So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise.
- Ephesians 5:15, NLT
Nobody plans to wreck their life any more than they plan to wreck their car. On the road, we have guardrails in place to keep us from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas. What if we had guardrails that could do the same thing in our lives?
Some of our biggest regrets could have been avoided or at least minimized if we had
personal guardrails for our money, relationships, morality, and emotions.
Personal guardrails are standards of behavior that become matters of conscience. They’re rules you set for yourself that light up your conscience when you bump into them. And just like highway guardrails, they’re placed where it’s still safe. Long before you blow up your career, a personal guardrail should tell you that you’re heading for trouble. Way before you say words you can’t take back, a personal guardrail should caution you to consider your words carefully.
The apostle Paul gives us useful advice as we start setting our own guardrails:
"Be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise."
The apostle Paul knew (and maybe you’ve experienced) that you can end up in a mess without breaking any laws. You can wreck your finances without spending unethically. You can ruin a relationship without doing anything sinful.
Guardrails aren’t just meant to keep you on the safe side of right vs. wrong. They’re meant to keep you on the side of wisdom.
So, here’s a question to apply to our money, relationships, morality, and emotions:
In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?
In your marriage . . . in your career . . . when it comes to where you should live or how you should spend your time . . . what’s the wise thing to do?
How would that question have changed the choice or situation you regret most in your past? Where could it help you today? If you’re living too close to the edge, it may be time to set a guardrail.