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“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” Isaiah 51:1 NKJV
The goal of boundaries is maturity. It is the ability to love successfully and work successfully the way God does. We can’t really love well until we have boundaries. Without them we love out of compliance or guilt.
The goal is to have a boundary structure that can set limits on self and others at appropriate times. Healthy boundaries protect and heal people from further damage. For example, when trust has been broken with another person. A break in trust in a relationship is when you no longer experience or believe the other person will always fundamentally be there for you, and you doubt they are who they say they are. You cannot safely get close to someone who isn’t safe with relational trust.*
A break in relational trust goes beyond Proverbs 19:11 and requires that boundaries be set. Symptoms that relational trust has been broken include:
- Movement to task (it is safer to “do” than to “connect”)
- Unbalanced “giver” relationships – more giving than receiving; out of balance
- Bad habits
There are two types of boundaries: defining boundaries and protective boundaries. Defining boundaries are values that establish who you are and who you are not. They are a reflection of what you value and believe is important. Protective boundaries are designed to guard your heart. They protect your life from danger and trouble. There are times that you have to protect your values, emotions, gifts, time and energy from people and situations that may waste or injure them.*
Boundaries create a space between you and someone in your life. We set our boundaries against hurtful or dangerous behavior and let them determine their own direction. Boundaries bring clarity. They protect you. They produce change.
Father, thank you for teaching me to set boundaries. Thank you for growing and maturing my faith and my love. May I always keep my eyes on You and not hold on too tightly to others.
*Adapted from “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships” by John Townsend