Living Without Healthy Boundaries
The last two weeks are a blur. Can anyone go there with me? The only remnants left behind are feelings of loss, failure, physical and spiritual exhaustion and an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction looming in my soul. I abdicated the throne of ownership and control over my life in regards to time and my commitments. Reality sucker punched me in the gut twice in one week and if I’m honest, both situations could have been avoided. I had the best of intentions entering into Monday morning. I even made an all-inclusive “to-do” list, down to the snack times and bathroom breaks. However, my schedule was void of healthy boundaries.
Come on, don’t roll your eyes. Let’s be honest! We all enjoy checking something off the list, even if that “something” doesn’t advance our day, right?!
However, let’s just say that my best intentions led to some of the most unfulfilling, underwhelming days. Instead of being the “driver of my own bus,” I laid down, waved the white flag of surrender and allowed the bus to run right on over me.
When everything is deemed important, nothing is important. When the word “yes” is used more than the word “no” and when your mouth moves faster than your brain, you find yourself living reactively versus proactively. I was fighting the fires of urgency instead of answering the divine calls of sacred work the Lord placed in my life.
Simply put, I was living boundary(less).
Why Healthy Boundaries are Important
To some of us, the word “boundary” is unfamiliar and the concept, foreign. Others may be comfortable setting boundaries around certain things but, to others, including myself, the sheer thought of uttering the word “no” makes our stomachs turn and our palms sweat. Most of us would rather say “yes” out of fear or obligation than enter into confrontation with another person where we might be called upon to “defend” our decision or risk hurting feelings.
I think we are most comfortable with the concept of “boundary” in regards to something visible, like a property line, a street sign or even our own personal “space.” But what about those boundaries that are invisible? Our personal feelings or our time? For me, there are certain relationships in life where boundaries just don’t exist.
Are Healthy Boundaries Biblical?
Contrary to what we might believe or to how we were raised, boundaries are necessary, critical and biblical. Boundaries are not just recommendations by God but actual commandments. It is imperative for us to establish ourselves and our priorities, against our relationship and position to the Lord. The best real life examples of boundary setting can be found in the life and essence of Jesus Christ.
We want to be people pleasers, peace makers, doers, givers, and servers; but to what extent will we go to fulfill those desires? What price are willing to pay to try to be everything to everyone? As a culture, we are obsessed with “busyness” and we are addicted to being well-liked.
We forget the WHO and the WHY behind it all.
The opinions of others are allowed to speak into our lives louder than we do the voice of the Lord.
We allow the desires and feelings of others to dictate our actions, influence our decisions and control our thought processes with little to no regard to how it will affect our ability to walk in God’s purpose for our own lives.
Agendas of others are allowed to become the priorities of our lives.
Why Boundaries are a Blessing
Well defined boundaries are synonymous with fulfillment, joy, connectedness, balance, peace, health and an overall sense of well-being. Non-existent or poorly defined boundaries lead to frustration, resentment, stress, anxiety, loss of control, fear, overwhelm and dissatisfaction. Boundaries are critical to our emotional, spiritual and physical well- being.
If we do not take the time to figure out what God says about boundaries and understand what it looks like to walk in obedience with His commandments, the world will decide for us and impose its boundaries on our lives. If we do not take a proactive role in establishing healthy boundaries, we will live in conflict with ourselves and with others. We will be plagued by stress, loneliness, spiritual apathy and disconnect….all the things we were looking to avoid by NOT setting boundaries from the get go. We believe we are doing ourselves and others a favor by leaving things “loosey goosey.” In doing so, we give up the gift and fruit of the Spirit of self-control.
Our souls yearn for balance and peace, yet we don’t know what to do or how to go about doing it. I believe we self-sabotage. We know what to do but we resist doing it. Often times, we find ourselves living in complete opposition to what we desire most.
I challenge you to take an introspective look at your life and identify at least one area where your boundary lines are blurred or non-existent. Go to the Lord in prayer. Dig deep into His Word and see what He has to say about that “area” of your life. When you know what God wants and you study examples found in the life of Jesus, then you can begin building healthy boundaries. Be specific and intentional and share with someone you love. Not only are these conversations liberating but they are critical for the establishment of healthy, life-giving relationships.
Healthy boundaries show LOVE.
What area of your life is “in, out, or on the line?”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”(Galatians 5:22,24-25, NIV).