I have friends from many different faiths. Some of my friends and even strangers have asked me how I can be in what they deem such a “rigid” faith. So many rules…so many restrictions. But I believe that rules bring freedom. Enter in: Bright Lines.
The proof is in the pudding…or jail. Yes, jail. Very simply put, there are rules set in place that if you break, you go to jail. In jail all of your freedoms are taken from you. Now, someone else is in charge of what used to be your decisions. They decide what you get to eat, to wear, and where you can and cannot go. You no longer have control over your life because you broke the rules.
Just recently I was introduced to the concept of Bright Lines. I looked it up on Google and here is what they had to say: “A bright-line rule is a clearly defined rule or standard, composed of objective factors, which leaves little or no room for varying interpretation. The purpose of a bright-line rule is to produce predictable and consistent results in its application.”
Let me give you a few examples of Bright Lines in my life so you can see that you have Bright Lines already established in your life as well. I have a Bright Line that I have drawn about never consuming alcohol or doing drugs. I will not eat any animal products or watch R-rated movies. I even have one for never driving over 37 mph in our neighborhood because the cops are always perched somewhere and I don’t want a ticket! These particular Bright Lines keep my body happy and cheerful physically, my brain happy and cheerful mentally, and my bank account happy and cheerful for not getting that speeding ticket!
There have been times in my life that even though those Bright Lines were established in what I thought to be in stone, I broke. I’m not talking about coming up and putting my toe right against the line. I’m talking about wiping the line away, jumping completely on the other side, feeling a moment of exhilaration for having broken the rules, and then eventually feeling guilt over my decision and the inevitable consequences.
You have every freedom in making your decisions, but you are not in charge of the consequences. Good or bad, you do not have control over the consequences of your decisions.
The reason I am introducing this Bright Line concept to you today is that no matter what your past has been and the rules that we have all broken, we can begin today to set up new Bright Lines for ourselves. Maybe it is something as simple as developing a habit to brush your teeth in the evening and not just in the morning. (My dad is a dentist and I’m still working on this one!) Maybe it is to not say something critical to anyone today, especially your loved ones. Maybe it is not to have critical thoughts towards yourself. Maybe it’s a bigger goal that you have in mind.
Whatever your goal is, draw a Bright Line and as my friend and mentor, Susan Pierce Thompson says, “Simply Resume”. Don’t beat yourself up over having crossed the line. Just draw another one and resume. I wish you good luck with your Bright Lines! Sending love to you wherever you are in your journey.