“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 CSB
I am thankful for the people in my life who have forced me to set boundaries. These are the people in our lives who push our buttons, the ones who have a knack for ruining our day. But they can only ruin our day if we let them. These are the people we have to establish strong boundaries with in our relationships because otherwise they will steam roll our lives. The pushy neighbor who doesn’t understand just because you’re at home means they can come over, has to be told you love them, but you need some space. The gum cracking office mate who doesn’t understand how annoying it is, you have to negotiate quietness with each day. The family member who cares only about themselves has to be reminded, your life matters too. All of these people give us the opportunity to set healthy boundaries in our life.
An interesting article, 5 Rules for Setting Boundaries in our lives, gives us Biblical insight into how to do it. First, we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-8 NIV). Often we don’t set boundaries because we think we’re helping the person by protecting them from the consequences of their actions. However, the only way they will grow is if we let them fall. Secondly, actions are what cause people to overstep boundaries. We judge actions, not people, their actions will tell whether they understand our boundaries (John 3:21 NIV). Next, if we’re following the Scriptures we don’t have to feel sorry for setting boundaries (2 Cor. 7:9 NIV). When implement God’s principles into our lives, some people won’t understand those changes, especially if they’re not following God. We don’t have to feel sorry for them not understanding, instead we can pray that one day they will understand. We can pray one day they will make the same changes in their life for the same reasons we made the changes in ours. Fourth, healthy boundaries support healthy marriages (Eph. 4:2-3). We have to protect our marriages by spending time with our spouse, working on our relationship, putting it above all others except God. We have to say no to girls night out so we can say yes to date night in. And lastly, if we haven’t set clear boundaries with people in our lives, we can’t enforce them (Deut. 29:29 NIV). If you don’t tell people what your boundaries are, you can’t expect them to respect them. You have to communicate clearly what the line is that can’t be crossed, it’s the only way they will know not to cross it.
If we didn’t have challenging people in our lives, we wouldn’t learn how to set boundaries. When we learn how to set boundaries, we grow as individuals. We learn to communicate better. We begin to become more self aware as we understand what our needs are and how to set up appropriate boundaries. We learn to say no to people we need to say no too. Boundaries help us live healthier, fuller lives, as God intended (John 10:10 NIV).
Today I’m thankful for boundaries. What are you thankful for?