Boundaries for ourselves. What exactly does that look like?

A boundary is only as good as the REACTION you set up. Like saying I won’t tolerate something, but when they break the boundary………..what is your reaction?

 That consequence we give is what often gets us into God’s territory of dishing out consequences, and that tells our spouse they need to be sorry to us because we are dishing out the discipline instead of letting God instill natural consequences to their choices and sins which will then turn their hearts and make them hate their sins.

When I put up certain boundaries for myself, it was more about my belief and how I would stop myself from falling for the lies, but most importantly, when I caught him in a lie, my boundaries also included praying for God to convict him instead of letting my pride confront.  

Many times our boundaries are disguised behind the lie that we are doing it for ourselves, when in fact, we are doing it to bring retribution for how we are being treated. Boundaries should HELP BOTH of you by displaying the nature and character of God. And that includes some form of pushback on pride, walking in love and humility, trust, and WISDOM. Your boundaries should bring you closer to God, leaning and trusting Him more, less on you………..and should be about strengthening both your personal, intimate relationships with the Lord above all.

(Note, this message is not for anyone in ANY form of abuse as these boundaries do not pertain to anyone who is in harm’s way)

My consequences when they were led out of the wrong heart motives only taught my husband to be sorry to ME, not God. They also taught him how to be better at sneaking around. My boundaries were more for my marriage and had nothing to do with my spouse wanting to please his Father! Which is why it’s best to really examine our boundaries.

If a person lies to you and your boundary says, “I have zero tolerance to be lied to.”  That boundary can provide you with two very different options.

Does your boundary look like this?

 “When I suspect lies, I will not be gullible or fall into traps to let pride defend me or expose the lie. I will not be led to force them to tell the truth. I will not punish them for not being READY to be set free from sin. I will not take away my love, my compassion, and my prayers from them if they choose to lie. I WILL walk in wisdom and not let their lies mislead me.”

Or does your boundary say “When my spouse lies to me, I will provide some sort of reaction from me that makes them sorry they did it.”

When my spouse told me, he was working late, and I found out he was not working at all, my pride wanted to teach him a lesson that said “How dare you, think you can get away with making me look like a fool.” And my pride would then come up with many ways to expose the lie and so my husband would regret lying to me.

When God showed me how to really react, He told me that a way to walk in wisdom was to recognize pride and not let it lead me. 

Boundary ONE-Is to not let pride tell you how to act, react! This is probably the MOST important and hardest boundary to follow for ourselves.

When I made the boundaries about MY relationship with my spouse as the #1 priority and not God’s relationship with my spouse as the most important thing, I found my boundaries were all about what was best for ME, not what was best for the soul of my spouse.

Boundary TWO-Do not put your relationship as a higher priority than God’s relationship with your spouse.

Is the boundary I am putting up disguised to protect/self-preserve my mental health and well-being in such a way that I shut the door or have zero tolerance for anything that steals my peace or brings any type of suffering? Is the boundary I am putting up placing me in charge of my mental health and well-being instead of trusting God will USE the struggle, the trial, and the problem in a way that brings opportunity for growth, maturity, increased faith, trust, and hope in God?

Boundary THREE-Be careful of boundaries placed because you no longer want any suffering in your life, are tired of and weary of suffering and want to move on with your life living in peace.

One of the best ways to test a boundary (sexual intimacy not included) is to ask yourself if this would be the same boundary you would place if this was your child.  If you answer NO, then you have to explore why that is. If you would extend more grace, compassion, tolerance, and mercy to someone other than your spouse, then you have to wonder if you might be putting this particular boundary up because you are taking it personally.

Boundary FOUR-Be careful not to place a boundary up for a spouse that you would tolerate from someone else. Boundaries formed when we take something personal reflect that we are walking in place of  “all about me,” not walking in truth, wisdom, or more importantly, putting God first and what He is after with your spouse.

When I was being led by my fears, hurts, pride, and anger………I became a runaway train. That train always found its way to ‘the boundary station,” where it parked and explored the many boundary options that suddenly appeared. None of the emotions I was feeling were capable of helping me to make good, sound boundary choices because I wasn’t in a good place. 

Boundary FIVE-Don’t make boundaries when you are emotional. The best boundary you can make for yourself when your emotions are all over the place is to NOT react or erect any boundaries except to give yourself time to get a grip, heal, work through and discover what is behind the emotions.

Boundaries can be a very confusing thing to understand. It takes deep self-examination and reflection to see if your boundaries are rooted in things that God is trying to help you give up. Such as self-preservation, pride, being a consequence, and putting your faith in your ability not God’s. Helping you trust in yourself and leaning on your own behavior more than God’s ability. And is your boundary enforcing your pride, control, and fears, instead of helping you be humble, trusting in the Lord, and being more secure in Him? The main thing to figure out is WHO your boundaries are for, who they are really going to benefit and how. 

Standing with you, 
Sheila Hollinger

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