Having Good Boundaries
"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control." -Proverbs 25:28
Have you ever heard the term 'boundaries' before? The word may conjure up images of a fence or a wall, but the idea of boundaries has come up in recent years as it relates to our emotional and spiritual health and interactions with others. Drs. Cloud and Townsend have written a great book on the subject entitled Boundaries. Why are boundaries important?
Boundaries give order to our lives, and our world. If we didn't have them, our lives would be out of order. Imagine if you always stayed up late and got up early. You would always be exhausted. Your work would suffer, your relationships would suffer, and so would your health. Exercise habits, sleep schedules, dietary choices, time management, financial management, and relationships are all about good or poor boundaries. The Bible talks about boundaries. In the garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve both freedom and boundary. The Ten Commandments are a set of boundaries that God set up to help us be successful in life.
Perhaps the most elusive type of boundaries are the ones we need to have with others. They may or may not make sense to us due to the way we were raised.
Recently a musician friend was telling me about an experience she had had over the holiday with a family member of hers. This family member had said something hurtful. She told him he was that he was entitled to his own opinion, but that she didn't appreciate the belittlement. He later apologized for his behavior.
The stronger we become in Christ, the stronger our boundaries become. But, this doesn't mean we shut people out. Conversely, we are in a better position to give and receive love. We are safe to be ourselves because we have set good boundaries in place in order to do so. As we understand more and more of God's nature and character we realize how He operates. He invites us to live within certain boundaries so that we can live a free and holy life, pleasing unto him, and a blessing to those we encounter.
Where are God's boundaries? What kind of boundaries should we have as His children? Make sure you are not a "city without walls" so that God can use you greatly for His kingdom.