Boundaries, An Ugly Word

This week has been one of setting boundaries. I’ve had friends overstep my comfort zone into the place where I am wounded, I’ve had my hubby overstep the same. Here’s the thing, I’ve never really had any boundaries before. I feel like, growing up, there were no boundaries in my home and I still feel that way, so I didn’t know what they were. Does someone get to sit near me in church during the sermon and rock back and forth, on purpose, and distract me, my kids, and others from learning and growing? Should I just be okay with it and let is go because they think it’s “who they are”? Or, do I get to draw boundaries?

In Matthew it talks about how we go to a brother that isn’t following a standard of love, or sinning, that is a part of their “church group”. It talks about going to someone one on one to be iron sharpening iron. If the person doesn’t hear the one, it says to go two to three on one. If that doesn’t work, then we bring them before the church and if they still are not willing to repent and grow from it, they were to be removed for a period of time so they wouldn’t infect the whole. At least that’s the way I understand we are supposed to take someone’s sin to them and pray and hope for growth and discernment. That sounds like boundaries to me. And if that is the boundaries, I have to seek help from my church next, because we have done the other steps multiple times. Or, I can always choose to throw away the friendship and look the other way too, right? I find myself in a conflict of desire even as I type this because I deeply love my friend but we think she may need some outside help and she hasn’t followed through on it so I want to help but it seems I can’t help.

So what do boundaries look like? Are they selfish? I’m working on this selfish question with God right now, I don’t want to be selfish to others. There are times when things others do effect me and my health. I don’t know why it affects my health, really, I think when things happen that take me back to a dark place, my body reacts. Because of that I am learning to set boundaries, only mine. I know I am a wounded woman, gratefully being healed more each day by my Dad, but wounded just the same. I know I react to some things differently than others do, and I am learning to be okay with that. Not being okay with it is what brings about the turmoil, so I have decided that boundaries with family, friends, and especially new people that come into my life is a good thing. I want to stay healthy and offer what God has in me to help heal others, but staying in some relationships is hazardous to that plan. We are starting a new Community Group here at our home, Hubby and I are leading with another mature Christian couple.  I love it, it is teaching me boundaries! I have fought against being a follower most of my life, I am made to be a leader and I wanted that instantly. That leader in me needs to be trained by even better leaders how to lead well for the Kingdom. Now I know more about Jesus and I’ve learned a thing or two, and sharing the floor with others is very important and healing. In the group, we have boundaries already set up, we have written the boundaries of the group out so that all who come can share in what God is doing and not steal the show for attention. It’s a group that I would have failed miserably at prior to the past year or so! I still don’t love sharing the floor so I talk quite a bit at times, but I am in training and God isn’t finished with me yet.

I think the biggest thing with boundaries for me right now is that I don’t want to be self-righteous in the way I set it. I don’t want the way I handle setting mine to be offensive to others, but I am realizing more and more that people DO NOT like the word NO. I really do get it. I used to be unwilling to hear that ugly word because somehow it led to someone not choosing me. When in fact, it was just not on their agenda for me to have what I wanted right then. One of the first boundaries I set in my life was for MLM companies, I was a Mary Kay Sales Director at one point and frankly none measure up. I get asked, a lot, to look at the latest MLM out there by people I really love. I typically will sugarcoat things to not hurt their feelings, but they sometimes won’t stop. What do I do then? I’m learning the only option is to be honest in love about my own desires in life not aligning with the ones they are offering, so no thank you, but I love you. Some, in my past, keep on and then, I have to choose to not be around them anymore. Losing people over things like that is really hard for me, but I’m finding that once we can’t look at what we have in common and the only focus is on one person’s need getting met, its time. I’m not sure how I’ve gotten here because I used to be the one offending others and not hearing NO, so I pray I love well as I walk away.

I pray I always take responsibility for my part in a friendship ending. I am sure, at times, I will fail at it, but I will diligently seek to know how to do things better next time so that I can honor God and His choice to bring anyone into my life.

One verse sums up my need to create safe boundaries for myself and it is this…

I want beauty and the light of God to flow from my heart, so I will protect it with a low gate that God has angels keeping watch over.

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