The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out. ~Proverbs 20:5
but a man of understanding will draw it out. ~Proverbs 20:5
Examples of Boundaries- (continued)
*Truth- God is the founder of boundaries. All we have to do is look back to the garden of Eden for an example of God's boundaries. God told Adam and Eve they could eat of any of the trees in the garden, except one. God was not trying to be mean or controlling by enforcing this boundary. He was showing His love for them by trying to protect them from harm. Our enemy, Satan, is called the Father of Lies because he distorts reality and truth. Satan tempted Eve by causing doubt in her mind, which made her question God's boundaries and His truth. We know that the consequences of her disregard for God's boundaries were not only disastorious, but life-changing for all of mankind from that point forward. There is safety in the truth, whether it's in knowing God's truth or in knowing the truth about ourselves. When we know the truth about God and all that is His, it puts limits on us, as well as shows us His boundaries. Once we realize the truth that He is unchanging, this helps us define ourselves in relation to Him. When we live in accordance to God's truth and boundaries it makes for a better life for us. When we don't accept or express the truth of who we are and our boundaries, our lives can feel stressful, scattered, and disorderly because we are living outside our own boundaries.
*Geographical Distance- Sometimes we have to physically remove ourselves from a situation to help enforce and maintain boundaries. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered." There are times when we have to take time to replenish ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually after we have given to our limit. Jesus did this often. He would go off, by Himself, to spend time in prayer and in fellowship with His Father, so that He could be restored and renewed. We may also have to remove ourselves from dangerous situations and put limits on evil. We may have to seperate ourselves from those who continue to hurt us, so that we can create a safe place for ourselves. When we remove ourselves from a situation like this, it will cause the one who is left behind to experience loss of fellowship, which may lead to a change in behavior on their part. Many times in abusive relationships the only way to finally show the other person that you are serious and your boundaries are real is to leave the situation until they are ready to face up to their problems and deal with them.
Common Boundary Myths- One of the definitions of a myth is a fiction that looks like a truth. If it sounds true, we sometimes believe it automatically. These myths can come from our family backgrounds, our church or theological foundations, and some can come from our own misunderstandings.
*Myth #1- "If I Set Boundaries, I'm Being Selfish"- One of the main problems to setting boundaries, especially for Christians, is a deep fear that we are being selfish or mean when we say no to people. While it's true that we are to be a loving people and be concerned for others, we must also understand that we are responsible for our own lives and how we manage them. Our lives are a gift from God. We are responsible for our time, energy, money, and feelings. There must be balance and boundaries to have a peaceful life and to walk in freedom. It is not selfish to say no to people and things that are sucking the life out of you. It is not selfish to say no to those people who are taking advantage of your kindness. It is not selfish to say no when you can't fit one more thing into your schedule, or when you feel like you're going to scream because you have reached your limit. It may appear that you're being selfish to the person who wants to continue to stomp on your boundaries while demanding more than you're willing or able to give. Stop believing the lie! It is not selfish to have boundaries. In fact, the opposite is true, when we have healthy boundaries we are better able to give out of a sincere desire to help others, instead of feeling obligated or fearing that others will think badly of us for saying no. "Stress is what happens when your insides are saying, "I can't do this" and your mouth is saying, "of course I would be happy to." Are we being wise stewards of what God has given us?
This is where I will close for today my friends. I hope what I've shared will get you to thinking about how important it is to have healthy boundaries. I will continue on Friday with more examples of boundaries and more boundary myths. Here's something for you to think about: The more you allow fear to control your actions and who you are, the more you will lose yourself. When you give of yourself, in whatever way that is, it is always best to do so with a sincere heart, not out of fear. This will only cause you to feel overwhelmed, resentful, angry, stressed out, and discouraged. Just as we are responsible for our own lives and our own feelings, so others are responsible for their own lives and feelings. Just as we expect others to respect our boundaries, we also must respect other people's boundaries. Healthy boundaries do not hurt, attack, or control others. What they do is keep your treasures from being taken at the wrong time. Until next time my friends, be blessed!
*Scripture Verses to Encourage You:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~Psalm 139:23-24
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. ~Psalm 51:6
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. ~Psalm 25:4-5
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid....for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6