The Struggle With Boundaries

I write a lot about boundaries. Looking through my archives, I have mentioned them about 18 times. Yet I’m still a work in progress with them, and the month I was off I was really working on them. Here’s what I learned.

Last year, my friend Kee let me borrow her book Boundaries. When we were talking about it again, she offered to let me read it again. I said no, my own copy and its corresponding workbook was already on the way to my house. It’s filled with my notes now. That’s better than filling her book full of my notes too. *chuckles*

Taking Responsibility

One thing I learned is that boundaries are about personal responsibility. Personal responsibility isn’t new to Scripture; it’s interwoven through it.
We can’t even repent until we accept and own up for doing wrong. One of my peeves is when someone doesn’t own up to their mistakes.

Boundaries are to keep the good in and the bad out. I have to own them, setting and enforcing my boundaries while not enabling others to avoid their responsibilities.

The Little Voice In My Head

The first thing I have to fix is my backward boundaries. I don’t like to admit I need help (keeping the good out and the bad in). I also have a hard time saying no to those who ask for help.

One problem with that is my overly critical conscience. It’s just part of my personality. On the Enneagram, I’m a Type One, ‘perfectionistic, moral, and self-controlled.’ The weak boundaries betray my lack of self-control.

Why is this important?

Part of the reason is my overactive super-ego, a critical voice that questions my motives and my desire to rationalize my behavior.


Because of how my type is wired. The basic fear of Ones is being bad, evil, corrupt. Layer that on top of an overly-critical conscience and I feel like I’m not doing enough.

Condemnation or Conviction

Take note here, that’s a good place for the Devil to attack. He is called the Accuser after all. The demonic forces would love to condemn and burn out a Christian and any effect they have.

There is a difference in an overly critical conscience and Godly sorrow that leads to repentance. I read that as the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The key is to know the difference.

The Holy Spirit convicts a behavior. “That’s not right.”

The Devil accuses and condemns a person. “You’re not right.”

The former offers a way back through repentance and forgiveness. What I have to do is know my limits and differentiate between the Holy Spirit and other voices.

Building Fences

Boundaries keep the good in and the bad out. I’m in a fence, that has a gate that I choose to open, not out of guilt, but out of love.

So the question I had to ask myself is, what is the good that I have to protect with healthy boundaries?

My spiritual growth. Whatever interferes with it must be kept out. Calendar and defend that time. That’s all day Monday, and early mornings.

My marriage. Anything that can harm it is kept out.

Health. Exercise, and rest. Rest usually comes on weekends during the non-church time. Sometimes I can squeeze in a nap.

Blog. Overwork was becoming a problem, so I put a limit on the posts to twice a week. It’s internationally read and I write on Tuesdays so I can continue to reach people.

Class Prep. I disciple the Deaf with another teacher. That’s a lot of work that I use Wednesdays to prepare for.

Responsibilities at home. Upkeep, budget, shopping, and probably should start scheduling doctor visits on those days. That’s what I use Thursdays and Fridays for.

I haven’t even gotten to my full-time job and other ministries. The overly critical conscience is full of it. It’s a lot to balance and protect with boundaries. Still a work in progress, but I am making progress.

5 thoughts on “The Struggle With Boundaries

  1. Love Boundaries in theory. Hate them in practice. No matter how life-changing this book is, I feel like I need to reread and reapply it constantly. It has certainly been a eye-opener for me … and probably one I need a refresher on.

    On the Enneagram – how did you figure out your type? I’ve taken the quizzes and read and read and can’t settle on who I am!


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