Boundaries indicate limits. They are the fence around you that keeps good things in and bad things out.
I have a chain link fence in my backyard. We paid good money to have it built because we had small kids who we wanted to keep safe. We also wanted to keep the neighbor’s large dogs from walking right up to our back door and trying to come inside our house.
Boundaries are not:
- An excuse to be selfish or rude.
- A way to turn you into me.
- A way to control other people.
Making demands is a form of control. You cannot demand of someone and show honor to them at the same time.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phil. 2:3-4)
Healthy boundaries are:
- A way to be healthy in order to love God and others well.
- A way to protect other people from you.
- A tool to give you power to control yourself.
You do not get to control other people. You are the only person you can control.
You are only responsible for the things in your own yard. The kinds of things that are in your yard are YOUR:
You are not responsible for these in other people. You only get to control YOU.
It is not your job to keep everyone around you happy. You cannot afford to work harder on other people’s lives than they are willing to.
Boundaries are all about self-control. They are about having a plan so that you can be who you need to be, to accomplish the call God has on your life.
An example of a good boundary with time is:
Don’t let other people push you to make a quick decision. Take the time you need to think things through. Tell the person you will get back to them, then be sure to show them honor by following through.
An example of a boundary with your words is:
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Phil 2:14-15)
You get to choose what comes out of your own mouth. You do not get to pick what other people say. Let your words create life.
An example of boundaries with your attitude is:
If you’re grumpy, send yourself to your room, go for a drive, or take a walk. You need to protect other people from you. This is a great way to preserve a peaceful atmosphere in your family. You can just tell your family that you need a time out.
Here is a clear boundary for your thought 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. (Phil 4:8)
What can you do when someone hurts you? Matthew 18 lays out the solution very clearly.
- If your brother sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
- But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
- If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
When you go to talk to the person who has offended you, your motive needs to be to restore unity, not to pick at the other person or try to make them be just like you.
Always assume the best about the other person. Say something like, “I am probably missing something, but I feel like (insert the feeling and specific incident). Can you help me understand the situation better?”
If you do not feel that the situation is resolved, pull in an impartial, mature mediator to help you.
If you still cannot get to a place of unity, you will want to bring the matter to your pastor or leader.
Can a godly person have boundaries? Did Jesus have boundaries?
- Jesus often went away alone to pray even though the crowds were pressing in for His attention.
- He did not get off track with other people’s agendas for His life. He said that He only did what His Father was doing and saying.
- He said that He is the ONLY way to the Father. No one can get to the Father except through Him.
Key Idea: Ask Jesus to show you any boundaries you need to make or any walls you need to tear down.
Beth L. Olson is an author/blogger helping leaders eliminate stress & move forward in peace. She does web design for Life Coaches, Authors, Bloggers & Speakers. This article was first published on her blog: https://www.bethlolson.com
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