Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 66
We are continuing our series on boundaries today. A boundary is knowing where you and your responsibility ends and another person’s begin. Boundaries are those invisible property lines of your life defining where you stop and other’s start.
In today’s podcast we’re going to talk once about boundaries, because having healthy boundaries is vital for living in the peace, the joy, and the rest that Jesus came to give you.
Today’s scripture: Romans 8:28-29 from the Passion Translation, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. For He knew all about us before we were born, and He destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of His Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers who will become just like Him.”
A boundary is knowing where you and your responsibility ends, and another person begins. Boundaries are the invisible property lines of your life defining where you stop, and others start. In today’s podcast we are going to talk once again about boundaries because having healthy boundaries is vital for living in the peace, joy, and rest that Jesus came to give you.
Welcome to today’s Hope Healing and Freedom Podcast. I’m Cindi Whitman with Restoring the Foundations and today’s verse is Romans 8:28-29 from the Passion Translation, “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose. For He knew all about us before we were born, and He destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of His Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers who will become just like Him.” God is in the process of making you look and act just like Jesus. Establishing good boundaries will help you become more like Christ.
Let’s review just a little bit from the last two podcasts. Good healthy boundaries begin by valuing yourself and others. You must value yourself in order to close all of the broken walls and windows of your life. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control (healthy boundaries) is like a house with its door and windows knocked out.” Healthy boundaries are what keep others from overstepping and invading your life. And you must value others so that you don’t overstep and invade their lives.
This podcast is highly influenced by the teachings on Boundaries by Author, Pastor, and Counselor Chip Judd. His teachings on Boundaries are available for free on YouTube and I highly recommend them to you.
Chip Judd uses the illustration that boundaries are like having a Hula Hoop around you. Everything inside your Hula Hoop is your responsibility and they all begin with the word “my”. My feelings. My decisions. My attitude.
Chip also says that there are three circles of influence when dealing with boundaries. The first circle are those things that you have direct control over, like my attitude, my decisions, my feelings. The second circle of influence are things that you have indirect control over. These are things you influence but do not have direct responsibility for. Things like my health or my spouse and children’s decisions. I can influence them, but I do not have direct control or responsibility over them. The third circle of influence are those things you have no control over. These would be things like other people’s decisions, others emotions, and others happiness. I have no control over these nor any responsibility for them.
Boundaries give you the power of choice. When your walls and windows are broken down, you are no longer making proactive decisions, you are responding to what comes in from the outside. With healthy boundaries you have the power to make choices. We mentioned in an earlier podcast that if you can’t say no, then your yes means nothing. Boundaries give you the power to say no when you don’t want to do something. People who can’t say no do not value themselves enough to not do what others want them to do and actually express their own desire. In being unable to say no, your yes is no longer a choice, but a default position. So, your yes becomes meaningless.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to blame others for the quality of your life. God gives you the power to manage your life and decisions no matter what other people are doing. People without good boundaries give that power over to others and then blame others for the quality of their life. You have the power to choose. You have the power to respond to life rather than to react to it.
Mark had a problem. Ever since his first son was born, his parents’ first grandchild, his mother has continually inserted herself into their lives by offering them parenting advice they did not ask for. In fact, his mom would come over and babysit on a regular basis and do her own thing with their son instead of abiding by their already established bedtime schedule. She also would feed the baby food that they did not want him to have. They had a boundary issue with mom. Mark had a very difficult decision to make to stand up for what he and his wife thought was best for their son, while at the same time risking the disapproval of his mother.
What do you do when someone violates your boundaries?
First, communicate your love for that person before you do anything else. Remember that one of the reasons that people do not have good boundaries is that they are trying to get their needs met through other people. By expressing your love to this person, you establish that what you are going to do next is not because you don’t love and value that person. You are laying the foundation that the direction that you are going is not because you don’t love them, it is precisely because you do love them and value them. In fact, you value the relationship with them enough to make the necessary changes so that the relationship can continue.
Second, explain your boundaries and your limits. For Mark that would mean having a difficult conversation with his mother explaining to her what his expected boundaries are for her. This often is not easy and can cause some hurt feelings, that is why it is so important to express your love for that person prior to having this conversation. In a sense you are changing the rules of the game without asking the other person’s permission and very often the other person does not always agree with the new rules. You are establishing rules of conduct that have not been negotiated with the other person. Recognize, however, that in establishing these new rules, you are not doing anything wrong, in fact if they are healthy boundaries, you are doing something very proper and right for yourself and your loved ones. Self-care is not being selfish. So, realize that you can’t judge by the reaction you receive if you have done the right thing or not.
The third thing that must happen is to clearly communicate the consequences of violating your boundaries. Let’s say you have someone in your life that tends to get angry and verbally abusive with you to try to get what they want. To clearly communicate the boundary and the consequences might sound something like this: “If you are going to raise your voice with me and talk to me in that tone of voice, I will have to hang up the phone, or I will get in my car and leave. I desire to talk with you, but I will not remain in a conversation when you are treating me like that. We can talk when you can remain calm and talk with me, not yell at me.” Do you see what is happening? The person setting the boundary is valuing both themselves by not allowing this abusive behavior to continue, but they are also valuing the other person by not allowing them to misbehave in that manner.
Based on these three steps, the conversation that Mark will need to have with his mother might go something like this.
“Mom, we are so grateful for your willingness to help us with little Mark. He really enjoys his time with you, and we love having you as a significant part of his life. But there is something that we need to talk with you about. We have developed a bedtime schedule for Mark that has been very successful. When you come and babysit, you do not follow our established schedule which makes it harder to keep him on schedule after your visits. You also feed him food that we do not want him to eat. We are asking that you abide by our wishes with Mark about his bedtime and what He eats. If you are unwilling to abide by our desires, we will be forced to stop allowing you to babysit.” That is setting a healthy and appropriate boundary.
What does it look like to have healthy boundaries? You might want to get the text version of this podcast so you can have these notes.
- You have learned healthy ways to get your needs met. The first and best way to get your needs met is through your relationship with Father God through Jesus Christ. He is the only one who knows you completely and loves you unconditionally. You have legitimate needs to be loved, valued, and accepted. All three of those are totally and completely met through your relationship with God through Jesus. If for some reason you are not experiencing that love, value, and acceptance in your relationship with God, do yourself a favor and get some RTF ministry to receive the healing and freedom that will make it possible to receive them.
Once you have stopped looking to others to meet your needs, then and only then can you be in healthy interdependent relationships with others. When our needs are being met through Christ, we no longer need to be dependent on others, but rather we can be interdependent with them giving and receiving as God intended.
- You are able to say “no” and hear “no” without paralyzing fear. If my life is dependent upon what I get from others, then I am going to have a hard time saying no to them, or having them say no to me. No is an acceptable answer. Let your Yes be a wholehearted yes, and your no be a wholehearted no. Boundaries help you not respond to others out of fear.
- You take responsibility for the consequences of your choices. People who blame their decisions on others do not have healthy boundaries. If you chose to get angry and decide to let that anger out at someone, do not blame your anger on the other person. They may have done something that angers you, but your expression of anger is inside your Hula Hoop and is a decision you make.
- You have realistic expectations in relationships. It is not other people’s responsibility to make you happy. It is not their responsibility to make you feel acceptable or valued or loved. It is your responsibility to get those needs filled from your relationship with Father God so you then can be a giver to others without needing anything in return. Then when you get acceptance, value, and love from others it is like icing on the cake.
- You are able to manage your emotional responses and cycles. It is very appropriate to say that something another person did hurt your feelings. It is not appropriate to accuse or blame them for your feelings. It is also not appropriate to let your hurt pour out upon them unrestrained.
- You allow others to experience the consequences of their choices. When someone treats you in an unacceptable manner and you must pull back from that relationship for a time, it is very appropriate for that other person to experience the distance without you trying to smooth things over. You will want to explain to them why you have set up this boundary and that the boundary will continue into the future if this behavior happens again. When our kids were learning to drive, we set up a boundary that if they received a speeding ticket, they would lose their driving privileges for 3 months. One of our kids walked into the house one afternoon and handed me the car keys saying that they had received a ticket. It was very hard on us as parents to have to take their driving privilege away, but it was allowing them to experience the consequences of their choice.
- You don’t manipulate or try to control other people, and you recognize when others are trying to control you. When you are living securely inside of your own Hula Hoop and you are getting your needs met by Father God, then you don’t have a need to manipulate others in order to get what you want. You can approach them honestly with a request knowing that if they say no to your request, you are going to be OK. You will also find that by allowing God to meet your needs other people’s manipulation does not work on you. Manipulation is like throwing a fishing hook into a lake. If the fish does not bite on the hook, you cannot catch them. People who manipulate are throwing a fishing hook at you hoping that you will bite on their manipulation so they will have you hooked into doing what they want. If you don’t bite, the manipulation does not work.
- You are able to make and keep your promises to yourself. Living securely inside your own Hula Hoop you are not pulled or swayed by every whim of others. I love sweets. I think sweets is a generational curse from my father who also loved eating sweets. If I set a personal boundary of not eating sweets, and my friend Michelle offers me some of her incredible banana pudding, I do not have to fear offending her by saying yes to my promise to myself and saying no to her. Her feelings are not in my Hula Hoop, so saying no is an appropriate answer. By the way, I hardly ever say no to Michelle’s banana pudding because bananas are a fruit and eating fruit is good for you, right? So, eating her banana pudding is just eating yummy fruit.
The key to living within your boundaries is that it puts the power to make good choices back in your hands where God wants it to be. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ set you free.” Free to make good choices by establishing healthy boundaries.
Father God, thank you for giving me the power to say yes and to value myself enough to say no. I ask that you show me when to say yes and when to say no. Help me to value others’ boundaries and not to violate them. I recognize that my feelings are my responsibility. I cannot blame others for my actions or feelings. Reveal to me the areas in my life that need healing. I turn to you to get my needs met rather than to others. Fill me up afresh and anew. Let your presence be manifested in me and through me.
If you need help in getting your heart healed, please reach out to our ministry coordinator or go online to the Ministry tab and find a RTF ministry team near you.
Life is too short to settle. There is great freedom in having healthy boundaries.