Welcome… Welcome back to the table! My table is covered with a beautiful rich wine-colored table cloth with a white sheer square in the middle. I have Autumn battery operated candles in the center and plenty of room for all! Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea or maybe even some hot cider and let’s chat.
Father in Heaven, may we learn a valuable lesson about protecting ourselves from negative influence, so that we can better serve You. There is the abundant life You want us to have so we ask for Your guidance here in seeing one key to having that life. In Jesus name, Amen.
Have you ever needed to set boundaries with certain people but it felt sort of… mean to do that? Like somehow you were telling them they couldn’t sit at the cool kid lunch table? I have struggled with this so much in my life. To the point of physical ailment! I would have literal physical symptoms like elevated blood pressure, upset stomach, headaches, anxiety, dread, sleeplessness… real issues.
I knew it was right to place boundaries in situations that were outside of my circle. Circle of family, friends, church… people who I didn’t necessarily “do life” with. That was a little easier. But what about setting boundaries within that circle?
2 Timothy 3:2 – 5 says “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness but denying it’s power, avoid such people.” (ESV)
We can see in these verses that boundaries are endorsed by God. I have had people who meet these qualifications and I’ve had to set some pretty firm boundaries. I realized that often times boundaries aren’t to keep someone else out as much as it is to help keep us held together.
If we are constantly drained from being run rough-shod over by so called friends, family, or even other people that we care about, then we will be ineffective in being a help to anyone. Our moods change and we are mentally and physically exhausted. Our health begins to take a toll and we simply are left with an empty cup.
Imagine your flowers or house plants being dried out and in much need of watering. You wouldn’t expect to pick up your water can or jug and take it over to your plants and pour out water without first filling the vessel, right? It simply doesn’t make sense. We can’t get water, AKA, nourishment, from an empty cup. Why do we then think we can continually nourish others when we are not being filled up?
If other plants were in addition, taking nourishment from healthy plants, thus leaving them depleted, wouldn’t you eliminate the life sucking plant or at least move it away from the healthy plant? This is setting boundaries. Not allowing life sucking behavior to deplete healthy lives. We are doing Christ-like behavior when we set boundaries so as not to cause unneeded stress on a healthy life that is being nourishing to others. I’ve had to re-evaluate what I think God is asking of me in my ministry and how my relationships are affecting that ministry. Also, how those relationships are affecting my health and life.
I’ve also learned that setting boundaries allows for relationships to remain in tact but with some new placements. We don’t necessarily have to cut someone out of our lives to set up boundaries. It’s a matter of a type of parking meter. We have so much time we’ve allowed for this relationship and when that time is up, we need to pull away from the curb, but you still drove there and parked for a time. This keeps the relationship in tact at a healthy and doable level.
Now please understand that this post is not referring to abusive and dangerous relationships. Those need to be addressed in an entirely different manner. Please seek help and get to a safe place if that is the case. I am only addressing unhealthy relationships that are more taking then giving. I am not a councilor or therapist. I just have some experience dealing with these types of relationships.
The above passage of scripture tells us to flat out avoid such toxic or unhealthy people. We want to be loving and Christ-like when dealing with difficult folks but it’s not unkind to protect yourself against such toxicity. Jesus made conscious choices to deny people who were demanding and forceful about the way things were going to be. He knew that doing His Fathers will was far more important then giving in to, well… tantrums. If someone is demanding more of us then we are able to give, then that person is only seeking their own agenda. If someone is making themselves more elevated then you, then they are displaying self-seeking ideas as well. If someone attempts to thwart your plans to suit their own feelings, then they do not have any interest in your well-being.
These are all reasons to set healthy boundaries. We can show love from the edge of these boundaries. It is in love that we set them. Love for Jesus, love for ourselves, and yes… even love for the person you need to set boundaries with. This tells them that they still hold value in your life because if they didn’t, you could just cut them off all together. We just have limits to how much access they have so we don’t end up getting frazzled or frustrated. We can hold on to joy and peacefulness. I have seen this to be true in my life now. But I’m still on the journey of boundaries.
Next week I’ll share my method of what setting boundaries actually looks like in a tangible way. I’ve come up with something that works for me and I hope it’s helpful to you as well. Blessings my dear valued readers and if your coffee or tea is gone, feel free to geta refill!
See ya next week!