Trusting Again

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“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV

According to John Townsend author of “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships,” there are two types of trust. There is functional trust that is an alignment between saying and doing.  There is no discrepancy between words and actions.  That is an essential type of trust.  There is also relational trust.  Relational trust is an indicator of how safe it is to trust another person with your vulnerabilities and feelings. Trust damage is very serious.  That is why God has instructed us to guard our hearts.  We are to value and take good care of our hearts.

There are also two types of boundaries, defining boundaries and relational boundaries. Our defining boundaries are forever and unchangeable. They are like our skin.  They are a reflection of who we are.  Our protective boundaries are more flexible.  They can change if the other person responds to the boundaries we set in a healthy way.  They are like the clothes we wear over our skin.*

So how do we know when we can adjust our boundaries and trust another?  Whether you are entering a new relationship or revisiting a relationship, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are YOU ready to trust again?
  • Has the other person demonstrated a desire to respect your boundaries?
  • Are you ready to begin the process of taking small risks, in a healthy way, with this person?

Father, help me remember who You made me to be by meditating on Your Word and embodying Your character. Let me not be swayed by others opinions or feelings when I firmly know where I belong.  Keep the lines of demarcation between myself and others clear so that I stand firm and confident.

Galatians 5:13-15, Romans 8:1-14, Galatians 5:16

For more information on managing boundaries, I highly recommend reading John Townsend’s book “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships.”

*Adapted from “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships” by John Townsend

Mature Love

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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:

  • Withdrawal
  • 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.

James 1:22-25, Matthew 5:37, Galatians 5:1, Proverbs 4:23

*Adapted from “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships” by John Townsend

Get Unstuck


“When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith.” Philippians 3:9 The Voice

Learning to set boundaries and getting rid of judgment and comparison is hard work. Setting boundaries is not casting judgment.  They are very different from each other.  Judgment is forming a critical opinion of self or others.  Setting a boundary is more about understanding and holding fast to what you know you need. It has less to do with others and more to do with valuing self.

The following bullet points are borrowed from Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries for the Teenager.” Here I am in my 50’s and still learning! We’re never too old to learn, right? It’s a journey. A process.

How to Move from Stuckness to Success

  • Determine what you want versus what others want from you
    • Write what you want to happen
  • Say “no” to the good and “yes” to the right
  • Have difficult conversations with people who are operating against you

It’s not always clear when someone is operating against you because it can be subtle.  You say “no” and they press for a “maybe.”  You give an inch and they take a mile.  You give a deadline and they can never seem to respect it.  It begins to erode your personal space in a way that sneaks up sometimes. Before you know it, it’s the situation of: what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours.  It becomes muddy and unclear where one person’s space begins and the other person’s space ends.  It can be messy and muddy and hard to unwind.

It all starts with the word “no.” It can feel uncomfortable at first. It doesn’t have to be angry or ill-tempered or loud.  It can be a simple “no” that will not work for me.  “No” that is not what I said. “No” that is not what I asked for. “No” I cannot do that.  It’s liberating to stake out your personal space and nurture it as God’s garden!  He will tell you when to say “yes” to the right thing.  His things. Okay, so let’s go reclaim our personal space and find our “no!”

Father, forgive me for minimizing You and Your design. I am so grateful for Your love! I am so grateful that You have my hand. Do not let me forget.  Help me trust You more.

Joshua 24:15, Matthew 5:37, Ephesians 3:10-11

Border Patrol

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“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV

When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan they fought two battles before they entered the Promised Land.  After they entered the Promised Land, they fought 39 battles.* They could not afford disruption or idleness.  They had to act in one accord submitted to their leadership.  They had to be fit and battle ready. Standards were set by God and followed to the letter. There were harsh consequences for the disobedient.

Boundaries are standards that we set in our lives. They are like a no trespassing line to be respected.  They protect us from standards that do not match our own. God does not enable irresponsible behavior.  Consequences give some good “barbs” to our boundary fences.** They let people know the seriousness of the trespass and the seriousness of the standards. Consequences teach others that our commitment to living according to our values is something we hold dear and will guard and fight to protect.

Jesus told us that in Him we can have peace.  In this world we will have trouble.  He has already won the victory but there are still battles to be fought.  When we hold true to our standards, we are standing firm in the territory that God has allotted for us. When we honor the boundaries of others, it is a way of showing respect for the territory God has placed in their care.

Father, thank you for Your standards. Help us learn to live peaceably with one another in respect and love.

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, John 16:33, Joshua 1:16, 14:11-12

*Prime Time with God devotional, “Being an Overcomer,” 07/26/14

**Bible Gateway, Boundaries devotional, “Back Up Your Boundaries,” 07/25/14

Trusting Again

Embed from Getty Images“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV

According to John Townsend author of “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships,” there are two types of trust. There is functional trust that is an alignment between saying and doing.  There is no discrepancy between words and actions.  That is an essential type of trust.  There is also relational trust.  Relational trust is an indicator of how safe it is to trust another person with your vulnerabilities and feelings. Trust damage is very serious.  That is why God has instructed us to guard our hearts.  We are to value and take good care of our hearts.

There are also two types of boundaries, defining boundaries and relational boundaries. Our defining boundaries are forever and unchangeable. They are like our skin.  They are a reflection of who we are.  Our protective boundaries are more flexible.  They can change if the other person responds to the boundaries we set in a healthy way.  They are like the clothes we wear over our skin.*

So how do we know when we can adjust our boundaries and trust another?  Whether you are entering a new relationship or revisiting a relationship, ask yourself these three questions:

• Are YOU ready to trust again?
• Has the other person demonstrated respect for your boundaries?
• Are you ready to begin the process of taking small risks, in a healthy way, with this person?

Father, help me remember who You made me to be by meditating on Your Word and embodying Your character. Let me not be swayed by others opinions or feelings when I firmly know where I belong.  Keep the lines of demarcation between myself and others clear so that I stand firm and confident.

Galatians 5:13-15, Romans 8:1-14, Galatians 5:16

For more information on managing boundaries, I highly recommend John Townsend’s book “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships.”

*Adapted from “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships” by John Townsend

Mature Love

Embed from Getty Images“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:

  • Withdrawal
  • 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.

James 1:22-25, Matthew 5:37, Galatians 5:1, Proverbs 4:23

*Adapted from “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships” by John Townsend

Get Unstuck


“When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith.” Philippians 3:9 The Voice

Learning to set boundaries and getting rid of judgment and comparison is hard work. Setting boundaries is not casting judgment.  They are very different from each other.  Judgment is forming a critical opinion of self or others.  Setting a boundary is more about understanding and holding fast to what you know you need. It has less to do with others and more to do with valuing self.

The following bullet points are borrowed from Dr. Henry Cloud’s “Boundaries for the Teenager.” Here I am in my 50’s and still learning! We’re never too old to learn, right? It’s a journey. A process.

How to Move from Stuckness to Success

  • Determine what you want versus what others want from you
    • Write what you want to happen
  • Say “no” to the good and “yes” to the right
  • Have difficult conversations with people who are operating against you

It’s not always clear when someone is operating against you because it can be subtle.  You say “no” and they press for a “maybe.”  You give an inch and they take a mile.  You give a deadline and they can never seem to respect it.  It begins to erode your personal space in a way that sneaks up sometimes. Before you know it, the situation is: what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours.  It becomes muddy and unclear where one person’s space begins and the other person’s space ends.  It can be messy and muddy and hard to unwind.

It all starts with the word “no.” It can feel uncomfortable at first. It doesn’t have to be angry or ill-tempered or loud.  It can be a simple “no” that will not work for me.  “No” that is not what I said. “No” that is not what I asked for. “No” I cannot do that.  It’s liberating to stake out your personal space and nurture it as God’s garden!  He will tell you when to say “yes” to the right thing.  His things. Okay, so let’s go reclaim our personal space and find our “no!”

Father, forgive me for minimizing You and Your design. I am so grateful for Your love! I am so grateful that You have my hand. Do not let me forget.  Help me trust You more.

Joshua 24:15, Matthew 5:37, Ephesians 3:10-11

Border Patrol

Embed from Getty Images“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV

When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan they fought two battles before they entered the Promised Land.  After they entered the Promised Land, they fought 39 battles.* They could not afford disruption or idleness.  They had to act in one accord submitted to their leadership.  They had to be fit and battle ready. Standards were set by God and followed to the letter. There were harsh consequences for the disobedient.

Boundaries are standards that we set in our lives. They are like a no trespassing line to be respected.  They protect us from standards that do not match our own. God does not enable irresponsible behavior.  Consequences give some good “barbs” to our boundary fences.** They let people know the seriousness of the trespass and the seriousness of the standards. Consequences teach others that our commitment to living according to our values is something we hold dear and will guard and fight to protect.

Jesus told us that in Him we can have peace.  In this world we will have trouble.  He has already won the victory but there are still battles to be fought.  When we hold true to our standards, we are standing firm in the territory that God has allotted for us. When we honor the boundaries of others, it is a way of showing respect for the territory God has placed in their care.

Father, thank you for Your standards. Help us learn to live peaceably with one another in respect and love.

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, John 16:33, Joshua 1:16, 14:11-12

*Prime Time with God: Being an Overcomer, 07/26/14

**Boundaries: Back Up Your Boundaries, 07/25/14