Boundaries (Single & Following Jesus Part III) 

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Today I wanted to talk about boundaries in dating and with the opposite gender. 

I read a quote that has followed me through life. It is as follows, “Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. So people can see it’s beauty, yet only invited guests are invited inside.” 

God expects us to guard our hearts. I have seen people blame God for a lack of protecting their own hearts. I used to become upset at the way people treated me, then I realized I set myself up to be treated poorly with a lack of steady boundaries. People treat us, for the most part, how we let them. 

Guard What Is Valuable: 

We are responsible for what we allow into our hearts and lives. 

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life,~ Proverbs 4:23. 

Look at the heart like it’s a priceless rare diamond. Look at your body like it’s even more valuable. Both were worth dying for, according to Jesus. Why offer them to just anyone? Not every person we encounter is worthy of our heart, deep inner world, nor our body. 

God says, “Reserve your body for holy, committed, loyal, invested, mutual love.” 

Our culture minimizes intimacy to one night stands, random hook ups, experimentations, chemistry that leads to immorality, or reducing humans to objects to be objectified for personal pleasure. It sets up instant intimate relationships. 

Prudence says, “Get to know this person’s character before opening up your heart and life to them.” 
Lots of drama, heartache, and pain can be avoided if we understand boundaries and we grow into intimacy. The level of intimacy should increase with the level of commitment and the character of the person needs evaluated. Why?Because the more of ourselves we give away, the more damage can be done to the heart, soul, spirit. 

We should be the most vulnerable with those committed to love us and steward our hearts well. The world says, “Be intimate with whoever you wish.” God gives us wisdom to be intimate with those who will steward our hearts well and are committed to love us. 

Note: Lust is cheap. Love is expensive and worth doing God’s way. 

Healthy Boundaries: 

1. Give people access based on the level of trust, committment, and assessment of their character. This means we do not invite strangers into our inner world or just hook up with anyone. We value ourselves. You do not just give rare, priceless diamonds away. We grow to know people before letting them into our inner world. 

2. We do not treat boyfriends or girlfriends like spouses. Spouses have privileges and rights that dating partners do not. Please do not give yourself away or build your life/excessive time around someone who is not your spouse. I am talking about enmeshment that does not lead to marriage. It leads to heartache. 

3. Understand interactions with the opposite sex can be tricky. I am including some of my boundaries, yet just as illustration. Each person sets their own boundaries. 

These are my current standards so I can not be accused of being inappropriate: 

I am a kind hearted person. My intentions are to love people, yet understand boundaries are necessary for opposite gender relating. 

  • I do not correspond with married men or encourage them without a witness. I realized though I am just trying to honor Hebrews 3:13 and John 13:34-35, some do not see it that way. If I can, I send things through their spouse or mainly deal with their wives.  
  • I do not minister to males by myself. The only exception is if I see someone begging for food and I can hand them materials outside the window (in public). 
  • I do not correspond with single men I do not know. I copy someone else. The exceptions are it is related to business, it’s necessary. Several of my mentors and coworkers are male. Our communication is brief and about work/business. 
  • I do not meet with married men without a witness. 
  • I do not listen to married men discuss their marriage or emotional/inner life. They need a male or therapist/counselor. I will take brief prayer requests, I do not set myself up to be their go to person to vent. 
  • I do not discuss my deep inner world with men. I have girlfriends for that and Jesus.

For dating, I do not invite men into my home alone for dates. We meet somewhere else. I am not stating we can not be alone, I am stating I do not invite men into my home for one on one alone evening dates. Why? My goal is not to give anyone the idea I am looking for something I am not. It’s not because I have a purity problem. It’s because I choose to set this boundary. I also do not devote my entire life to men expressing interest. I do not drop plans for them nor share my deepest thoughts immediately. I have physical boundaries as well. It is not because I am a prude. I honor my heart and body. It belongs to Jesus. Why give it away to just any man interested? 

4. Refuse to allow disrespect, dishonor, or abuse. The first time someone disrespects you in relationship, address it. Turning the other cheek is about refusing retaliation, not being a doormat. You are empowered to say to people, “You may not speak to me this way, treat me this way, touch me this way.” Allowing people to disrespect us is devaluing ourselves. 

5. Follow through on boundaries. If you tell someone what your boundaries are, do not back down. 

Boundaries express value. When we do not set boundaries, enforce boundaries, or adhere to boundaries we set ourselves up to be devalued or disrespected. Jesus had boundaries. We need healthy boundaries. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin 

10 Commandments of Self Care 

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Life requires balance. Only God can continuously pour out without depletion. Only God can meet everyone’s needs. He is not asking us to be Him. He gives each of us specific things to do and a season to do them. 

For all the givers in the world here are my 10 commandments of self care. If you just take from people and invest zero, these apply solely to givers/investors. 

Self care: putting your needs above another’s wants. 

Selfishness: putting your wants above another’s needs.”

1. It’s okay to say no. 

I like the word no. Saying no enables you to say yes to what truly matters. 

Every assignment, opportunity, relationship is not your assignment. Ask God where to invest. God may have someone else better suited to do whatever it is or connect with that person. And do not feel guilty for placing people, situations in the hands of God. 

2. You are not God. 

Do not let people put you in His place. There are things they need to get straight from Him. I ask people sometimes-have you prayed about this? Talked to God? 

3. Rest is a weapon. 

Schedule rest if you need to. Turn off the phone, book a retreat, stay home, lock yourself in the bathroom, go for a long drive, take a sabbatical, book a vacation or staycation…

4. Assess the takers in your life. 

Are you enabling them? Has your desire to give merged into codependency? Say NO to enabling poor treatment. Say NOoooooo to codependency. I like the phrase, “Your crisis does not constitute my emergency.” 

Turn the other cheek is not about being a doormat or enabling poor treatment. Jesus corrected people. 

Every person is responsible for their own life and choices, unless it’s an infant. 

5. Do not let people guilt you into doing more than you can do, or anything at all. 

6. Find out who and what your priorities are. 

Once you know your best yes, you can say no to what is not. The goal is to honor God and prevent burnout. 

Cease making people a priority when they should not be. Big lesson learned for me the past few years. 

7. Can you meet the need? Should you? Is God asking you to? 

If it’s life or death, well get some help or help. Other things, well think about what you are saying yes to. 

8. Get the details? What does this assignment, opportunity, or relationship entail? 

Better to know up front than later. Pay attention. Some people will attach to you to meet a need. Once their need is gone they will ditch you for the next fix. Some will see your gifting, talent, skills, (fill in whatever you have to offer), who you know, and seek to cling to you for selfish motives. 

Are you a friend or simply a resource? Friendship involves mutual investment. If it’s one sided all the time, it’s not a friendship. 

9. Do nice things for you! ❤️💯

Love yourself. It’s okay to do nice things just for you. It is not selfish, it’s healthy. 

10. Tell people what your needs are/have some investors in your life. 

If people are accustomed to you being there for them, they may never ask if you need something or how you are doing. Have a circle that is invested in you and care about your needs/desires. 

Allow God to Meet Your Needs (Sacred Sex Series Part V)

  
Good morning beautiful people. 

You are loved! 

Today I wanted to chat with you about needs. We, as humans, have needs. Those needs left unmet can lead to soul wounds, despair, discouragement, hurt, unhealthy relationships, or addictions. 

What are our basic needs. Well, other than food and water, we need: 

  • Affection
  • Affirmation
  • Encouragement
  • Family (does not have to be natural) 
  • Sense of Belonging 
  • Unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial (Agape) Love: we were created by love, to be loved, and to love.

God is the primary Source of these things. If we bypass Him to try to get those needs met by others, well it brings problems. God loves purely. There is no bias. 

God is stable, consistent, and will not love you today and withhold love tomorrow. God comes to give and not consume. God comes with a heart of pure unconditional, sacrificial, and lavish love. 

People, substances, and things were never created to replace our need for God. When they replace Him, unhealthy habits, and unhealthy relationships form. It also leads to great disappointment. 

In our culture we have people looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong faces, in an attempt to fill a void only God can fill. 

So how do we deal? The world offers so many opportunities to get needs met in unhealthy ways. God offers healthy ways.

  1. Start with God. 
  2. Seek healthy community 
  3. Set boundaries for weaknesses

God tells us the following in His word. 

  • Mt 6:8…”your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
  • Ps 34:10…”…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
  • Ps 24:1…”The earth is the Lord’s, and all it’s fullness,…”
  • Ps 50:10…”…every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
  • Gen 18:14…”Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
  • Mt 7:7…”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
  • Rom 8:32…”He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?”

The love God has for us is pure, genuine, overflowing, and good. 

He is available 24/7 to provide love, encouragement, hope, joy, peace, and His goodness. He provides affirmation, healing, and affection. 

When we start with God we have a better idea of what genuine love is and what it is not. When we start with God, we leave full and have something to offer others. We enter relationships not out of great need, but to be a blessing. 

Community: 

We were designed to live and thrive in community. Community provides an outlet for family. God’s design was for everyone to have a family. Unfortunately our culture has models of brokeness. Some people are not loved by their natural families. 

God designed the Body of Christ to be a source of family for people. We are still working out the kinks of family in church, yet that was God’s design. 

Pray for God to place you in a family if you do not have one. He excels at divine connections. 

Family provides a safe place for some of those needs. A God given family is a blessing. 

Set Boundaries: 

Where do you turn when there is a need? To food, alcohol, the internet, a person? Knowing your triggers helps to prevent sin. If I know I am feeling down, where do I turn? God or people? 

I have found people are nice, but sometimes they make me feel worse. They offer scripture bandaids that often are not helpful. Or they have zero compassion or offer judgement. Or they blow me off because they are concerned about themselves. So, for the most part, I go to God. My boundary is set with “I will spend time with God, not seek help from people.” 

There are times I will solicite help from people, yet many learning bumps later I have seen and continue to see my best bet is God.

Your boundary may be different. It may be, “When I am hurting or in need, I turn to this person or thing.” You may need to set a boundary of, “I will not seek to connect with anyone before I connect with God.” 

You and I were designed for intimacy (knowing others and being known). We were created to be loved, affirmed, encouraged, and to have affection. Those needs are normal. The way we get those needs met is what leads us on a path of purity or unhealthy living. 

I bless you friends. You are prayed for and deeply loved. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

Hormones or Lust? (Sacred Sex Series Part IV) 

  
Image Credit: WordSwag, used with permission. 

Hello beautiful people. Today I wanted to unpack some truth on hormones to hopefully relieve some shame, provide insight, and offer tools for walking in purity. 

First things first. You are a human being who has hormones. These hormones do many things; regulate metabolism, body temperature, affect body shapes/sizes, regulate reproduction. 

Almost every human has been given the ability to reproduce after it’s own kind. Men have sperm. Women have eggs. They unit to create another human who shares their DNA. 

In the normal hormonal makeup of a human is the desire to mate and reproduce. No shame if you do not desire physical intimacy or children. My point is the desire for physical affection from the opposite sex and the desire to have children is God given. The human body has hormones that support these desires. 

The desire for physical affection is not evil. Things get out of hand when hormones partner with lust. What is lust? Here is my definition. 

Lust: 

  1. An unquencheable desire for what one does not have. 
  2. A desire to do whatever it takes to satisfy that desire. 
  3. A desire to take for selfish gain, self gratification. 

Lust is not from God. It is a result of the fall. Adam saw Eve naked and his first response was to speak life and prophesy over her. He was not seeking to take from her, nor was he singing, “Let’s get it on.” 

Yes, I have heard the song and hear the things men say about women. I am surrounded by men who sing “Let’s get it on,” like it is their theme song. I work with majority males. What they do not recognize is that they were created to love not lust. 

While men chant, “Men will be men. We just can not help ourselves,” God whispers back, “I created you in My image to agape love (unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional love).” Men were designed to unselfishly love (give), not take. 

Hormones (flesh) say, “I want to mate with someone, be physically intimate.

Lust says, “I desire to meet my own desires and I do not care how. I am here to be gratified and satisfied. People are objects to be used for my pleasure.” 

Lust is selfish. Lust wants to take for it’s own pleasure without regard for God, or others. Lust is never satisfied. It requires more and more while giving less and less. 

Love says, “I will walk in self control. I will seek to honor God and others. I will abort thoughts and images that are not holy. I am here to give, not take. It is not about feelings or hormones. It is about honor.” 

Love seeks holy connection in commitment/covenant. Love sees a person to be cherished, respected, honored…not an object to be used and discarded. 

So how does one walk in purity in a world where many things are set up to lure people into lust? 

Lust sells right? It sells because it becomes an addiction. People need more and more to feel good. The lust can be for sex, money, power, attention, affirmation, prestige. Lust always wants more! 

God has another plan, plan A. His plan involves agape love, receiving His love, knowing Him, and sharing His love with others. 

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,”~Matthew 5:8. 

Stepd for walking in purity: 

I. Assess Your Needs 

  1. The need may be for intimacy-to be known. 
  • This need is normal and there are healthy ways to get this need met without falling into the trap of lust. 
  • Godly friendships and friendship with God are great ways to meet this need. 
  • Go to God with your desire for intimacy. 
  • God is faithful to listen and provide great holy connections.

All we need is love, right?

  1. Is the need for love? God is love. Unfortunately God does not embrace us the way a human being can, yet His embrace of our spirit is far more powerful. 
  • Godly community can also be a place for our love to be given and for love to be received. The hugs, smiles, laughter, shared experiences can help to keep us connected. 
  • Seek God and be in healthy commmunity. 
  • If you ask, God is faithful to provide a tribe. 

II. Set Boundaries

Okay so boundary is sometimes an overused word in Christian culture. Yet boundaries are important. They protect both people. 

What is appropriate for your relationship? Well, what honors God? Would you mind it being broadcast on tv for your parents, pastor, friends (unmarried peeps)? If not, cease the activity. 

Physical intimacy was intended to lead somewhere…to more physical intimacy. It was not designed to be cut on and off. That’s why you read stories of people who started something that seemed so innocent that led to far, far more. 

The Bible says, “It is not prudent to awaken love before it’s time.” Why? Because your body will move towards what it was designed to do…don’t go playing with matches. You will get burned. 🔥🔥🔥

It is also very imperative to not treat a boyfriend or girlfriend like a spouse, emotionally, spiritually, or  physically. 

Do not give yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. 

Many affairs or trails to a bedroom started with emotional or spiritual connection. How much time is being spent alone with this person? Talking on the phone? Sharing dreams, praying, emotions, struggles? These activities build intimacy. 

How much is shared too soon or without committment? It can be a set up for later heartache. 

Stories:  

I have been discipling for 12 years and have seen quite a bit. 

There was Marcus (not his real name). He connected with lots of women on an emotional and spiritual level. He was the handsome, seemingly “nice” Christian guy. He knew how to pray and say all the right things. 

The issue was Marcus had zero desire to love or commit to any of those ladies. The ones with little to no boundaries were greatly harmed by him. They opened their hearts and souls to someone not committed to love them. Some gave their bodies to him. He moved on to the next target. 

Marcus stated he only told women what he thought they wanted to hear so he could take from them. He was a predator. He was selfish. 

Ladies and gents, set boundaries. Do not give yourself away. You are a priceless treasure. Your future or current spouse will thank you. Your soul will too. 

There was Lisa (not her name). Lisa had a handsome boyfriend. They spent lots of time talking, connecting, being together. She lived alone so they would have hang outs at her place, some were evening hang outs. These hang out led to other things. 

She believed he loved her and was only with her. She did not find out until later he had given her an STD (sexually transmitted disease). It is one she will have forever. Lisa did not set a boundary to protect her purity. Her boyfriend felt he was in love, yet love does not seek to take. He took not only her virginity, he left her with a disease. 

There was Hope and John (not their real names). They were both happily married until they met each other. Then they began chatting for hours, texting, working late together, eating lunch together alone, sharing their struggles. 

Over time the intimacy they built with each other emotionally led to a physical affair. They had no boundaries with each other. They both hurt their spouses and Hope damaged her witness for Jesus. John was not a believer.

There was Janet (not her real name) who became best friends with Eva. Their friendship lacked boundaries and they started acting like a married couple. Eva developed romantic feelings for Janet.Though Janet did not reciprocate those feelings, their lack of healthy boundaries created a perfect storm. 

III. Feed Your Soul Healthy Things 

I know we live in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey, it is your body-do what you want, overly sexual images/activities, etc…yet we are responsible for our soul care. What you feed grows, what you starve dies. Feed the soul what is healthy. 

Disclaimer: 

As for those courting or seriously dating, I am not stating you can not hug, hold hands, or share an appropriate kiss. I am not stating to never be alone together. Use wisdom. Alone at night in your apartment may not be wisdom for you. Set up situations where if you are tempted the next leap isn’t possible. God never sets anyone up to fall. 

You must talk over your personal boundaries with God and the person you are seeing. Are your actions loving? Are they helping the other person remain pure in action and in thought? Or is it lighting a fire you are not able to sustain because you are not married. 

My unsolicted suggestion is to set boundaries for all relationships. What is loving, pure, healthy? What will draw the other person closer to God? What will help them remain pure too? 

Part of relationships is drawing the other person closer to God, imitating Christ. This flows over into marriage too. Marriage does not cure lust any more than bars cure alcoholism. So may lust be  aborted and replaced with agape love. 

Papa God I pray blessings over everyone subscribed to this blog. Purify all hearts and souls. Lord may all believers be people who walk in agape love. Replace any lust with Your unfailing love. In Jesus mighty name, amen. 

Resource: 

Choosing God’s Best
This book focuses on courtship over dating. I do love the boundaries sections. If you are pro dating and not so much into the courting formalities, it still provides some wisdom. 

Bless you! 

Erin 

Setting Boundaries in Love (Relationship Series) 

  
Build a fence around your heart, not a wall. Therefore, people can see its beauty but only those invited can come inside.” 

I cannot recall who said the quote above, yet it’s a good one. Boundaries are the fences we put up to protect what’s of value. Boundaries set limits. 

God sets boundaries; much of the law was set up as boundaries to protect people. Do not steal. Do not murder…We are of infinite worth to God. Therefore, boundaries help protect us and others. 

Boundaries are supposed to be rooted in love, not fear. 

If we set boundaries with people out of fear, they are most likely to get hurt. Fear is a horrible motivator because the main objective is “Self.” When love is the motivation, the best interests of both parties are considered. 

It is possible to be kind, loving, and maintain boundaries. 

Different strokes for different folks…

Different people have different boundaries. I’m from a warm culture. It is not uncommon to smile, encourage, open the door to strangers, give gifts, or even embrace. It’s normal and considered friendly. 

I love traveling to parts of South America because the culture is similar in certain places. People will hug you, invite you for coffee. It’s not a date, flirting, or luring technique. It’s normal life. You may even receive a gift. My dad loves to give gifts. My Heavenly Father loves to give gifts. 

For some people they are not friendly if they don’t know you. They must get to know you before there’s an invitation to do anything. Some cultures are warm and friendly, some are quite reserved. 

So how do we establish boundaries? 

The first step is establishing what our boundaries are. 

  • What do you like and dislike?
  • What is comfortable? 
  • What makes you uncomfortable? 
  • What makes you feel violated, used, or abused?  
  • How do you want to be treated?

When our boundaries are not set or low, it leads to an uneasy feeling or mistreatment. When boundaries are violated, something feels wrong or off. 

Life Lessons:

I work in a mostly male environment. Sometimes the things they say are not appropriate. I tell them, “Please don’t discuss that around me.

If I don’t say anything, I can’t be upset by what they talk about. It’s my responsibility to either leave the room or tell them, “This isn’t okay.

We set our boundaries, not others. 

I also went through a period in my life where people wanted to tell me what to do. This was annoying and not what I wanted. I kindly told them, “I appreciate your concerns, yet I plan on taking this to God. I do not wish for any more counsel or feedback.” 

I’ve also learned I can unknowingly aggravate people’s boundaries. Mainly I don’t know what their boundaries are. I refrain now from being too kind or generous with people I don’t know, unless it’s secretly.  

Boundaries with the opposite sex/in ministry:

I don’t encourage or continually affirm men I don’t know unless it’s done publicly-with a witness (strong lesson learned). Even if your motive is simply to bless someone, it can be completely misunderstood. 

If I have something for a man who is married, it almost always goes through his wife unless it’s with colleagues about business. I’d rather just avoid any misunderstandings.

I don’t share deep intimate details of my life with men, or women I don’t know or trust. In ministry I share experiences, but not on a one on one intimate level with people I don’t know or trust. As I grow older the less I want people in my business. I have a small circle I trust. 

Basic boundary guidelines: 

1. Saying no to what’s breaking the law or violating your morals. 

2. Saying no without feeling guilty or obligated to say yes to please people. 

3. Refraining from touching people without asking for permission. 

If you’re from a warm culture, the other person may not be. The person with the highest boundary wins. 

Example: I hate people touching my hair. Random fact-Did you know when you touch hair with dirty hands you leave deposits?

4. Refraining from allowing people to touch you if you don’t want to be touched.

5. Refraining from emotional/physical/spiritual  closeness (intimacy) without commitment. This is quite important for members of the opposite sex. I’m not talking about family affection, a platonic hug. 

I highly recommend the book Choosing God’s Best. This book outlines some of the precautions to take with intimacy in relationships. 

Many affairs begin on an emotional and intellectual level before a physical act occurs. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,~Proverbs 4:23. 

God intended for connections to be guarded. If we open up to people who are not committed to love us (I’m talking agape, friend love, family love-and sexual love), it can lead to heartache. 

Our hearts can become entangled with people by sharing our hearts, dreams, passions, fears, intimate things about ourselves. This creates a connection with another person. If you add to that physical intimacy (which God only condones with a man and woman in marriage), it can lead to heartache outside comittment. 

I know in ministry or spiritual family connections there’s sharing. I am not stating to be a brick wall with others, just thoughts on basic boundaries. 

6. Protecting the space, time, and relationships of other people. 

7. Refraining from asking intimate personal details about people you don’t know. 

There’s a time and place for these things. I will flat out tell people, “You don’t need to know.

8. Tell people what your boundaries are. If you don’t tell them, they don’t know. The first time a boundary is violated, say something. 

For more information on boundaries go to Guide to Psychology-Boundaries

If you struggle with saying no, I recommend The Best Yes by New York Time’s Bestseller Lysa TerKurst. 

Here are some sample scripts I’ve used. 

Unsolicited advice:

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide feedback. I plan on praying and seeking God’s will. I’d love for you to pray God’s will for me. 

Pushy people:

No. I won’t be needing or using (fill in the blank). 

Requests I cannot perform, or don’t feel called to do:

I am unable to (fill in the request), have you touched base with (alternative option)? 

Rude people: 

I ignore quite a bit of rudeness because it is simply a person who feels powerless trying to appear strong or powerful. If I must address it, then it goes a bit like this. 

I would love to connect or chat with you, yet not while you’re using that tone or treating me this way. 

We can love people and set boundaries. I may post more on boundaries next post. 

Boundaries (Killing Insecurity Part 13)

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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?

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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.

The Single Reality (Part 10)

To Date or Not to Date, That is The Question?

Today we will tackle the topic of Christian dating? Who’s excited? I hope you are. First let me say that much of what will be sharing is based on my own experiences and experiences of people I know. You have to decide on your own with God what’s best for you.  The Bible doesn’t talk much about courtship in how to (the 10 commandments of dating). Paul did encourage those who were burning with desire to marry instead of simply hook-up. Well, not exactly his words, but you get what I am saying. We are told what not to do, but what about what we are supposed to do.

Here’s my top 10 dating tips:

1. Find out who you are alone first. It’s easy to try find another person to validate or fill a void. However, if you date to heal low self-esteem you will attract another person with low self-esteem and insecurities. Two insecure people makes for a roller coaster relationship. Trust me on this one. Let God heal you; love, respect, and accept yourself, and then add another person.

2. Keep pursuing Jesus! God knows where you are and will most likely align your life with someone headed in the same direction. He brings people together who compliment each other and can help one another. Some of the happiest couples I’ve met have met each other while serving God. Their paths crossed and they built a friendship. Their friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. They weren’t looking; God had their paths cross.

3. Leave the house. Some people like the online dating sites. I have no opinion on them. Pray and decide what’s best for you. I know people who have met their spouse online and they are happy. Some people have had no luck. With that said, if you never leave the house, you’re probably not going to meet anyone. I am not advocating making yourself super busy to meet someone. I am advocating living! Find things you like to do and do them. Join a gym, take a class, join a group, get going. I’ve found angels don’t deliver people to your doorstep, though I’ve never asked so who knows. I doubt though that God will FedEx your spouse to you. 🙂

4. Find out about that person’s walk with Jesus. Many people go to church who do not know Jesus. They know of Him, but they have no deep relationship with Him. Where are you in your walk with God? Do you want someone to spur you on, challenge you to grow stronger in your faith, pray and interceed for you, someone who loves like Jesus? Those qualities come from abiding in Christ. If the person you’re interested in isn’t passionate about Jesus, then why would you want to hitch your life to them?

5. Build a friendship, wait for romance and too much intimacy. Movies make it romantic and glamorous to fall in love in 20 seconds and live happily ever after. Well, that works in the movies, it does not always work in real life. People immediately want to kiss, hold hands, share their soul and deepest thoughts. There is nothing wrong with those activities. However, if friendship (platonic) is not the first thing built, then your foundation is not as solid. Friendship is what will hold your relationship together when the romance has subsided. The sooner you introduce physical or emotional intimacy, the more difficult it is to get out of the relationship if it isn’t right. It also makes it more difficult to see the flaws in the other person, things you may need to address before your heart is entangled. God created us to link up and join with people forming strong bonds. Intimacy fortifies (strengthens) those bonds. Once they are formed, it’s not easy to walk away. Also, if someone cannot be a good friend to you, do you want to have a romantic relationship with them?

6. Trust your gut. Sometimes we know someone is not right for us, but we continue on in a relationship just to be in one. Well, if we know it isn’t right we are wasting another persons time and our time. I dated someone who on paper looked great, but something in my gut said, “Red Flag. Abort…He’s not the right person for you.” I prayed and asked God to show me who this guy really was. Glad I asked. There were several deal breakers, and I saved myself from future heartache.

7. Set boundaries, have accountability. We are not immune to temptation. So plan ahead for it. Don’t simply go with flow and think you’ll able to make the right choice. In the moment you may not be able to. It’s better to prepare ahead of time and tell the other person what your boundaries are, than to fall into temptation or sin. It’s good to have a trustworthy friend you can confide in and seek counsel from as well. Someone who won’t go blabbing your business to everyone.

8. Please don’t date if you don’t want to get married. A non-Christian can get away with this. Most Christian singles date to find a mate. So, if you know you aren’t ready, don’t want to, or don’t see yourself marrying the person interested in you, don’t date. I’ve made this mistake before. I dated people with no intention of ever marrying them or anyone. I was more interested in traveling, following passions and dreams, etc…I had no desire at all to be married, yet I was dating people. I told them I wasn’t interested in marriage at the time, and I think some thought I’d change my mind or something. Then things just got awkward and people were disappointed when they realized I meant what I said. I liked the people I was spending time with and the friendship was good. However, I did not want to be married and we are to be good stewards of people’s hearts. I was doing a horrible job.

9. Dont just get to know the person, get to know their friends and family. A person who cannot sustain any healthy friendships with other Christians is a big red flag. There needs to be someone who knows the person and can vouch for them. It’s easy to hide crazy. However, people are more themselves around their closest friends and family. If they cannot build a healthy relationship with someone who they are not romantically involved with, then be concerned.

10. Take your time. Everything in our society is fast paced. People are always in a hurry. However, when it comes to your future, you have the right to take your time. Marriage is supposed to be until death. That’s a long time. Imagine 50 years with someone you can’t stand. People also put their best foot forward the first year or two they know you. I’m not saying you need to date for 5 years then get married. I am saying that people are out to impress when they first meet you. It takes time to know who they really are. Ask questions. Find out how they handle stress, money, life…get to know the person. Goes back to numbers 5, 6, and 9.

Lastly, God said that He does exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. Don’t settle for so-so, or okay, or good enough if you want exceptional. Exceptional doesn’t mean perfect, but it means perfect for you. The person who compliments you. The person who’s an amazing person to you. The person who’s inner beauty is more radiant than their outer beauty. A person you could imagine growing old and sharing everything with… You’re worth it!!!!