Boundaries are healthy

15 Mar

2 Corinthians 9:7-9 (VOICE)
Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share. Remember what is written about the One who trusts in the Lord:He scattered abroad; He gave freely to the poor;
 His righteousness endures throughout the ages.

Learning to set healthy boundaries is difficult for some of us. We come from places of insecurity, confusion on what it means to be a good Christian, or we heard over and over again to “be nice”. As a Christian, we hear the word love, a lot. When you are raised (particularly women) to give, taught to care more about others, to take care of everyone around you, setting boundaries can be very difficult. My heart see’s need, and I feel bound to serve. One sad truth though, is I have given at times, to the point of resentment. The catholic word of my youth comes to mind, “suffrage”.

My weakness, what has pushed or pushes my buttons is spurred by other’s actions or words towards me, whether their actions/words are meant to control me, or are just thoughtless, unkind or hurtful. I respond by separating myself and putting up a wall. There is some good in that and some destructive. I am learning what setting boundaries is, and what it is not.

I was recently told this phrase that truly sits well within my soul. “ To stand your ground on righteousness, is not vindictive. Let God vindicate you and you will be victorious. “ Do you see the boundaries within that statement? It is an agreement between my Father and myself, that I will walk within faith, obedience and righteousness, very different from being right, and God will do the rest.

Giving in to a bully or doing what is necessary to keep the peace, to be uncomfortable with the right kind of anger, to avoid conflict, to be afraid to let others down, to not wanting to disappoint and never say no, is so counterproductive to a healthy walk with God, and a healthy soul. The [my]idol of caring what other’s think, say or do, rather than what our Father says, does or promises is such a stronghold, it comes back to me often. How can you honestly give with a truly glad heart if you are not centered in Faith? Without that constant nourishment from the Holy Spirit, we wither.

Setting healthy boundaries as a Christian is actually quite clear. Jesus himself was excellent at setting boundaries. He taught us how to be okay in every situation, yet be continually able to love generously, give from our heart; Even those that would harm us. What Jesus did not do, was enable. In every healing, he gave a directive and told the person to do for themselves, to the cripple, he said stand, to the prostitute, he said go and sin no more. Nothing was given without also putting the responsibility back on the recipient. Do we give and then also do for?

Jesus taught us to cherish and nurture the closeness to His[our] Father, Abba. Jesus was completely dependent upon God, that is apparent throughout scripture. He took time to stay focused in relationship with Him. He surrounded himself with those that would love him, those he could fellowship with, commune with and grow with, though even those close friends betrayed him and He actually knew they would one day. They weren’t even sure He was who He said He was. (doubting Thomas, poor Peter betrayed Jesus, yet loved Him so). He could love because He knew his Love.

He taught us to put our relationship with God at the helm, from whom all things flow. He taught us appropriate anger. He taught us how to nourish our souls and the importance of that. He taught us not to be so busy doing that we can’t receive (Martha vs Mary).

When we put our lot on ourselves, on others, on success or security, money or what have you, we will become burned out. These things cannot fulfill our hearts need to be nourished, lifted and supported. We can’t get this from others, from things or from ourselves.

Giving is a funny thing. When you are not good at setting healthy boundaries, when you don’t understand the importance of being careful what you give, you tend to give to the point of burnout, anger, despair, sorrow or resentment.

Jesus understood and explained the need sequence so perfectly. The vine is a great example of the proper flow of things. We are taught that Jesus is the vine, God is the Gardener and the Holy Spirit is the Life within the vine. We gain our peace, our love, our fulfillment, our joy, our hope, our encouragement from the Vine.

When Jesus as man, would be tired, hungry, weak in any way, a focus of attention or be tested or be tempted, He would leave and take solitude with God to reestablish His peace, His ability to lead rebounded.He nourished his mind, spirit and soul.

When we are hurt by the wickedness of others, when other’s have the ability to hurt us, we are not giving with the heart that knows we are loved by the only Love that matters. Maybe we are owning the outcome of what we are hoping to inspire. My friend Nancy is a counselor and taught me about this boundary. It was a very important lesson for me to learn, as a mother, as a friend, in any ministry I partake in. Giving, leading and planting the seeds only means we are the fruits, anything more than that means we are trying to be one of the Holy Triune of the vine.

Learning to say no, learning to lean on God for all our needs, emotionally, physically and spiritually, learning to rest, take care to nourish our minds, our soul, our bodies, and knowing God’s voice, all bring us to a place of right living, unselfish giving while remaining strong and healthy within our soul.

Acts 20:35 (VOICE)

35 This is my last gift to you, this example of a way of life: a life of hard work, a life of helping the weak, a life that echoes every day those words of Jesus our King, who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

John 12:50 (MSG)

47-50 “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”

Matthew 11:28-30(MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

2 Corinthians 9:7-11
The Message (MSG)

6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving

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