Your Eight Feet of the Pool

Your Eight Feet of the Pool

by Cathee Poulsen

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:6

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a time with setting boundaries. On one hand, I’m curious and interested in so many things that I want to do it all, see it all. On the other, I often get myself in situations where I’ve taken on more than I can handle.

Setting boundaries is mandatory for me to live a peaceful life!

I recently heard a helpful podcast by Emily Freeman titled Embrace Your Limits, which triggered these thoughts I’m sharing today. Emily shared about taking her kids to the water park and watching the lifeguards monitor their specific eight foot assignment at the pool. They walked back and forth over that particular stretch. They didn’t try to keep their eye on anything but those eight feet.

As I listened, I realized how often I try to do it all and then feel I’ve failed if I can’t keep up. It’s a perfect recipe for discouragement and self-criticism. Not to mention that, in short order, peace flies right out the window.

You and me? Our job is not to take care of the whole pool. We need others around us to do their job as we each are called to different aspects of the work.

“If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us.” 

~Parker Palmer

What is Your Eight Foot Assignment?

There are many scriptures where God reinforces this idea for us.

  • We’re each give a specific measure of faith ()
  • God calls us to live within certain physical boundaries (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26)
  • He gives us each just the right amount of grace to do what He asks of us ()

When we are able to view God’s boundaries as pleasant places, and choose to live within them, it brings great peace to us. While God is the author of limitless potential, we are wise to learn our limitations.

You have faith and grace to do all that He calls you to this day. That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it? He has chosen to be our Life, to supply every need, to be continually present in our everyday walk. Boundaries — whether in relationships, work, or personal life — are there because of Jesus’ love for us.

Just focus on your eight feet of the pool and leave all the rest to Him.



  1. Such a great thing when we finally realize how little we’re actually responsible for.
    Good writing Cat.

  2. Oh Cat, I really needed this today. Someone recently asked me to take on a new volunteer position. Nice offer. Sounded good in many ways. I’ve lived my adult life doing mostly volunteer work and it’s a great feeling. But I asked the Lord and he immediately said “no.” I have felt guilty about it, but I obeyed and said no. It could have opened doors for me. The key in this is trusting that God has already prepared to open different doors. The right doors for His plan. It’s good to be reminded there are so many good reasons to say no sometimes. Stay focused. Hold on to peace. Find contentment within the boundaries.

  3. Accepting my boundaries and staying within them gives me peace and joy in my life. At my job it’s called “staying in your own lane”. When I don’t try to run the world I have far less stress and more freedom. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. This story reminds me of Jethros advice to Moses on delegating responsibilities and leadership. Your story is a great word picture. Thank you Cathee!

  5. Stacey Marchione

    Perfect Timing for me on this subject. I have been feeling lately like the Lord wanted to make a video confronting sexual immorality among Christians. As I attempted this project, I realized I have zero video making experience and kept deleting each one I made. A dear and mature friend gently reminded me that running a company, taking care of 2 kids and a husband might be enough for me right now. Like you Cathee, I want to do it all. I feel much better in my own 8 feet and if a volunteer video professional shows up at my door, I’ll know what it’s for!

    • Oh Stacey – I love this! What grace to have a friend who will speak truth and help you navigate the deep waters. The day will come when you get to do other things, but for now, she was right about your eight feet. Thanks for posting!

  6. Great blog CatWoman. It took me many years to find the truth you speak. Thank you!

  7. Great blog Tif boundaries are key to our lives. I struggle with it so much trying to balance everything. Then God brings an interruption of a health crisis and we just let go and give him everything. What a comfort. Love you

  8. Very timely for me. I often take on way more than I can chew. Thanks for the scriptures too. Great article. Thank you

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