By guest author
Licensed Christian Counselor
Specialist in Child & Adolescent Therapy
Life Training Christian Counseling
Boundaries can be a beautiful relationship tool when applied appropriately. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals today either have so little boundaries they’re walked all over, or so many boundaries they have walled themselves off from everyone. Both of these extremes create unfulfilling relationships. When we learn how to apply boundaries to our relationships, we begin to feel the blessings of walking in God’s promises for the Body of Christ.
“Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you’ll be condemned.”James 5:12 NIV
When we choose to say yes when we mean no, we cause a problem. Usually it is done with good intentions, and in my experience, sometimes it’s encouraged. I’ve been told, “serve even when you don’t want to because it’s what you’re supposed to do” and “even if you’re angry while you’re helping, God is being blessed by your actions.” Acting as a servant can reap positive benefits, but looks can be deceiving. Part of Jesus’ bone to pick with the Pharisees included this very problem of inauthenticity. In fact, in Matthew 23, he calls them “whitewashed tombs” for appearing “righteous” on the outside but “full of hypocrisy and wickedness” on the inside (27-28).
Our Heart Matters To God
The posture of our heart MATTERS to God. When we surrender our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit begins working to remove our sinful nature from our hearts to replace it with a Christ-like heart, meaning I am no longer focused on selfish desires, but I’m focused on loving God and loving His people. Meanwhile, if I am just “acting the part,” or serving because I have to and not because I want to, I have shifted my focus from serving God first to serving others first. The approval of those I serve, who see my actions, is of greater value to me than the approval of the Lord, who knows my heart. When I learn to say no, I can learn to serve where the Lord wants me to go, and not where others are leading me.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
When we have been wounded, oftentimes in an effort to protect ourselves, our boundaries harden and become walls. These walls, while successful at keeping harmful people away, also isolate us from the loving relationships God designed for us to have. Satan wants us to believe we are alone, because there we have no way of discerning his lies from the Truth. However, when we open ourselves up to have healthy relationships clothed in love, we can be held accountable to what God’s Word says about who we are as His children, and Satan’s lies don’t stand a chance. Ephesians 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” When we allow the Holy Spirit to soften our walls, we open ourselves up to become vulnerable in our relationships.
Vulnerability Can Be Scary
Vulnerability can be scary, especially to a wounded soul, but it has the potential to be so beautiful. We can surround ourselves with other vulnerable individuals who will share the love of Christ with us and encourage us to seek God above ourselves. They can speak into the parts of ourselves we may be blind to, and walk with us as we grow. I am stronger when my support system grows, just as Ephesians 4:12 says. I need others to speak hard truths into me, and when my walls soften into boundaries, I will create space for others to do so.
Defining healthy boundaries can be complicated when we’re used to the unhealthy boundaries. Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lysa Terkeurst and Boundaries by Henry Cloud are two books I can recommend that have helped me learn how to create healthy boundaries in my life. With the Holy Spirit working in you, you can find the strength and grace necessary for your healing, and begin building strong relationships with those you love.
Kayla Wright joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in May of this year. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of teens and pre-teens.
Kayla is nationally licensed as a Christian Counselor by the National Christian Counselors Association, with an advanced board certification in Child & Adolescent Therapy. Kayla gained extensive experience and credibility in providing counseling to teens and pre-teens during her tenure on the staff of Revive Christian Counseling in Owensboro and Madisonville, Kentucky.
Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our COUNSELING FOR TEENS & PRE-TEENS in Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at email@example.com