My Boundaries for Myself

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My Boundaries for Myself |Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #MyBoundariesforMyself #MyBoundariesMy Boundaries for Myself

Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves. We put gates up in homes with babies and toddlers to protect them from dangerous situations. They also protect caregivers from having to fear for a child’s every move. I have a fence up around my yard, which protects my dog from getting lost, stolen, or hit by a car. It also protects me from worrying about her, having to go look for her were she to run off, other people from getting bitten or chased, and drivers from accidentally hitting her. Moreover, it allows her the freedom to go outside without a leash so she can explore and relax in the beautiful outdoors. Boundaries establish rules of engagement and facilitate peace for all parties involved.

Maybe we were never taught that we get to have boundaries for ourselves and so experienced them as hostile walls or as rejection from others. Most people I’ve talked to didn’t have healthy boundaries modeled or set and were never taught how to set them. The reality is that boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Remember, boundaries will look different for different people, because each of us has unique needs. Boundaries are important in protecting us. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility.

Since we are body, mind, and spirit, we have a need for boundaries in all three of these areas. Are R-rated movies really good for us just because we are older? Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s conducive to our growth in wholeness and holiness. When we set limits for ourselves, we are keeping the bad out and the good in. Doing so keeps the living waters Jesus wells up within us from being wasted or polluted.

We spend exponentially more time talking to ourselves than we talk to others. That is not to say that we are constantly talking out loud, but our inner voice, thoughts, or expressions can be almost constant. What do we say to ourselves? What does our running commentary sound like? When thoughts that aren’t good for us come into our minds about ourselves, others, or situations, what do we do with them? Do we entertain them or do we “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ”? (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is a simple example of setting a healthy boundary in how we relate to ourselves. It is rooted in the boundaries God sets for us in scripture and overflows in our relationship to others.

Considering that God sees us as beloved and precious and values us beyond measure sets a firm foundation for healthy boundaries, which determine the way in which we think about ourselves. Many years ago, I had a job that required an enormous amount of travel. Being on the road so much, I often ate at restaurants. One day I realized when the hostesses would ask me how many were in my party, I regularly answered, “Just one.” This may sound like a little thing, but even though I was the one saying it, I felt a sting every time. It felt like the message I was unintentionally sending myself was that my existence was less because I was alone. Instead, I chose to say, “One, please,” and that’s what I say to this day. Each time I feel an honoring of my dignity as a person, rather than the sense of being diminished, as if I need another’s presence to give me significance.

I noticed something similar several years later. Pulling out of the driveway on my way to work, I realized that I had neglected to grab my computer bag or lunch. I caught myself saying out loud and with irritation at myself, “Ugh! I forgot that!” It made me feel frustrated and discouraged. I examined the situation and considered that actually, I had remembered the item before I drove away from the house. Good thing!  I changed my message to myself to one of gratitude that I recalled the needed item before I left.  This simple change in attitude helped me avoid so much useless frustration at myself. I felt joyful and energized rather than demoralized. Words are powerful.  The ones we speak to ourselves regularly shape how we see ourselves, and if we aren’t consciously monitoring, our self-talk can often fly in the face of how God sees us. Aligning and realigning our self-concept with the Lord’s concept of us is crucial for operating in reality and peace.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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