Morning Devotion: Setting Healthy Boundaries. God Sets Limits and Boundaries. Loving Ourselves Involves Setting Limits With People.
One of the areas of my life God has been infusing with wisdom the past years is boundaries. They are so vital. I learned people treat us the way we let them. What we tolerate continues. I learned people wanted me to be available to drop whatever was happening in my life for them with zero investment because I was too open, too helpful, overgave, over invested, and treated everyone like they were VIP. It appeared I did not value my time or resources so why should they? We must learn to demonstrate value for ourselves. It is not arrogance to value yourself. It is expected from God. Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.
I believe everyone is worthy of love, respect, dignity, and should be treated well. Everyone is not to have the same levels of access to us. Some people have general seating. Some have VIP. Some have no access at all. They are loved, they do not have access to the inner world, classified information, nor access to all my time.
I also learned kindness is telling people that their behavior is inappropriate. Some float through life destructive because they have never been corrected nor had any godly consequences.
My lack of wisdom nor strong boundaries caused numerous issues. The funny thing is, I had quite strong boundaries until I started doing ministry things. Then I was told to love, turn the other cheek, just keep being nice to Susie. Susie on the other hand was destructive, divisive, and creating strife in the church. Kindness was telling Susie, “We love you, God loves you. Your identity is not what you do. We would love to have you stay, yet this behavior is ungodly. What is going on in your heart that you behave this way? If you keep harassing people without repentance, we need you to leave.”
It is imperative that we:
1. Value ourselves the way God does.
2. Value the time and resources given by God and not waste them (everyone and everything is not our assignment-ask God for His assignments and to know when they are over/what the limits should be).
3. Address mistreatment when it occurs.
4. Set limits with people (no you may not call me at 2 am to download your problems, you may not pop in and out of my life and expect me to drop everything for you, no I am not your therapist, and no you may not treat me that way).
5. Assess who has and who should have access to us; what level of access is appropriate.
Access Level 1 (New Person/Toxic Behaving Person):
If it is someone we just met and do not know well, they do not need to know everything about us. People who gossip, are abusive, critical, or cruel also do not need to know everything. General information is appropriate. The amount of time we spend with them may be limited. The amount of info we share may be limited. They are on a need to know basis. In this level, we love the person without giving them full access to the house (our lives).
Access Level 2 (Associate):
This person has a bit more access. They may have more information and trust has been built over time. Associates are like branches on the tree. They do not hold much weight. They can break off and blow away like the wind.
Access Level 3 (Friend):
This person has demonstrated that they love, care, support, and want the best for you. Their actions are loving. They have more access to your time and life. This is a MUTUAL relationship. It is not one sided. Friends are invested on both sides. There is a level of trust on both sides. They have demonstrated with their actions, not just their words, that they are trustworthy and have your best interests at heart. These people can be stronger branches or like the trunk of a tree. They are helpful, supportive.
Access Level 4 (Close Friend/VIP):
This person you could trust with your life, deep inner world, and has more access to you. They are tried and true. They are fiercely loyal, supportive, truthful, loving, hopeful, and willing to sacrifice for you. Their actions are supportive of their words. You could leave your kids or bank account information with them, knowing no harm would come to you. I only have 2 of these people aside from my dad. These people are the roots of the tree. They may not be visible to everyone, yet they are to us. They are strong, supportive, reliable, not going anywhere.
We get into trouble when everyone is given the same access. My heart is just to LOVE people, for everyone to feel included. Yet love without wisdom is not God love. God loves us all; He still sets limits. I think one of the issues is the belief God just accepts anything from us so people should too. This is a lie!! The Old Testament gives us a great picture of what God requires. Jesus fulfilled the law. He did not abolish God’s requirements for access to Him nor His standard of holiness. Jesus gave us a new way, the only way to approach God and fulfill the requirements. Those who treat God loosely, without true respect and honor, will do the same to you. Those who believe God just accepts whatever they offer, will treat you the same way. Misunderstanding grace has produced some abusive people in churches.
Are we setting healthy boundaries? Are we tolerating unhealthy boundaries?
God expects us to love ourselves and set healthy boundaries. Boundaries are like a fence around our lives. People can see the beauty of our heart or lives, yet only invited guests are allowed inside. If they come inside to repeadily burn down the yard, they are escorted outside the fence. Their level of access changes.
May you and I not only love others, may we love ourselves.
Image: Sharon Martin Counseling
I will be on the radio this Saturday night July 28, 2018 with Pastor Mike Zachman out of Seattle, WA. You may tune in from wherever you are. Call in, we would love to chat with you and pray for you.
I will be in Columbus, Ohio next month and would love to connect with you. See the info below. The event is free, just seeking a headcount for refreshments. Go to Empowered & Free and click on Upcoming Events.