“Sounds like you need to set some boundaries in your life, Dana.”
Those were the words that came out of my friend’s mouth. I knew what each word individually in the sentence meant but I had no clue what the words TOGETHER and in that order meant.
So many emotions arose— fear, skepticism, guilt, anxiety—as a result of this recommendation. But deep down I knew that I trusted this person. I had spent years sharing with her my feelings and my challenges. If she had concluded that I needed boundaries as a result of all the things she knew about me, then maybe it was worth looking into.
This book, “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, and How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” (Click picture below to purchase) by Henry Cloud and John Townshend, was literally one of my best book purchases (and trust me I have a huge collection of books). I could go on and on about this book but I’ll get emotional typing— so I will just say that ultimately I took away three major points from this book.
1. Boundaries are necessary
2. Boundaries are biblical
3. I CAN successfully set boundaries in my own life
After reading the book and reflecting on my life/life decisions, I realized that by NOT setting boundaries in my life, I had been bound. Well, maybe not been bound but FELT bound. The best way I can describe this feeling is that I always felt “stuck”. I felt like I had no choice but to agree with others, fulfill requests by others, make certain decisions, act a certain way, do certain things, look a certain way….. The list goes on and on. But the truth is I am free— I’ve always been free. The Bible says that “who the Son sets free, is free indeed” (John 8:36). I had spent my whole life NOT truly taking advantage of this freedom. How could I (a born again Christian) still be feeling stuck—still be feeling bound?
I’ll tell you how—by not setting appropriate boundaries. A huge point for me to grasp in this setting boundaries journey has been to understand that being a Christian does not mean “give, give, give until there’s nothing left”. It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup. Setting boundaries is biblical.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 took on a new meaning when I put it in the context of setting boundaries. It reads “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
Wow. Just wow. So ultimately, we need to take care of ourselves (be comforted) so that we can even have the capacity to take care of others. This was a game changer for me and was the driving force for be becoming “unbound”.
I pray that if you’ve ever struggled with setting boundaries, prioritizing self care, or pouring from an “empty cup” that you too can find strength and revelation though scripture. Setting boundaries is biblical and it can change your life. Trust me, I’m a living witness.
“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” —Romans 7:6