgiveness is amazing.

How about for you? What is a boundary that you have established for yourself? What are ways you can support yourself and show respect for yourself relative to this boundary?