Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 67
Today we are going to finish talking about the topic of Boundaries. This one will be a bit shorter but very important. If you have been a person without healthy boundaries and you have determined that you need healthy boundaries, then you are going to want to listen today.
This is Cindi Whitman with Restoring the Foundations. As we have talked about, having healthy boundaries is important for everyone to have healthy relationships. However, if you have not had boundaries before I want to caution you. You’ve heard about the pendulum swing, right? The tendency is to go from saying yes to everything, to saying no to everything. That isn’t healthy either.
When you have lived with others without healthy boundaries for a long time, making the switch is going to “make waves” in your relationships. I shared with you in an earlier podcast that when my husband Lee began to value himself and realize that it wasn’t his job to keep me happy (saying yes to my every whim) it shifted things in our marriage. I wasn’t used to him expressing his opinion about where we went to dinner or what color of couch that we purchased. Previously he had not valued himself, so he didn’t think that his thoughts and opinions were worth sharing. It was about 15 years into our marriage that things began to change. It was shaky ground for a bit. I don’t mean that we were going to divorce, I just mean that life changed. He did a massive pendulum swing to saying No to everything and everyone. Previously he had always been the last guy out of the church. He not only wanted to make me happy he wanted everyone else to be happy too. As he learned to value himself and have healthy boundaries, he didn’t feel the obligation to stay and chat with everyone and help with all the teardown till the end. Instead, as soon as church was over, he would head to the car. The pendulum swing went too far.
When people are used to you always saying yes, they may be surprised or even shocked when you say no. A few years ago, we shared this teaching at a church. The Pastor of the church wasn’t very happy about it. You see he had several people in the church that didn’t have healthy boundaries and they would always say yes to everything that he asked them to do. When they began valuing themselves and recognizing that they could say No he didn’t like it very much. You see people without healthy boundaries are targets for abuse. In this case it was spiritual abuse by the Pastor. He expected everyone in his home and congregation to do whatever he asked them to do. Thankfully the abuse by the pastor wasn’t in the sexual area but you can easily see how it could be.
If you don’t have healthy boundaries, you might be a person that others will easily take advantage of and abuse in a variety of situations. If you’ve grown up without healthy boundaries it wouldn’t be unusual for you to have experienced sexual abuse. The lack of healthy boundaries puts a target on your back for predators. They know that you can’t say no.
So how do you go from not having healthy boundaries to establishing healthy boundaries?
Our recommendation would be first to admit that you need to establish healthy boundaries in your life. Secondly, if you have been abused in the past, we would highly encourage you to reach out to our ministry coordinator or go to our website and find a ministry team near you. It will be very difficult for you to establish healthy boundaries with a wounded heart. Also, it is a great time to establish a new rhythm in your life. When asked to do something instead of automatically saying yes, or automatically saying no, take time to ask the Lord what he wants you to do. People without healthy boundaries are often overcommitted because they can’t say no. Learning to say yes only to those things that the Lord says to do will bring you great freedom.
How about the day-to-day simple things? If you’ve always let other family members have their way then you might meet some resistance. Be willing to share your thoughts and feelings without demanding that you get your own way. Submit yourself to the Lord first and ask Him to help you navigate life differently. Give those around you grace to adjust to your change. Don’t expect them to immediately embrace the new you! It takes time to make the shift. The longer you have been in the relationship the longer it may take to make a change. Go slowly. As you grow in knowing and valuing yourself you might share with those you love something like this: “Recently I’ve discovered something about myself. I haven’t been valuing myself in the ways that God wants me to. I know that it has affected you because I always say yes to everything. At times I’ve overcommitted myself and it has affected our relationship. Would you forgive me for not valuing myself and always saying yes? Would you help me navigate this new season of life as I learn to say no? “They may not immediately recognize that there will be times that you will need to say no to them too. No one likes to hear no. Ask the Lord to give you the right heart and the right timing as you navigate this new growing season in your life. Pray for those around you that they will navigate the new season with you well. You will be healthier and happier as you learn to say Yes to the things that He says and No to the other things.
Father God, thank you for the insight we’ve gained about having healthy boundaries. Lord, help me navigate this season well. Show me when I am not valuing and loving myself. Lord, give me wisdom to know when to say yes and when to say no. Help those around me to grow with me as I make this shift. Lord, forgive me for the times that I’ve said yes to things that I shouldn’t have. Forgive me for being overcommitted and taking on responsibilities that are not mine. Lord, open my eyes to the areas of my heart that need healing so that I can live my life fully and abundantly in you. Help me receive your healing in every area of my life. Lead me in the ways I should go. You have ordered my steps, let me walk in them alone. Amen.
If you need help getting your heart healed from past abuse, please reach out to: www.restoringthefoundations.org Check out the Ministry tab at the top and find a ministry team near you. Also, check out our special resource offer this month with Dr Kathy Tolleson on Restoring Sexuality. It is a powerful life-giving seminar!