This post is quite practical. It’s about boundaries. One of the signs we are lacking security in Christ is a lack of boundaries. You may be thinking, “I don’t have an issue with boundaries!” I urge you to stay with me.
Answer these questions:
Do you find it difficult to say no to things you don’t want to do or aren’t right for you?
Do you seek to please people?
Do you go along with what is being said or done out of fear?
Do you often feel taken advantage of, frustrated, or used in relationships?
Do you find yourself overloaded, overworked, or burned out?
Do you seek to rescue people from their bad choices?
Do you stay in relationships that are harmful, one sided, or detrimental?
Do you allow people to mistreat you with no consequences?
Do you listen more to what people say than what God says?
Are you always taking from other people?
Are you constantly giving to others and there’s no reciprocation?
Do you overstay your welcome or allow others to overstay their welcome?
Do you take responsibility for others or try to control or change others?
Do you let people get too close to you quickly or try to get close to people quickly?
Do you lack respect for people’s privacy, have trouble keeping secrets, or share too much?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s most likely a boundary issue.
What are boundaries?
What is the purpose of boundaries?
Boundaries protect the value of something. If you had a million dollar diamond, you’d keep it safe. You’d probably put it in a case, have an alarm system, and surveillance. Guess what? You are someone God considers more valuable than that million dollar diamond. You are valuable and so is everyone else.
Boundaries keep us from being violated, used, abused, and they protect others. Boundaries say, “Your freedom ends where my freedom begins.” We can’t do whatever we want with no consequences. We are called out of security in Christ to set boundaries with people. Jesus set boundaries with people. When Peter told Jesus he would not let him go to the cross, Jesus rebuked him. The highest priority for Jesus was the will of His Father. People did not determine what Jesus would do. He was secure in His identity.
Boundaries are good and rooted in love.
Even society sets boundaries with the law. I can’t walk into my neighbors house and take his belongings. There’s a lock on the door and to take his stuff is a violation of his space.
People, if you let them, will violate and/or take advantage of you. If you’re not careful, you can overstep boundaries with other people. Here are some stories…
Carpool: I used to volunteer to take a lady from an old church ( long ago, no longer attending) to Sunday services. I thought it was noble, to serve and love like Jesus. She wasn’t on my route but had no other way. This woman would slam my car door, complain all the way to church, wander off after church, get an attitude if she thought we’d be late, call my house multiple times Sunday mornings, etc…I at the time thought I was dying to self and suffering for Christ. I realized after weeks of frustration, and seething inside that I was being stupid. Jesus would point her to truth. He’s not a wimp or doormat. He doesn’t delight in sin. Allowing this woman to treat me poorly wasn’t helping her to become like Christ. In community we are called to point each other to Jesus. Love corrects to restore. It’s not loving to allow someone to keep sinning against you.
The talebearer: I don’t like gossip. I don’t like listening to other people’s business or hearing their secrets. I don’t advocate talking about someone behind their back. I try to protect people’s reputations. I’ve had to tell a few people, “You shouldn’t share this with people. Do you have permission to share this? I don’t want to hear this.” It’s awkward. It doesn’t feel nice at first, but it’s my boundary.
The intruder: I think we’ve probably all encountered the person who has different ideas of personal space, who stays late, arrives late, makes you late, arrives too early, stops by unannounced, etc…intruders don’t respect your time or space. You set the standard for how you’ll be treated. I’ve been know to not answer the door, my phone, to leave without chronically late people, etc…it’s not to be mean or demand my way. It’s a to create a boundary in my life.
You and I are responsible for what we allow. We are also called to have self control in our own lives. We learn the boundaries of others and establish our own. God is a fan of boundaries, for love protects.