Boundaries… A Step Toward Emotional Freedom

by | Apr 6, 2016 | 0 comments

It’s always interesting when God is trying to show me something. First he plants a seed or what I like to call a “sign” along my path hoping to gently get my attention. Sometimes I notice them, but other times I am either too busy with life or too self-absorbed to notice. There are even times that I am sad to admit I have flat-out ignored him. Ouch! That hurt to say out loud! No one ever really wants to admit to being selfish or ignoring God, but I would like to be transparent with you today. It would be insane for us to think that we have it together all the time. We all struggle with life and I am certain you have probably had to deal with boundary issues before. Have you ever considered what impact your boundaries have on others? What about how your lack of boundaries affects someone else? When is the last time you slowed down to consider just how many lives you influence on a daily basis?

Last week I had the opportunity to visit with a friend from out-of-town. My family and I had just returned from an unplanned trip out-of-state. It was the beginning of spring break and there was lots going on in our lives, but I was super excited to see my friend and her family so I was very determined to make this trip happen. The original plans changed a couple of times due to travel arrangements and work schedules, but again I was determined to make it work for everyone. This was probably my first mistake. Have you ever tried to organize a party or event for more than a few people? Everyone has their own ideas about what should happen and when. Things inevitably don’t go as planned and this day was no different. I will not get into the details of it all but suffice it to say that the weather, children, communication and different personalities all played a part in making it a complicated day at times. It was not until I was in tears in our truck that I even realized what was happening. We had been rushing for days doing what we thought were good things that would help others. Our stress levels were high and I hit my breaking point. I had to step back and take a good look at me. I had not stopped to listen when God was trying to slow me down to rest. Instead I rushed forward full speed ahead because I wanted to see my friend.

As I sat there with tears wondering why things had to be so difficult and why this trip wasn’t working out for us, God put one simple word on my heartboundaries. At first I was angered because I had convinced myself that I was rushing around doing so many different things because that’s what God wants me to do. I am a helper and that’s just what we do. After some prayer I have realized that God would never ask me to run myself ragged and help others if it were hurting me or my family. That’s just not how He operates. I was simply exhausted both physically and emotionally. I had failed to put the necessary boundaries in place to protect me and my family.

A boundary, by definition, is a line that marks the limits of an area. You may be asking yourself why it is so important to set boundaries, and the reason I am talking to you today is because not setting boundaries is actually setting a boundary. It is setting a boundary that tells others that you don’t consider yourself important. It’s telling them that they can decide for you. Do you have boundaries in place in your life or are you letting yourself be controlled by the decisions and boundaries of others? In Titus 2:12 we are commanded to control ourselves, however our human nature desires to control others. This is often easy to see when looking at relationships. So why is it so difficult for us to say “No”? This is essentially what boundaries are.

Here are 4 simple steps to help you set some healthy boundaries for your life…

  • Learn that it is ok to say “NO”
    Give yourself permission to say “no” to others. You don’t have to give a reason or explain yourself. Let your callers leave a message that way you are not on the spot making a decision about the commitment they are asking you to take on. Don’t forget to schedule in down-time for doing nothing.
  • Make yourself and your family a priority
    Self-care is key to setting and keeping healthy boundaries. What things are you doing weekly to take care of you? How are you relieving stress? Spend time finding out what you enjoy and what makes you happy.
  • Limit your inner circle
    It is okay to say “no” to drama. Think about how you feel when you are around others who are negative, angry and demanding all of the time. Limit the amount of time you spend with people who drain your energy. You should surround yourself with others who lift you up and add value to your life.
  • Most importantly ground yourself in God
    Unhealthy boundaries tend to be controlling and selfishly motivated. So how do we set boundaries without being selfish? Two of the ways that I find most helpful are through prayer and quiet time. I enjoy beginning my day with encouraging scriptures and prayer. It’s amazing how much more clearly I can see the decisions that God is leading me toward when I am alone with him.

Setting healthy boundaries for yourself will help you to be the best you that you can be. As parents, we have an incredible responsibility to our children. We are called by God to guide them and train them in the ways of The Lord. Teaching them to set healthy boundaries at an early age will help them to be a positive influence on others. It also shows them the value and worth they have as individuals.