I have issues creating healthy boundaries.
My Nana said it’s been like that most of my life. Some of it may stem from insecurity and needing to have approval or feel included. I see this as an issue for me at this stage of life! Asking, “WWJD?” tends to send me to a place of zero boundaries because Jesus loves EVERYONE. And until I did a little research, I thought that meant for me to be like Christ, I would have to accommodate every single interruption from people who need me. Not true. I found some very helpful commentary and scriptures that are becoming the foundation for goals for my self. I also consulted Nana, who had some seriously wise insight. I love that woman!
I recently went to Shine Retreat 2018. Oh, the things I learned! Watch for an upcoming blog about my experiences there and what I learned about healthy boundaries.
I will probably break these scriptures and points down a little more at a later date. Until then, here’s the big stuff:
JESUS HAD BOUNDARIES!
Jesus Accepted His Personal Limits (Part of His Incarnation)
- Meeting His Personal Needs. He ate healthy, got plenty of sleep and He even took naps, made time to relax, and got a ton of steps in (Matt 26:18, 20; Mark 1:16, 3:23, 4:38; Luke 7:36; John 10:40, 12:2). I am just not sure I do any of this at a healthy level.
- Receiving Support from Friends. He asked for time with friends (Matt 26:36-38). That’s hard for me to do because I know everyone is busy. And if I ask, that’s putting the other person on the spot. What if they don’t want to spend time with me? Here’s what I’m learning: They will want to spend time together if I am also THEIR friend. One way friendships aren’t inviting.
- Enjoying Solitude. He became a temporary hermit – going alone to do things or with small groups of friends. I am always worried someone might feel excluded. Therefore, I find myself throwing HUGE gatherings or none at all. But, I am learning it’s not exclusion. It is actually wisdom to shrink a group to get to know someone on a more intimate level.
- Enjoying the Moment (This person, this place, this time). He left one place to go to a different place – this is key for me – Even JESUS couldn’t be in two places at the same time (Mark 1:38).
- Unhurried Pace of Life. He didn’t rush around or over schedule himself until the time came for Him to be in Jerusalem and embrace the cross built for Him to bear (John 11:6; Mark 10:32). Yeah, there’s not any way I can address this in my current state of being or mind. I am always in a rush.
- Abandoning Outcomes to God. Jesus faced fear but was not paralyzed with fear of the cross. Everyone wanted Him dead, it seemed. Satan and his demons, and humans were devoted to taking His life. He asked for that cup to pass. But, ultimately, let go. He chose to trust God’s will. He abandoned the outcomes to the Father. This was Eternity – and I have trouble trusting him with what people think of me! (Mark 14:32-42)
Jesus Said No to Inappropriate Behavior
- Demands. He withdrew from the crowds who wanted His attention and opted for one-on-one time with the Father. I am almost afraid to even try this for fear of hurting friends (Luke 5:15-16).
- Abuse. He fought his way through the crowd that was trying to throw him off a cliff for claiming to be the Messiah. I don’t stand up tall enough for this to be a problem for me! I wonder if I am living a life that stands against inappropriate behavior (Luke 4:28-30).
- Entitlement. He didn’t give in to his mother and brothers who tried to use their relationship with him to pull him away from the crowd he was ministering to. I’ve been pulled away from being in action – whether by employers or family or friends. I’ve allowed what others thought they were entitled to obtain from me to prevent me from action or pursuit of dreams (Matthew 12:46-50).
- Baiting Questions. When the religious leaders asked him baiting questions to make him look foolish he answered with incisive questions of his own. At this time in politics and global issues, this is one area I am very cautious. WWJD? I need to be way better at not being baited (Matthew 21:23-27, 22:15-22).
- Cynicism. He said no to Herod’s mocking demand, “Show us a sign that you are the Son of God.” Have you been placed on this kind of proving ground? “You can’t prove you’re a Christian. Look at your life.” Don’t cross that boundary! It’s a tough one to un-cross (Luke 23:8-9).
- Manipulation. He said no to Peter and the disciples who had an inappropriate agenda for Jesus to become a political king or military warrior rather than a sacrificial lamb. Using gifts to jockey a position in the church or among humans is really manipulative. Attempting to cause someone else to pick up your offense is dangerous. Falling prey to people in your own circle or causing division must be avoided at all cost. This is a very good boundary for us to create(Matthew 16:23).
- Pride. He didn’t heal those who were too proud to trust Him. This one is a deep one for me. Where am I prideful? I ask the Lord to show me that from time to time. Each time it’s a little deeper. I am so thankful He is so full of mercy (Matthew 13:58).
Jesus Spoke the Truth in Love to those Stuck or Wrong
- Exploitation. He used a whip to clear out the temple of the vendors and money changers who were taking advantage of the poor and turning God’s house into a marketplace. Sometimes love looked like a whip! Speaking the truth in love is easy. HEARING truth in love while in the tough place is not so easy for me (Matthew 21:12-17, John 2:12-16).
- Addiction. He told the Rich Young Ruler that he couldn’t help him until he gave away the money that was controlling him. No matter what is holding me (social media, work, attention, acceptance), I have to put it down (Matthew 19:16-21).
Jesus Had Expectations for People in Need
- What do you want? Two blind men called out to him for help from the Jericho road. He asked them, “What do you want me to do for you?” They needed to ask for what they needed and they needed to trust Him (Matthew 20:29-34).
- Do you want to get well? For 38 years the invalid at the Sheep gate pool hadn’t been able to get into the miracle waters. He felt helpless and sorry for himself. He expected someone to fix his problem. Jesus challenged him, “Do you want to get well?… Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” It was up to him to be motivated and to take responsibility for himself (John 5:1-14).
- Do you believe? A father sought deliverance for his son who was mute and had seizures and said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus put it back on the father, “`If you can’? Everything is possible for him who believes.” The father needed to believe that Jesus could cure his son (Mark 9:17-27).
Jesus Offered Grace and Truth According to the Need (John 8:1-11)
- The humble and broken. To the woman caught in adultery, he offered grace (“Neither do I condemn you.”) and truth (“Go and sin no more.”).
- The proud and self-righteous. To the Pharisees who tried to condemn this woman and to trap Jesus he listened (grace) and then confronted their pride and scapegoating with the truth (“Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”)
Jesus Taught us Examples of how to be Setting Boundaries
- Personal Prayer Time: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6). When I am praying corporately, I think about how to word things. People are listening. When we are praying privately, I am able to shut my mouth and open my ears.
- Be Honest and Direct (Don’t Pressure People or Try to Get Them to Do Things): “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).
- Set Priorities: “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13).
- Please God, Not People: “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).
- Obey God: “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “’The first,’ they answered” (Matthew 21:28-31).
Pretty good stuff, right? I’d love to hear from you. Do you have healthy boundaries? Are you struggling with boundaries? Whether we set them or honor them, boundaries are increasingly important.
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