Let's Talk Boundaries
Let’s talk about boundaries. What exactly does setting boundaries mean, especially as a Christian woman?
We live in a society where we’re inundated with constant information and self-help tips. Most of what runs across any social media feed is helpful, but not faith-based. We’re taught as Christians to forgive quickly, but how does that work if we’re continually put in situations or around people that hurt us. Whether it’s an intimate relationship, a family member, or a friend you’ve known since childhood, healthy boundaries are crucial to living a joyful and peace-filled life. Achieving this starts with cultivating an attitude of “no.”
We show people how to treat us by what we allow to transpire. You are allowed to hold others accountable for their hurtful actions. You are allowed to have a voice. You are allowed to put your mental, spiritual, and physical health before the comfort of others.
“Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (1 Peter 3:11, New Living Translation)
When I rededicated my life back to Christ, mountains and valleys of hurt and disappointment laid before me. Heart work is continual and difficult, but once inner-peace is achieved you realize how critical it is to maintain it. Christ in me is the only thing in this world that truly gives me peace. Guarding our peace is imperative to experiencing joy.
You can only control yourself and your actions, understanding this brings freedom. Take inventory of the people you spend most of your time with. Do they make deposits or mostly withdraws from your energy bank? Do you leave exhausted, weary, stressed out? God desires the absolute best for us; what is He saying about your difficult relationships? One of the biggest realizations I’ve had about people I deeply love is that I cannot want the best for them, more than they want the best for themselves. You most certainly can love someone from afar and allow God to shape their heart. It also makes for an awesome, point to God’s glory alone story, once there is reconciliation.
Forgiveness does not equal relationship. When someone hurts us, it’s our responsibility to vocalize that and offer the other party a chance for repentance. Simply stating, “I’m sorry,” isn’t enough - actions always speak louder than words. It is now their responsibility to rebuild the broken trust, which takes time. Rebuilding the relationship or lack thereof shows the value they’ve placed on your space in their life. You should never beg anyone to love you or choose you; we’re called “God’s masterpiece” in Ephesians 2:10 and “greatly loved” in Romans 5:8 (NLT). We are so valuable that God sent his only Son to liberate us. Earthly relationships will never quench the thirst for belonging.
Relationships are hard, plain and simple. They’re also about reciprocity; mutually beneficial exchange. There will be times loneliness and despair have a lasso pulled tight around your heart. Being stripped away from people is a good thing. In these times, Jesus is the only life boat. You realize your desperate need for Him. He doesn’t have to prove a thing and yet an empty cross is proof of His unfailing love. He’s done the unthinkable to save your life; life does have a price. Once you discover your worth in him, you expect more from yourself and in turn expect more from others. Only though Christ Jesus do we have enough strength to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and the relationships around us.
Affirmations to practice:
- I love, value, and respect myself because of who I am in Christ.
- I am a complete person because Christ completes me and apart from Him, I am nothing.
- I choose relationships that push me toward Christ and I surrender relationships that no longer positively serve me.
- Saying “no” opens up space for God’s absolute best.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.