BY ALLISON BOTTKE
Although tough to admit, we’ve played a part in our challenging relationships and situations. We’ve allowed others to overstep their boundaries. And we’ve excused their unacceptable requests, even when it cost us valuable time and peace.
Setting healthy boundaries is about knowing when to say “yes,” when to say “no,” when to say “Let me think about it,” and when to say nothing at all. And once we make that choice, boundaries help us not to feel guilty.
Rather than limiting us, boundaries free us to do things that really matter. They help us avoid wasting our time, talents, and energies. Boundaries also protect our hearts from relationships that can be emotionally harmful. Being a Christian woman doesn’t make you a doormat for everyone to use, abuse, and misuse. In fact, Proverbs 4:23 cautions, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (New Living Translation). As a result, we must control what we allow (and don’t allow) into our lives. Setting boundaries isn’t about controlling other people. It’s about being very clear about our own limits, and being able to back up these standards with consistency. It’s about behaving in a manner that protects our hearts, brings glory to God, and builds our self- respect. It’s about not relying on people to validate our decision to say “no.”