- Out of Phase #1 – Being a Servant
- Out of Phase #2 – Boundaries
- Out of Phase #3 – Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #4 – Rules
- Out of Phase #5 – Emotions
- Out of Phase #6 – Work
- Out of Phase #7 – Christian Quips
- Out of Phase #8 – Reasons & Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #9 – Religion
- Out of Phase #10 – Enough
- Out of Phase #11 – Retreat
- Out of Phase #12 – Healthy Relationships
- Out of Phase #13 – Words
- Out of Phase #14 – Depth and Breadth – Impact
Boundaries are another area of my life where I have experienced being a couple degrees out of phase. This has happened in a few different ways.
The struggle with having healthy boundaries is just that, having “healthy” boundaries. Boundaries are something we all need. Often we can easily succumb to the idea that real freedom is found outside the boundaries. However, what is found outside of healthy boundaries is not freedom at all, but chaos. Once we learn this it is so easy to retreat well within the range of our boundaries that we refuse to allow ourselves to enjoy all the freedom living life in the boundaries offers.
This freedom affords us many things, including fullness of life, purpose, rest, and peace. All of these amazing benefits of living within the boundaries can easily be compromised, however, with a few small shifts of our focus. So, I wanted to share three things that have helped me live with more healthy boundaries.
- We do not serve boundaries.
God’s boundaries are there to teach us about Him, His character, His grace, love, and desires for us as His followers. I have seen in my own life times when my focus shifted just slightly to begin to “serve the rules” and miss God in the process. When our focus is on the rules (boundaries) our thoughts are more consumed by how well or poorly we keep them rather than on how closely we are following God and loving as He loved. I have learned that the more in tune I am with His Word and His Spirit’s nudging, the more effectively I live within the context of healthy boundaries.I have personally experience so much grace from God in this.
There was a time when I needed to establish some difficult boundaries in certain relationships. As is often the case, these were not received well and the relationships quickly dissolved. The personal hurt combined with the unhealthy response from those with whom the boundaries were necessary quickly gave bitterness a foothold; one which, over the course of time, transformed my otherwise healthy boundaries into idols. Looking back, I can see that there is not much that needs to happen to cause us to begin to serve the boundaries rather than observing them.
- Boundaries are not restrictions.
Often boundaries can seem restrictive because of what we lose rather than what we gain – especially when it is the loss of a relationship. However, when the relationship is unhealthy, it can also foster idolatry as we seek to serve (please) the person to the point we order our life and actions around their desire for our life rather that the desires God has for us.
- Boundaries help us serve more effectively. Let’s face it— there are needs everywhere we turn, but not every need is ours to meet. A compassionate heart without boundaries soon becomes a doormat. For those who have the gift of compassion saying “no” feels so wrong. But, realistically, boundaries do not give us an excuse to say “no” as much as they do the freedom and ability to say “yes” to the purpose for which we were made. And, saying “yes” to our purpose is what best feeds our soul and serves God’s purpose.
- We do not serve boundaries.
There are so many other benefits to healthy boundaries, but these are simply three I have experienced personally. If there is another way you have experienced the fullness of life through healthy boundaries be sure to share them in the comments below!
Up next: Out of phase in Our Responsibilities