Self-Control: Defining Boundaries

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “Define.”  I chose to combine it with my focus on the fruit of self-control.


Once I heard:  Good fences make good neighbors.

Today I am setting stone walls

of self-control, walls to contain

my sprawling city, so prone

toward selfishness.

On the north side I set stones

to define boundaries

around self-pity.

On the east side I set stones

to define boundaries

around criticism.

On the south side I set stones

to define boundaries

around indulgence.

On the west side I set stones

to define boundaries

around sloth.

My four weaknesses

clearly defined, no longer

seeping out like sludge

into green pastures.

This bustling city in my heart

is now restored

to peace.


Want to learn more about my pursuit of self-control? Watch this video!


Questions for reflection:

Which of your weaknesses needs the walls of self-control?

How can practicing self-control grant you greater peace?


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  • What a powerful poem, Sarah! Wow! Thank you so much. I need these boundaries too! Blessings to you!

    • Sarah

      Thank you friend! I just added a video to my post…I’d love your feedback on it!

    • Sarah

      Thanks so much!

  • I appreciate this connection between self-control and boundaries. So important!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Michele!

  • So many good things about this Sarah. I really like your take on the prompt and your openness and beauty in your words.

    • Sarah

      Thank you Debby! Glad to know you through blogging, and I’ll head over to your blog too!

  • Naomi Fata

    Especially with my children I find that my words come out not quite as gentle as I would like. I Thessalonians 5:11 is a verse that I reflect on for that about encouraging one another – love what you said about words of praise- I find that with myself as I speak that is something I’m asking God to cultivate in me.

    • Sarah

      Great verse, Naomi! Thanks for sharing!

  • Girl, you have this way of building truth out of such great visuals contained in your words… I’m always blessed when I visit. Always. Thankful for you, today, friend! Visiting from #46 in the #fmf linkup…

    • Sarah

      Thank you! I’ll check yours out too, Christine!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Love this poem, Sarah. It reminds me of one of my favourite aphorisms – discipline is the price you pay for freedom.

    And, perhaps, peace.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    • Sarah

      Thank you Andrew! I’ll check yours out, too!

  • This is beautiful, Sarah! I love the way you have linked boundaries to self-control. Thanks for the new perspective!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Charlie!

  • Such a creative way to approach “define.” The image of a sprawling city needing sound walls is really good: and of course, recognizing our areas of weakness and letting the Spirit work in these areas to grow fruit. Thanks for sharing.

    Jeannie (#30 in this week’s linkup)

    • Sarah

      Hi Jeannie! I’m glad you liked it, and I’ll check yours out too!

  • Sarah, I appreciate your openness in the video. And I loved the way you wrote about define. This is such a great word picture of the stones that set boundaries in all four directions against the issues you struggle with. I’m going to think on this one for my own life and define my own four corners. Thank you so much for this!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Leslie! I’d love to hear what yours are too, when you have time to explore those problems, and what kind of boundaries you’ll set. Blessings to you!

  • bluecottonmemory

    Beautiful poem boundaries. Right now, I’m building boundaries around food – and reigning into boundaries procrastination! Your 5 minutes was well spent!

    • Sarah

      Thank you so much, I appreciate it!

  • Stephanie Thompson

    My mind visually walked in all four directions with you. I pictured these boundaries of protection. You have challenged me to follow suit. My verse is 2 Corinthians 10:5: take every thought captive. I try to be quite affirming to others and my kids but I realized my tone with my husband and my kids at times does not reflect the love I have for them. It is easy to become complacent and not be intentional in how we speak. This topic has recently surfaced in conversation in our family so your post is particularly relevant.

    • Sarah

      Hi Stephanie, thank you for your thoughtful comment! It’s always a blessing to learn how God uses my writing to inspire others. Praying blessings on you today!