Encouragement, Health, Self Awareness

From Bound to Boundaries: Is Setting Boundaries Biblical?

“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.

ME?
SET?
BOUNDARIES?

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.

So what did I do? I went out——and in true Dana fashion, bought a book called Boundaries”.

copy of i found my church home on

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.

comparison 2

 

“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

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15 thoughts on “From Bound to Boundaries: Is Setting Boundaries Biblical?”

  1. AMEN. This book has helped to change my life, too. I have read it twice (and will probably read it again at some point) as I learn to set appropriate boundaries in my life. I agree with you that we have to take care of ourselves first in order to help others, but I do believe that part of that self-care HAS to be time in the Word. If we’re not allowing God to pour into us, there’s nothing of value for us to pour out. God bless you and keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah. A point I always saw towards this was that Jesus took time away from his ministry to go and spend time with the Father in quiet places. And he asked his disciples to stay awake with him the night before his crucifixion (another form of self care…asking for help). Of course, we can’t deny that that was right before the biggest act of sacrifice ever given…and that that sacrifice was given even after he failed to get the care he wanted. But we also look at his life and see this pattern of self-sacrifice followed by self care or letting others care for him (Another example is how he fasted in the wilderness and then was ministered to by angles, and how he didn’t stop Mary Magdalene from anointing his feet). So we see in these examples Biblical self care, as exampled by Jesus, includes accepting help from others when freely offered, asking help from others in our times of need, and planning out quiet moments where we take a break from service and ministry to be refreshed in God’s presence. And God thought times of rest were so important that he took them himself after creation and built mandatory rest into the 10 commandments he gave his chosen people.

    Liked by 1 person

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