Maybe you’re walking through a portion of life where you feel as though your boundary lines have been crossed, even when you’ve tried your best to draw them in permanent marker. Maybe you’re in a space where you feel like there’s a constant struggle between satisfying your boundary lines, while also dialing them back to satisfy the needs of those around you.
Or maybe, you’re a person of the “because you don’t honor my boundary lines, I’ll choose not to honor yours,” mantra. And because it’s never talked about, I’m here to extend the conversation that one of my favorite authors began.
Recently, with a few family members and friends, I’ve been discussing the importance of this precious truth: When you love someone, you love their boundaries. It’s a truth we often struggle with because for so long we may have interacted with family members and friends and members of society who have made conscious choices NOT to honor a hard line that we’ve drawn for ourselves
But the truth is that this not normal.
The societal norms that we are seated in would have us believe that everyone responds this way and that we are all doomed. But I can say from experience that the opposite is true. If it’s true for me — a recovering people-pleaser and perfectionist with a history of emotional abuse in a past relationship — it’s true for anyone.
There’s more to that truth than just the love and care of a person’s boundaries, like the love of their values and a love of their truths and a love of their talents and a love of their dreams … and this year I’ve been on mission to define “perfect love.” If you’ve followed my blog or my posts for any period of time, it’s no surprise to you that my faith is not just my foundation — it’s my life. On January 1st of this year, the Lord got my attention in a major way and shook my reality at its core, and I haven’t been the same since. He’s been taking me on a journey of refinement, but also of redefining truths that society has attempted to shift and change in my heart.
Truths concerning friendship and community. Truths concerning my involvement with the church based on my intention versus my calling. Truths concerning Himself and Who He is and who I am in Him — which isn’t a sinner saved by grace anymore, but a holy, royal priesthood and a chosen heir to the throne of Heaven. Rather, I’m equipped with every spiritual blessing in Christ to make right decisions and I have direct access to my Father to ask for forgiveness when I fall short and it breaks both of our hearts.
So when He defines “Perfect Love,” I want to know what it means. Getting to know the heart of Jesus has shown me exactly how He loves my values and my truths and my talents and my dreams. He loves my values with a heart so true to me that it begs me to use my talents to honor His dreams for me and for His kingdom. And if all four of mine don’t match His, He loves me until they do and then He keeps loving me. He is matchless.
At Passion City Church, Pastor Louie has been leading us through an incredible series titled, “Label Maker,” and it has been reality-shifting for our house and for people all over the world who listen to the podcasts that are recorded in the gatherings in our House. Chosen. Heirs. Holy. Alive. These are all the labels God gives to those alive in Christ.
What a beautiful truth it is to realize that we aren’t saddled by the guilt and shame of our past, because Someone came and bore those realities for us and obliterated them on the cross of Calvary! That’s a truth that my heart wants to shout from the rooftops — that when you say yes to Jesus, it means God doesn’t see your past anymore … He sees you as brand new and He’s the One Who matters, not the world. I want the world to hear that shame and guilt met their death on the side of a hill 2,000 years ago, and newness came bursting out of a sealed and guarded tomb three days later so that everyone who hears and believes might know that their worth has been called forth and protected by the One Who created it.
“DON’T SHRINK. DON’T PUFF UP. JUST STAND YOUR SACRED GROUND.”
– BRENÈ BROWN –
Having grown up in the Bible Belt, I find it obvious why this concept has been hard for me and for others: Some of the people who have been placed in our lives, and have not respected the boundary lines drawn by the Creator of our souls, are the very same people who have been trusted with carting us to church. Or at the very least, they’re the same people empowered to speak into our lives. This is a concept that we all need to recognize, not just the “we” who are reading this entry.
This is a concept that, when put into practice, is recognized as “different” and draws people close. And because that is true it’s important to concentrate on its truth: that just because a person’s boundaries are such that allow for more freedom, that is not bounds for those in Christ to encroach on those boundary lines. We as a people, a holy royal priesthood and chosen heirs to the throne of heaven, are given the opportunity and responsibility of treating others who are and aren’t in Christ with the beautiful boundary lines drawn by the Lord Himself … and when we do, people will begin to see that they are cherished and hopefully start searching for the Source of that.
Before I go any further, and now that we’re several paragraphs in, let’s define “boundary lines.” Psalms 16:6 says, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Given this scripture, the first place that I look for boundary lines is in scripture itself. Isn’t it beautiful that God’s word draws out the framework of life for us, yet leaves us room to figure out other social situations as they arise and stand our sacred ground as we stand in the authority of our inheritance as children of heaven?
Social situations like …
- When we are pressed to spend time with others, yet we have no additional time to give …
- When we are pressed to make decisions that we aren’t ready to make …
- When we are pressed to buy things that we cannot afford …
- When we are pressed to stand behind friends who are making decisions that we don’t agree with …
- When someone tries to coerce us into a physical situation that we know isn’t pleasing to the Lord …
Our time, our money, our decisions about the future, our decisions about relationships, our decisions about our body … all of these are gifts that the Lord gives us and asks that we honor and guard in truth and in love, and He doesn’t leave us to do it alone. The overflow of His Holy Spirit is always available to assist us in making these decisions that first honor Him, steward the gifts He’s given us, and that honor ourselves and affirm our worth in beautiful ways.
Something our beautiful Shelley Giglio recently said on Jamie Ivey’s “The Happy Hour Podcast” (my favorite aside from Craig Groeschel’s leadership podcast) rings true to me as a self-described podcast JUNKIE. She said: “When our minds come to rest, they should rest on scripture and therefore on the Lord.”
Gah … how golden! Also, that’s probably somewhere in scripture … I think. It’s a beautiful thing to know that the heart of your Maker is for you, that you might flourish, that He DELIGHTS in extending mercy to His people. This is His heart. This is how He draws us near and keeps us close while sending us abroad to unite the world for His glory. It’s truth and it’s love.
So, if there’s anything that you get from this, I want it to be this: People mess up, sometimes royally, and there’s no excuse and repentance is required, even people who wear the name tag of “Christian.” If your people haven’t shown your boundaries the love and support that they deserve, don’t look for your boundaries in this world. Get to know Jesus and His perfect love.
It’s a love that empowers and calls out worth, speaks up when it knows what’s right and what’s not, acts on scriptural truths and values … not social biases that send you into a whirlwind of opinion. It’s a love that loves despite fault and all the way through trouble, and forgives when asked … every single time.