• Debbie Howell

Teaching Boundaries by Having Boundaries

“They desperately need to learn to listen to the boundaries of others to help them observe their own.” (Boundaries, p 59)

Wow!  That one statement speaks volumes to me.  The people in our lives who “desperately” need boundaries won’t realize it by having us try to force them to create boundaries.  It’s only by example, as they see the healthy boundaries we place in our own lives, that they will begin to see the reality and needs of their own lives.

If you’ve established the unhealthy pattern of trying to “coerce” someone into making healthy decisions for their own lives it can be really hard to break that habit.  It’s going to take education, determination, humility, and probably an accountability partner.  I think that one thing that will help is to be honest with yourself.  Step back from the situation and ask, “How long have I tried to play ‘police’ in this situation?  Has it ever worked?  Isn’t it worth at least trying something different?”

What I’m learning has really helped me to do some self evaluation and I can already taste the freedom from the devastating cycles I’ve played a part in for way too long,  I have to remind myself that my new journey of creating healthy boundaries around my own life may not be easy but at least I’m headed in the right direction and every day I’m making more and more progress.

As always, God is our example in this process.  He lays out His plan for us to set boundaries so that we can live lives of joy and freedom.  He leaves it up to us to make those right choices.  If God doesn’t force choices on us, then we shouldn’t think to have the right to force choices on others.  It all comes back to loving others the way that God loves us.

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.  1 John 4:18

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