Today begins a weeklong series on Boundaries.
Before we jump in, let’s take a minute and define boundaries and then we can talk about how to apply this to life and relationships.
Psychologically speaking, a boundary is like a property line. It denotes the beginning and end of something. A boundary takes on spatial, behavioral, verbal and personal space characteristics as it pertains to relationships.
These types of boundaries are intangible but take shape in the form of beliefs, perceptions, convictions, and understandings.
Boundaries are not an excuse to live behind an impenetrable wall like a hermit in order to avoid being hurt in relationship.
Boundaries are not designed to keep people isolated and alone or to be used in retaliation to intentionally hurt another person.
When personal boundaries are established and enforced in a healthy manner, they help to facilitate mutual respect and trust while creating a sense of “other-ness” within the relationship.
Boundaries that are too loose lead to being walked on like a door mat and boundaries that are too strict leave you secluded, unreachable and alone.
In typical boundary violations, it is commonly the offender who denies, justifies or blames others for the boundary crossing. These violations can range from trivial to severe and over time can be debilitating and destructive to the relationship.
I’m sure we all have many examples of times when someone close to us violated, disrespected or ignored our personal boundaries.
Here are just a few examples.
• Interrupting someone after they ask you not to
• Willfully intruding on someone’s privacy without permission
• Telling others personal information that someone asked you to keep private
• Spending significant money without consulting your partner
• “Forgetting” your partner’s request that you call if you’ll be working late
I recently had a conversation with a friend who said she has a hard time with boundaries. Not the concept of boundaries so much, but the implementation of them.
My friend is relational to the core and a people pleaser. She has lived most of her life being manipulated and managed by people who have taken advantage of her.
In her mind enforcing her personal boundaries felt offensive to who she is as a “people person”.
So this begs the question, can I be a “Christian” and have boundaries?
In a word, YES.
Psalm 16 is reflective of a life lived within the boundary lines that were established by God for a holy life. David sings about living within the boundaries assigned by the Lord and the rest and peace that come with staying within those boundaries.
When we live and operate within the boundary lines with God and others we are able to rest secure knowing that we are responding to one another in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and is appropriate and respectful for the individuals involved.
I hope you will stop by the couch this week, as we will be talking about boundaries as it relates to kids, social media, online interactions, parent/child relationships, marriage and all the spaces in between.
How have you experienced your boundaries being violated and how did you feel when it happened?
Grace & Peace ~ Karen