In the realm of relationships, the term boundary is often received with mixed emotions. When broaching this topic, however, one will find that boundaries are an essential part of the conversation. The concept of setting boundaries isn’t new, but it is important to iterate that it encompasses more than self-defense against the undesirable.
We can expand our perception of how boundaries enhance our lives when we gather Biblical insight to inform our mental and emotional well-being. As we understand and apply boundaries’ benefits, we learn that the practice of setting parameters isn’t negative, but rather a nuance of God’s blessing for relationships.
As we move through this world, we need a navigation system (in the Holy Spirit) and a framework to support and sustain healthy interpersonal connections. Invariably, boundaries will buffer us from a degree of harm, but at the core, the impetus behind forming them emerges from love.
We place boundaries into effect to protect and preserve what we value. They teach us to regard ourselves so we can better love and serve. Our devotion to God makes room to first receive His care, enabling us to release His intentions to and for others.
Trauma and boundaries.
The notion of establishing boundaries may seem restrictive to one with a trauma history in which the individual’s boundaries were transgressed. Often, trauma produces shame, causing us to negate our value. As a result, we come to believe that setting a boundary is unkind. As believers, we may view boundaries as being un-Christ-like. In reality, the lack of boundaries reveals that our vision of ourselves doesn’t quite align with the way our Savior esteems us.
As a result, the failure to establish healthy relational guidelines produces a world of codependent trouble. We allow ourselves to be used, abused, and misused, often by people we love and others where we want to demonstrate love. We conflate it with the sacrifice that Jesus offered on our behalf.
In error, we mistake surrendering the personal power that God intended for us for something else. Instead, this surrender gives others a means to trample on us to suit their own, though not always malicious, agendas. This is not, nor was it, God’s intent.
While our faith requires us to love everyone, it doesn’t translate to equal access to our time and material resources, physical space, or our interior thoughts and feelings. By nature, boundaries will shield our vulnerabilities from those with less investment. They fortify us in connection with the people and to the places where we can wisely share and exchange what God has orchestrated for a particular time.
Discerning the facets of navigating boundaries, following a history of trauma, takes the investment of patience and self-compassion. Through the partnership with an empathetic counselor and that of the Holy Spirit, we can develop the spiritual and practical arsenal to aid us in the journey that produces healing, growth, and lasting positive change.
Boundaries are not a randomized set of expectations, but rather they reveal what we value. They nurture respect for self and others, providing a foundation that structures and supports healthy interaction. God gives us agency in outlining our criteria for boundaries, yet we need to anchor them in wisdom and self-awareness.
As we consider parameters for the acceptable behavior where we are in life, we also need to be willing to receive and release grace for ourselves and others. In doing so, boundaries can serve to recalibrate perspectives on our relationships, thereby freeing us to be loved in the ways that matter to us. This leaves us equipped to engage others in the kinds of connection that enhance the quality of life.
For those of us whose added filter of past trauma, codependency, and shame, tinge our worldview, we can affirm our choices by seeking guidance from the Scripture. It may not always be easy to offer a distinct yes or no in setting boundaries, especially if we have low self-worth.
Looking to the Bible awakens us to the way God speaks to and about us, encouraging us to adopt His vantage point. Boundaries convey the Father’s compassion, even as we consider that He has called us beloved and belonging to Him.
Boundaries offer self-validating evidence, endorsing the premise that what we think about ourselves matters. Such practices honor the person living inside, helping us to navigate different environments, encounters with people, and life experiences with a God-sense of what’s healthy and holy.
God calls us and makes us holy, set apart for His intended purpose. It isn’t that we esteem ourselves more highly or lowly than we ought, but rather share in God’s celebration of who He crafted and what He wills for our relationships. When we appreciate our unique creation and high calling as chosen by the Almighty, we learn to embrace His kind Heart for all of humanity.
Patterning after God, we transmit this sense of being especially loved in the ways we extend, esteeming and elevating those we encounter. Following the template of Jesus, we can note how He modeled all of life with excellence, going first, teaching us how, and how to do it well. In embracing who God has made us to be, even through the establishment of healthy boundaries, we teach others how to esteem us and equally how to regard themselves.
Boundaries convey the value and respect that we hold for ourselves and the relationships that God has given to bless our lives. They allow us to communicate our worth and what we prioritize. Then we can infuse that into interactions that glorify God, mutually blessing us and benefiting those in our relational orbit.
Boundaries reposition relationships, sometimes reassigning the proximity of those who enter and leave our lives. In light of the changes, the Holy Spirit remains faithful to teach us to honor one another, regardless of the space and season where we find ourselves.
As borders, boundaries prevent us from stepping over one another and trampling each other’s valuable feelings, thoughts, and opinions. As gates, they assign a proper place, distinguishing between close and casual relationships. As bridges, boundaries redirect our connections with whom and where we are intended to support, strengthen, and sharpen as we sojourn this life.
Sometimes, the notion of creating boundaries can be uncomfortable to manage following a history of trauma. Our past may have been punctuated with toxic behavior where our safe zones were disregarded. Because we may not have experienced the safeguards that boundaries offer we can struggle.
Unresolved trauma causes us to muddle boundaries and distort our perception of ourselves, God, and others. We tend to increase access to those who may not be deserving or trustworthy. On the other hand, we may detach from or distance ourselves from expressing sincere concern for our well-being.
Offering everyone equal, unvetted access to our physical person, time, or our internal thoughts and feelings is neither wise nor safe. Boundary setting involves a process that requires comprehensive healing, and we may need to unlearn dysfunctional behaviors while gathering healthier strategies.
As we recover from the effects of trauma, we will need spiritual and practical tools to guide us in restructuring our mental, emotional, and relational landscape. The Holy Spirit will counsel, enabling us to distinguish clear choices as well as those that hold nebulous shades of gray. Furthermore, a trusted counselor can support us with resetting our soul health.
Next steps for trauma recovery.
Therapy helps to develop a framework to re-envision who may or may not be an appropriate fit for your inner circle. It’s not an easy journey, but there is support. As you process the lingering pain of unresolved trauma, you will learn how to set healthy boundaries that align with a healthier version of yourself.
Where this resonates, pause and search our site to locate a professional counselor. Schedule an appointment today and cultivate the confidence that empowers you to shift from crossed lines to form healthy boundaries.
Daniels, Dharius. Dharius Daniels TV, February 15, 2023, Relational Intelligence Series, Part 4: No Is Nice, [Video],Youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/live/4YMEdw65T8s?feature=share
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