So, you wonder, if you used to live in abuse and domestic violence, how did you get out Ms. D? Funny you should ask. I recently came across a book/teaching/bible study that was planted in me about 10 years ago. This particular way of looking at things helped me learn how to build healthy boundaries and have healthy relationships. I didn’t know what healthy looked like. I did not have any boundaries – I said yes to everything and everyone. And I got buried. This series will focus on the book:
What Does a Boundary Look Like?
In the physical world, boundaries are easy to see. Fences, signs, walls, moats with alligators, manicured lawns, or hedges are all physical boundaries. In their differing appearances, they give the same message: THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS. The owner of the property is legally responsible for what happens on his or her property. Non-owners are not responsible for the property. And if it’s not yours – leave it alone.
In the Spiritual world, boundaries are just as real, but often harder to see. The goal of this lesson is to help you determine your intangible boundaries and to recognize them as an ever-present reality that can increase your love and save your life. In reality, these boundaries define your soul, and they help you guard it and maintain it.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NIV)
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.:” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Me and Not Me
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.
Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. If I know where my yard begins and ends, I am free to do with it what I like. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. However, if I do not “own” my life, my choices and options become very limited.
Think how confusing it would be if someone told you to “guard this property diligently, because I will hold you responsible for what happens here,” and then did not tell you the boundaries of the property. Or they did not give you the means with which to protect the property? This would be not only confusing but also potentially dangerous.
This is exactly what happens to us emotionally and spiritually, however. God designed a world where we all live “within” ourselves; that is, we inhabit our own souls, and we are responsible for the things that make up “us”.
The Bible tells us clearly what our parameters are and how to protect them, but often our family, or other past relationships, confuses us about our parameters. For example, if you were raised in a home where you were always berated and put-down, you many not have any boundaries; you might not be able to say no to anything. Or, you just have walls — to make sure no one is coming in.
In addition to showing us what we are responsible for, boundaries help us to define what is not on our property and what we are not responsible for. We are not, for example, responsible for other people. We are not responsible for what others do or don’t do with their things either. Nowhere are we commanded to have “other-control”; although we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get it!
TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR Part 2 – “To and For” and “Good In, Bad Out”