“Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor's house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” (Proverbs 25: 17)
Today I came across this ancient wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, which reminded me, simply, that I need to set and maintain boundaries with other people. On the one hand, I am certainly called to be a social being and need not self-isolate. But I also need to be careful and not overdo it with the socializing and communicating. In the context of today’s world this also means abstaining from forwarding unnecessary emails or texting unnecessary pictures to my neighbor, “lest he have his fill” of me, as the scriptural warning says above, and even begin to “hate” me! Today, I think, it is much harder to set and maintain boundaries, when we are all accessible to one another online, at practically any time and any place.
So let me stop myself today, if I am tempted to overextend myself, or allow others to overextend themselves, by over-communicating, be it online, on the phone, or in person. While I need not self-isolate, finding the right time and place to ask for help, or to be of service to others, I also need some alone-time with God, as do others. Although I know this is easier said than done in today’s world, I also know that God’s grace helps and guides me in this respect, when I ask: “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps 140/141: 3)