I've always thought of boundaries as a negative thing. As a way to keep people out. That having boundaries meant that you only let people get this far until they hit a brick wall that is your boundary. I don't remember hearing many sermons growing up on taking care of yourself or about boundaries being a healthy and necessary thing. There was the occasional "guard your heart" talk, but those never really stuck. I much more clearly remember hearing about serving others, forgiving those who wrong you, loving your enemies. I don't blame the church for my lack of boundaries, but I wish I would have been better taught how to say no.
"A boundary in your life should be like a chain-link fence. An area around you that clearly defines the way you deserve to be treated, and what you will not put up with. That fence also had a draw bridge, and when you join into a relationship or friendship with someone, you both agree to let down your bridge and join into community while still maintaining your boundaries. And if that person wrongs you or treats you in a way not fitting of a child of God, you pull up your draw bridge. That's healthy. You take time, talk to God, forgive that person, and then you approach them again. You let down your bridge, let them know they hurt you but that you have forgiven them. If they apologize, then you leave your bridge down and join back into that relationship. If not, you pick up your bridge, take some more time, and then try again. That is healthy. That is what boundaries is about." -Frank Freedman, paraphrased.
I've had no fence. I've had no drawbridge.
I've had lines in the sand that were easily erased and kicked away. I've forgotten my worth in Christ and allowed others to as well.
I don't want to become a wall. I don't want to fortify my boundaries so high that no one can get in. That is not the life Christ has called me to. But He has called me to remember that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) & "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10). I do want to be in relationships that build me up and don't tear me down. Relationships that exhibit love the way Christ desires for them to. Relationships that are healthy.
I have had the joy and blessing thus far this summer to hang out with group of pretty great people. People who make me feel welcome and well liked and enjoyed. People who are excited to have me around, who laugh at my horrible jokes, and who are sharpening me, even if they don't know it. People who push me to be me again, & are making it super easy.
The hand of God is so evident in my life right now it overwhelms me. My hope is that my attitude and actions are a reflection of that, that I can be a blessing to the people who are such massive blessings to me by just being themselves, and that I continue to grow. That I'll begin to set up my chain link fence and draw bridge, and let that bridge down often. And also that I'll be obedient when it's time for me to pull it up.
My hope is that I'll keep being