Boundaries. They can be hard to define and even harder to enforce, but they are critical to our health – spiritual, personal and relationships. The Bible is full of loving boundaries put in place by God for our personal good and to prepare and equip us to serve Jesus by loving others. For some reason, I decided today was a good day to look back and see where I was a year ago – what I was wresting with before God and asking Him to work out and clarify. Guess what we were dealing with? Boundaries!
I thought I’d share some specific boundaries the Lord has shown me are important to me functioning at my best for Him and for my family. They are simply truths He’s shown me protect me for the good of Him and others if I abide by them.
First and foremost, know this: God impressed on me that boundaries are to take care of myself for His use, not to control others.
Also, sometimes in the Christian world, taking care of self is frowned upon as selfish. And it can be, if self is placed on the throne of our hearts and made ruler of all! But there is a necessity to taking care of ourselves in order to have what we need to do what God has for us to do, including taking care of others. We can’t pour into others’ lives from an empty pitcher, so there’s a spiritual reality to recognizing and taking care of the responsibility we have to God and others to take care of ourselves.
So, here we go. I present them in first person because yours might be different, but feel free to steal mind and make them your own!
- Get adequate rest by backing out the ideal number of hours I need to sleep from the time I need to get up and determine my bedtime accordingly; go to bed at that time, even if it means not getting everything done.
- Make daily time with the Lord the highest (and if possible first) priority of the day; guard it with my life.
- Check motive before eating; eat when hungry or something really sounds good. If eating for mood alteration, consider another choice – Jesus, rest, water, movement, reading, etc.
- Go to the altar before altering my mood with other things.
- Have more faith in God than fear of the devil.
- Rest in God’s faithfulness to complete the work He started; strive for progress not perfection.
- Practice character.
- Make choices based on my convictions; know my convictions.
- Owe no one anything but a debt of love; measure love by God’s standards.
- Don’t make decisions based on popularity; make decisions based on pleasing God. Fear God not man.
- When a “No” to someone is a “Yes” to God, say “No!”
- Be a slave to Jesus, not people.
- Serve others from a place of acceptance in Christ not for their acceptance.
- Don’t be manipulated by others’ emotions; don’t react. Confront and speak truth.
- Establish trust before intimacy.
- Guard against sharing too much; reveal only what’s relevant.
- Love with personal boundaries that protect against abuse or taking advantage.
- Let others go, even to reach rock bottom, without shutting them out.
- Don’t rescue; tough love them for their own welfare.
- Don’t expect of others what hasn’t been explained to them.
- Be on the lookout for pride and expectations of others that lead to personal disappointment and bitterness.
This last year, God has clarified my purpose in Him:
Love Him most.
Love others better.
Live intentionally for Him.
Do what He says.
Believe Him bigger!
Will you join me?
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