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Establishing Boundaries

Everyone wants to hear the word “yes.” When we ask someone to do us a favor, spend time with us, or ask an important question, we wait and anticipate the word “yes.” Yes means love, hope, a fresh start, a new beginning, a future plan, and a step forward.

In fact, some people are so terrified of the word “no” they avoid it altogether. They fill their lives with obligations, burdens, and a long list of people they are terrified to disappoint. They sacrifice their peace in the name of selflessness as they walk about their day resentful and weighed down by the promises they willingly made to things they knew they couldn’t guarantee. And it’s an easy cycle of life to fall into – most people do it without even thinking about it and only notice it when they realize their lives are exhausting and overfilling with all the tasks they don’t have the time to complete.

It is within the business of boundaries that the word “no” serves its ultimate purpose for good. The word “no” becomes a statement of grace and love rather than one of distance and anger. In sticking by our decision to do what’s best for ourselves, it actually opens up the ability for us to do more for others with an authentic spirit that wishes nothing but the best for those around us.

Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

When we neglect to form strong boundaries, we leave our hearts unguarded and allow the bitterness of pain and exhaustion to sour our good deeds. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they realize that they have overcommitted and face the realization that they cannot possibly do it all. This is a moment of great strength and grace as we begin to finally understand where our lives stop and someone else’s life begins. We realize that the only way that we can truly help anyone else around us is first to help ourselves.

At first, setting boundaries is scary. Terrifying even. It is frightening to think that we can’t be there for someone we love, serve someone we care about, or provide something we promised to someone in need. And what makes it worse is that the people around us won’t be too happy about it either. Setting boundaries is upsetting not only for the person doing it but for all the people surrounding you. However, it is after you set those boundaries and finally discover what it’s like to live in peace that the people who truly care for you will continue to support and encourage you. Setting boundaries gives us the ability to be better parents, children, siblings, and even better followers of God. Jesus exemplifies healthy boundary setting throughout Scripture, in these instances we can look up to how he gracefully and lovingly gave himself the space to protect his heart.

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