Learning how to set boundaries with other people is important to physical and mental health. There are guardrails on highways. There are warning signs on cliff edges. So how come creating boundaries with people is so hard?
What Boundaries Look Like
Dr. Henry Cloud, author of the best-selling book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life says, “A good test of a relationship is how a person responds to the word ‘no.’ Love respects ‘no,’ control does not.”
Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Listen to the short version of this Abide meditation with narrator Tyler Boss for help in setting healthy boundaries. To go deeper, download the Abide app from the App Store or Google Play and start a 7-day free trial of Abide premium. Get 25% off with this link.
Set Boundaries with Family and Friends
There are times when you need to set boundaries with and for your family members. Just because you’re family doesn’t mean they get to control your life and make decisions for you. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua tells the people of Israel, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Essentially, Joshua set a boundary for his family.
Listen to the 4-minute Abide meditation on boundaries with narrator Dianne Jackson to learn more about setting boundaries with others. The full version is available with an Abide premium subscription.
Protecting Your Time With God
Sometimes you may find that people demanding your time make it hard for you to set a boundary around your time with God. Jesus gave some good advice when it comes to guarding your time with your heavenly father. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Jesus was talking about not praying to garner attention from others, but it can also protect you from interruptions from others. Listen to the short version of this meditation on Matthew 6:6 with Abide narrator Bonnie Curry. You can spend more time with this meditation with the premium version of Abide.
The Example of How God Set Boundaries
Did you know that God made boundaries? Some people see these as a bunch of do’s and don’ts, but God’s boundaries are actually for our protection. When you have a young child and a swimming pool, you don’t put up a pool fence to keep them from having fun; you put it up to protect them from falling in a potentially drowning.
Listen to the 3 1/2-minute version of this meditation with Abide narrator Chloë Elmore about God’s boundaries. You can go even deeper with the full version with Abide premium.
It’s easy to know you need to set boundaries, but it’s not always so easy to do. Taking control of your life and not letting other people dictate it for you will help you open up time to follow the leading that God has for you. When you can learn to say “no” to others’ demands, you can begin to have the margin to say “yes” to opportunities God brings your way. And keeping guardrails up against toxic people can only bring peace to your mental health.
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