A Lesson In Boundaries

I’m going to have to relearn boundaries. Surprisingly, my tender-hearted wife is better at it than I am at this point. Which amazes me because I’ve had to occasionally tell dangerous people ‘no’. Searching Bible.com’s app I found a reading plan called Boundaries 101, based on a book a friend told me about. I learned quite a bit from it.

On What You Will Allow

Personal boundaries, what will you or will you not allow around you? The writers compared it to a yard with a fence and gate. Some things you can’t allow in your yard. You have to ‘flee evil‘, don’t even let it in your yard, let alone your house. Why?

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

The way to build that fence is “no”. It’s non-negotiable. Let your no be no, and your yes be yes (Matthew 5:37). When used, it lets others know there are limits to what you will allow.

On What You Will Do

My weakness lies here. It’s the reason I started the plan and borrowed the book from my friend. As far as the ministries at church go, I have a good balance. Personally, not as much. Here’s the excerpt from the plan about it:

No is a confrontational word. The Bible says that we are to confront people we love, saying, “No, that behavior is not okay. I will not participate in that.” The word no  is also important in setting limits on abuse. Many passages of Scripture urge us to say no to others’ sinful treatment of us (Matt. 18:15–20).
The Bible also warns us against giving to others “reluctantly or under compulsion” (2 Cor. 9:7). People with poor boundaries struggle with saying no to the control, pressure, demands, and sometimes the real needs of others. They feel that if they say no to someone, they will endanger their relationship with that person, so they passively comply but inwardly resent. Sometimes a person is pressuring you to do something; other times the pressure comes from your own sense of what you “should” do. If you cannot say no to this external or internal pressure, you have lost control of your property and are not enjoying the fruit of “self-control.”

When you’re dependable, people start to depend on you, which can lead to enabling them. Why should they personally meet that need if you’re meeting it for them?It takes tough love and setting strict limits to let them know it won’t continue. Otherwise, you’ll burn out if you’re trying to save everyone.

Help who you can. Remember, you cannot give what you don’t have, so also take care of yourself. That’s why God instituted rest.

Words Have Power

Words define your property line, letting others know where you stand. They give others a sense of who you are as you communicate your feelings, intentions, and dislikes. Plus, you can do it without being rude. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

This is something I’m working on myself and hope it helps you. I linked to the plan in the post.

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