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Setting boundaries

Updated: Nov 18, 2018


Protect what is inside

After a lifetime of emotional hurt, I am here to say that boundaries are necessary. When others use their words and actions to attack you and make you feel useless, unworthy of love and affection, and stupid for thinking you can be anymore than they say you are, it is time to put up a fence between you and them. Please note that I said "a fence" not a brick wall. Sometimes, the ones who have hurt you may need you to continue to be in their lives. Perhaps it is a parent, or a sibling, or an elderly neighbor. The Holy Spirit may be prompting you to continue to attend to their physical needs, all the while also tending to their spiritual needs through prayer and witnessing, and to erect a wall, completely shutting them out, would be disobedient. Disobedience separates us from our Father and this is never to be our goal.

Matt. 18:21-22 says, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!'"

Now, let me get personal. Some family members throughout my childhood and into my adulthood have spoken hurtful words to me on enough occasions that I believed much of what they said. I suffered for years with depression. God bless my husband. He truly rescued me as I was a heartbroken teenage girl who could not go to the women in my life that I really should have been able to talk to as they would belittle me for my tears or said things to make me think I deserved them. Throughout our marriage, my husband has continued to rescue me, always trying to build me back up after I was torn down. Whenever I would fail, without even having to speak to these other women in my family, I immediately would feel worthless. There have been many occasions when I didn't even try. Whatever the challenge was, I shouldn't bother trying as I was not strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough...whatever the world's criteria was, I didn't make the grade.

At 47 years old, I have learned the greatest boundary-setting word, and it has given me release from my prison of depression: no. "It lets others know that you exist apart from them and that you are in control of you. Being clear about your no--and your yes--is a theme that runs throughout the Bible." (Cloud & Townsend)

Prov. 22:3 says "the prudent man sees the evil and hides himself." I finally find myself able to speak up when telephone conversations with these individuals take a destructive turn and let them know that we can talk again when their tone is more cordial and the lashing-out is over. They are no longer aloud to speak venomous towards me or my family. I am also able to recognize when Satan is stirring up strife within me, causing me to tear myself down. Please truly listen to the words in the shared video, You Say by Lauren Daigle. Satan is a liar. He cannot take our salvation but he can destroy our testimony and this is what he has worked consistently at in my life. No more. I am loved. I may not have been wanted at birth but the Creator of all the breathtaking mountains, oceans, and valleys, uniquely designed me and wanted me for Himself. When I am disappointed by people, my Father is ready and waiting for me to lean on Him. He has a plan for me and it is far better than any limited human brain can imagine.

I could keep going here, but, I will save some more for another day. Also, in reference to boundaries, I will share more later about the boundaries God sets for us, to keep us in a close relationship with us. His boundaries, too, are for our good, not our harm.

My prayer for you is that you will ask God to show you where you need to set boundaries, releasing you from hurt and shame, so that you may be a more effective witness for Him. God bless!


 

Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend (Zondervan, 1992), page 36.

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