Winning – Boundary Line

Life is full of stressful situations. Some of them are manageable and can be handled quite easily, others are a bit more serious.


God designed our bodies to help us deal with stress. One of the protections God built in is in the production of hormones such as adrenalin. Whenever your body encounters a perceived threat – say a large dog barks at you round a dark corner – your brain sets off an alarm system that triggers the production of adrenalin – increasing your heart rate, dilating your blood vessels, increasing glucose in your bloodstream, and instantly boosting your energy. The alarm system prepares your body for fight or flight. Pumped with adrenalin, you can do things you shouldn’t normally be able to do!

Now this is meant to be a short-term response – once the threat passes, the hormones return to normal. But the problem is that adrenalin can be addictive! Say for example, you have a paper or presentation to complete, and you’ve left it to the last minute. You’re stressed because you’ll lose you’re job if it’s not done! As you begin working on it, adrenalin kicks in, you experience a certain bust of energy, which pushes you to stay up the whole night. You complete it just in time, leaving you with an incredible high.

Some of us have such a packed calendar of events, always rushing from one crisis to the next. Guess what? It’s the adrenaline rush that’s helping you to cope and to survive and in the process, it’s giving you a high! Soon enough, just like every drug, we become addicted to it, adrenalin junkies. This is why some of us enjoy doing things last minute!

Many people are living their lives in such a constant state of stress, that the body’s alarm system is always on. The problem is that overexposure to hormones like adrenalin is dangerous, and can have harmful effects. In the long run, after prolonged periods of stress, we end up in a phase called adrenal fatigue. Our adrenal glands, not designed to be in a constant state of high alert, get fatigued from pumping the hormone, and can no longer meet the demand.

It’s possible that’s exactly where many of us are. Let’s do a little quiz with 9 questions… how many of these are true for you?

1.     I find myself experiencing tiredness and fatigue for no reason

2.     I find myself struggling with sleep – either unable to fall asleep easily, maybe fall asleep but wake up prematurely, or I wake up exhausted?

3.     I’m dependent on coffee, sodas and other stimulants to give me the energy I need?

4.     I’m always feeling run down and stressed?

5.     I find myself unable to slow down and enjoy times of extended rest?

6.     I regularly crave salty snacks and sweets

7.     Nowadays, I’m unable to bounce back quickly from stress or illness

8.     I’m struggling with persistent symptoms that my doctor can’t readily explain

9.     For those who are married, I’m experiencing decreased sex drive

All these are the signs that you may be headed towards adrenal fatigue! Life is sending you messages to slow down, because in the long run, you are headed for serious health problems. You see, adrenalin increases your heart rate – overexposure leads to heart problems. It dilates your blood vessels – eventually leading to high blood pressure, and it increases your glucose levels, leading to type 2 diabetes.

Now the reality is that life cannot be totally stress-free. For many of us our jobs are fast-paced and loaded with deadlines. Many of us are balancing the needs of education, family and work, and trying thrive financially. Throw in the unpredictability of life, with illnesses and accidents and we are bound to contend with some level of stress. Does the bible talk about this at all? How do we manage the stress that life in Nairobi today brings so that it does not overwhelm us and flood every area of our lives?

Jeremiah 5:20-22

In this passage God is speaking to the nation of Judah, and He is saying to them, ‘see who I am, and understand how I work’. He says, even for the seas, as great and might as they are, I have placed a boundary line for them that they cannot cross.

Think of the Indian Ocean, where many of you have gone for a holiday. With an average depth of 12,000 ft, this Ocean can generate ridiculously high waves. If you’ve ever been on a boat in the high seas, you’d be amazed how huge those waves are. But regardless of how big the waves are, by the time they get to the shore, their force has been been broken by the coral reef and they do not go in and destroy the land. Because of the natural God-created boundaries, the water must humbly roll back into the sea.

Last week we learnt the Genesis principle. Today’s principle is called the Boundary Principle, and it states that if you want to contain the stress in your life so it does not destroy you, you need to put boundaries in place to protect the important areas of your life.

To protect ourselves from the problems of stress, we must know where our boundary line is. In this context, drawing the line is really about defining what is important to you, and what is not. It is about saying ‘because this is important to me, I will not allow anything to cross over into it and mess it up’. Do you know what is important to you? Have you drawn your boundary lines?

For instance, how important is your health to you? If you have not determined the answer to that, then life is going to take advantage of your ignorance and push you to the point where you are breaking down and headed for ruin. Your job, even if you are self-employed, will slowly begin to creep into every area of your life, and demand so much out of you, even to the point of physical and mental fatigue. Yet if you have determined that your health is important, you will say to yourself, “Listen, I don’t want to work so hard to make money only to end up using it all for hospital bills”. You’ll carve out time to eat healthily and to jog or go to the gym.  Ask your neighbor, have you drawn your boundary lines?

 Or let’s talk about family – how important family is to you? You may have heard the illustration of the tennis ball and the egg – where the tennis ball represents your work, and the egg your family. If you drop your job, it can bounce back again. You can lose your job, be demoted, find another, change jobs, change careers, be promoted. Through all that, work has a way of bouncing back. But if you drop the egg, that represents your family, what then? It’s a lot harder for it to bounce back up again! Draw a line with your family, and don’t let life draw its line for you. Have you drawn your boundary lines?

 This also applies to work. Now I realize there are many here who are not in control of their work hours as they would like to be. Were supposed to work 40 hours a week, but your employer is happy when you give them 60 hours a week and even happier if you can give then 80 hours a week! In fact for some of you, your employers expect it of you! The problem is we don’t often stop to ask ourselves, ‘what cost will I pay for living like this?’ Many feel they have no choice. And yet many more have believed the myth, ‘I’m still young, let me work like a dog now so that I’ll relax, play golf and have time for my family later’. The problem is that adrenalin addiction means that even when you’re promoted, you’ll still continue with the same lifestyle! Look at the people above you in your company or industry who were once like you. Are their relationships intact? Are their marriages and families strong? Is their health holding up? You need to determine how many hours you can afford to give to your office. Then for those hours, be fully present and effective at work. Don’t spend the time on Facebook or chatting with colleagues but give your all. You see, it’s not about how long you work but how effectively you work!

 One other area for boundaries is our energy. If we want to win over stress, we must ensure that the demands of life do not exceed our energy levels. How do you manage your energy? One of the most effective ways is when you plan your week, to always start by scheduling things that recharge you. The trap we fall into is we prioritize the things that rob us of energy, and we end up tired and overwhelmed. What creative energizes you? Is it sport, playing music, reading a book, cooking, hanging out with friends? [Don’t say TV because too much TV actually doesn’t recharge you!] If you are to meet your demands, don’t offer these activities your scraps – work them in early. Make time for things that ignite your spirit. For example, exercise relieves stress, clears your mind and ultimately leaves you with more energy. So don’t say I’m too busy to exercise. Have you drawn your boundary lines?

 A long time ago in my twenties, I prayed about and decided to live for 5 big rocks…

1.  That I loved God & lived fully for Him spent my life in radical obedience

2.  That I loved my wife & children & had great relationships with them – teamwork…friendship that lasts… investing not just quality but quantity time

3.  That I was generous to the poor and to God’s work – true religion

4.  That I developed many leaders for the Kingdom– pouring my life into others (mentoring+ time w key leaders). Lasting fruit

5.  That I changed the church of Africa in my generation

Here’s a truth I have learned – the line will be drawn in your life, with or without your consent. You might as well be the one who determines where the boundary lines are! Have you drawn your boundary lines?

Back to our passage: We said that regardless of how big the ocean’s waves are, when they get to the seashore, they find a boundary they cannot cross, and they humbly roll back into the ocean. But this is not always the case. There are situations where there are fault-lines beneath the seas, fault-lines that cause the water to behave abnormally. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is an example. In such cases, the waves do not respect the boundary lines, breaching them with ease, causing untold damage, destruction and suffering, both to people and property.

I suspect there are many amongst us who are living with quiet fault lines in their lives. We may even look like we are winning in life, but because of the lifestyles we’ve chosen, a tsunami is inevitably headed our way. For some of us, it’s already evident because our families are paying the price for it. For others, our health will break down as a result. The careers we are chasing after will end with us hospitalized.

Our lives are similar to the way someone once interpreted Psalm 23

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest

It makes me lie down only when exhausted.

It leads me into deep depression. It hounds my soul.

It leads me in circles of frenzy, for activities sake.

Even though I run frantically from task to task, I will never get it all done, for my ideal is with me.

Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.

They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.

They anoint my head with migraines,

My in-basket overflows.

Surely fatigue and time pressures shall follow me

All the days of my life. And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration. Forever

I pray that this Psalm would not be the reality of anyone at Mavuno. In fact if anything I pray that the Lord will be your shepherd, and that He will guide your life and career and bless the work of your hands making you successful beyond your wildest dreams, and as a result you will lack no good thing.

Mavuno I pray that the Lord will lead you, and even amidst the challenges of life, He will refresh your soul. I pray that even as you walk through the most difficult, demanding and stressful challenges of life, you will fear no evil, because God’s counsel and wisdom are with you, and comfort you.

I pray that the Lord will prepare a feast for you, in the middle of the stressed lives of the people around you, that you, your children, will enjoy, and that your cup will run over with blessings.

And I pray that surely, God’s goodness and love will follow you all the days of your long long life, and that You will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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7 Responses to “Winning – Boundary Line”

  1. Reblogged this on Leo Kinuthia Blog.


  2. Nyar Kisumo Says:

    Wow spot on.


  3. Michelle Says:

    I wish I heard this sermon 2 years ago since I am already a victim, nursing HBP at the moment. How can i be helped now?


    • Hi. I was diagnosed with the same in 2012 at 28, it was crazy. It normally recurs. One thing I’m learning, apart from boundaries, is surrender everything to God, not only on sunday but everyday of your life.

      Admit you do not have answers to all life questions. Share life with others i.e LG. Let your faith be in God. Above all, keep hope alive. Baraka tele

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin Mumina Says:

    That’s what most of us need ….. good information that makes us fearless influencers of not only the society but….. our own life’s. Pastor M another book you have to write!


  5. Thanks Pastor. #Godspeakingtome


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