Freedom to Set Healthy Boundaries

One of my all time favorite films is Independence Day. No matter how many times I watch it, I find myself emotionally engaged in the drama, passion and pathos of the story. This film covers such a broad spectrum of button-pushing feelings and sentiments it isn’t funny. Where else can you find a balanced mixture of love and hate, humor and sadness, forgiveness and anger, survival and death, victory and defeat, and good and evil? All that, and Will Smith, too!

If you scroll through all of my CWO columns for the past seven months, you’ll see my theme for the entire year has been “Freedom.” As Fourth of July independence celebrations take place around the country, I’d like to present another kind of independence for your consideration—another kind of freedom.

The freedom that comes when we realize it’s okay to say, “No.” That it’s okay to say, “Enough is Enough.” The freedom that comes when we set healthy boundaries—in all of our relationships.

I’m the author of a book that focuses on freedom from enabling our adult children. If you’ve read my book, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out I have boundary issues. Many of us do. I could be wrong, but I think the issue of unclear boundaries is more prevalent in the lives of women. After all, we are the mommies, the nurturers, and the multi-taskers. We are the I-can-do-it-all gender who are slowly killing ourselves trying to do-it-all.

This insidious death march is especially true for Christian women. Because we’ve bought in to the lies of Satan that in order to be a “Good Christian Woman,” we must always be ready, willing and able to say, “Yes.” No matter how painful it may be. That we must always be quick to love, honor, obey, serve, and forgive. No matter how broken our heart. That we must always put others first and ignore our own feelings. No matter how wrong, misguided, or dangerous those others may be. That in order to be a “Good Christian Woman,” the health and welfare of others is far more important than the health and welfare of our own heart, soul, body and mind.

If those lies aren’t enough to send us on a path to destruction, the ultimate lie of Satan is that when we exhibit this totally selfless focus, and remove every boundary of protection from our life, only then will we please God and demonstrate what it means to be a good and faithful servant.

Excuse me?

Unless I have a Bible that no one else has, I have yet to read Scripture that tells me to be a doormat. That instructs me to be an emotional repository for everyone else’s problems. Can someone please point out the Scripture that encourages me to allow my heart, soul, mind, and body to get so beaten up and damaged that I don’t know which end is up in order to show the world what a “Good Christian Woman” I am? Can anyone point out the Scripture that tells me I am a horrible person destined to go to Hell because I take a stand to guard—to protect, my heart?

This month we celebrate the independence of our country. Let us also make it a month to celebrate the independence of a heart that has found freedom from the bondage that comes when we don’t have healthy boundaries in place.

It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in a painful relationship with your spouse, your adult child, a family member or friend, a boss or a co-worker. If you or someone you know is going through a rough time where violated boundaries may be the issue, please hear me now.

Freedom from pain comes with a price. Sometimes, in order to make things right, we must first say, “No.” We must have faith that God will still love us when we say, “Enough is Enough.” Moreover, we must be willing to walk the difficult journey to freedom as we establish healthy boundaries and pick up the pieces of wrong choices we have made. We must trust that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

It’s not about all the things we do. It’s not about all the selfless acts of service we extend to others. It’s not about always saying, “Yes.” It’s a downright lie that the more we do the more God will like us. The truth is written in John 3:16:

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We have freedom in the blood of Jesus Christ. He cannot love us more, no matter what we do. He’s already loved us unto death.

Available now from Harvest House Publishers
Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children
Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents
by Allison Bottke
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