Having clear boundaries is so important for healthy, respectful relationships and a balanced life. Regardless of whether it’s having boundaries in our relationship with our partner, children, work colleagues, family, friends, neighbour’s or anyone we relate to.
A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. They define who we are and who we are not. What we value, find acceptable. A boundary is respectful of our personal needs, choices and their impact on the different areas of our lives.
Unfortunately we can become confused about boundaries and how to set these healthy ones. We struggle with questions and the fear of setting limits while still remaining open hearted and loving. Of struggling with guilt and wondering if our boundaries are selfish, and will be viewed as being inconsiderate to others.
Yet setting healthy boundaries is essential if we want to have flourishing close relationships. People are people and if we don’t have parameters around how we relate to others and vice versa our communication is affected, physical lines can be blurred, emotional and mental freedoms are hindered and we become unsure in our spiritual lives of how to be loving and kind, while not pushing ourselves to be and do things beyond our limits and wisdom.
I’ve discovered over the years as a wife, mum of six kids and a pastor that unless I put boundaries in place I am headed for trouble. God gives me strength to do all things but He also asks me to walk in wisdom. He wants me to live in peace, while leading a full productive life. A good way to know if a boundary is both healthy and loving is to examine the motive. Am I protecting myself or someone vulnerable from potential harm or just maintaing distance because I want to exclude or punish? Am I tired or fedup or just need to spend time in His presence to refresh and renew my purpose and vision?
If I push and strive all the time instead of learning to move in grace and rest then people and situations are soon going to overwhelm and damage my personal world, wheras choosing to set boundaries helps prevent damage, breakdowns in relationships and burnout.
We’ve got to know what we value, what season of life we are in, our purpose and what God actually desires for us in our everyday life. Without that understanding our boundary lines will always be blurred and able to be walked all over. The person who feels, thinks and probably is a ‘doormat’ in life perhaps doesn’t have personal boundaries in place. Situations, people, our unsurrendered desires and the devil will always try to push against our values, resolve and purpose, but when we have healthy boundaries we recognise what is happening far quicker and can push back, communicate and resolve the issue.
When we set boundaries and hold to them we can assess situations and relationships and whether they are a healthy space for us more easily and other people grow to respect our boundaries. They often feel safer and everyone is able to communicate and relate at a deeper level, plus the devil backs off hassling us so much in that area. The lines are drawn and its known to everyone, “don’t cross them.”
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you”
God wants us to live free and lightly. We all benefit from knowing when to say yes, and how and when to say no, so I encourage you today to consider what you value, what is okay with you and what makes you feel less than who God says you are. What pushes you to feel exhausted or beaten about? Consider what is safe, permissible, healthy and enables choice, freedom and connected, honest relationships? Then prayerfully put some boundaries in place and let people know them and if they’ve overstepped the line. Be aware the boundary is also there for you to acknowledge when you need to step back, how much to take on in your schedule and what is wisdom for this season of your life.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ( Philippians 4:8)
“He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat“. (Psalm 147:14)
Prayer. Lord please give me wisdom to who and what to say yes to and how to say no, both to myself, others and situations that may arise in my life. In Jesus name amen