From One Extreme to Another

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Real life is lived within extremes. It's not just the idea of balance so much as boundaries. Balance can mean finding a happy medium, which too often can drift into tedium or monotony.

Boundaries bring definition and clarity. Not just drawing arbitrary lines, but establishing wise limits. The extremes? They happen, both good and bad, but we can't stay there day in, day out.

Scripture

My son, if you guarantee a loan for your neighbor or pledge yourself for a stranger with a handshake, you are trapped by the words of your own mouth, caught by your own promise. [vss 1-2]

Do the following things, my son, so that you may free yourself, because you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Humble yourself, and pester your neighbor. Don’t let your eyes rest or your eyelids close. Free yourself like a gazelle from the hand of a hunter and like a bird from the hand of a hunter. [vss 3-5]

Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise. Although it has no overseer, officer, or ruler, in summertime it stores its food supply. At harvest time it gathers its food. [vss 6-8]

How long will you lie there, you lazy bum? When will you get up from your sleep? “Just a little sleep, just a little slumber, just a little nap.” Then your poverty will come [to you] like a drifter, and your need will come[to you] like a bandit. [vss 9-11]

(Proverbs 6:1-11 GW) [Context– Proverbs Chap 6:1-19]

Key phrase

...free yourself... humble yourself...consider...and become wise

Digging Deeper...

  1. What does this tell us a person is trapped by? What is the effect of overcommitment to another person?
  2. What advice is given to the person who has promised too much? What actions are they urged to take?
  3. What's the first advice given to a lazy person? What example is given? How would this be motivation for someone?
  4. What seem to be the cause or characteristic of laziness? What's the consequence of laziness, and when is it likely to come?

Make it personal...

Are there promises you make that are unwise? Do you tend to over-commit yourself to others or in some other way?

When you help people, are you enabling them or is it true help? How do you know either way?

Do you tend to under-commit yourself, or not commit yourself to anything or anyone? If so, why? What are you afraid of?

Have you lost motivation? Are you adrift in life? Are you willing to seek out people who are encouraging and trustworthy?

Reflection...

Most all of us, if not all, struggle with over commitment or a lack of commitment.

Being driven is not always a good thing. It can damage important relationships, or even keep you from having healthy relationships altogether. But lack of commitment to anything or anyone just sets us up for greater problems. If it's a fear of failure, or a lack of confidence, the consequence of doing nothing will close around you like a man-eating vine.

We need motivation, and we need wise boundaries. Choose wisely. Choose well.