There are reasons we take the keys out of our car when we get out of it. We build houses with locks on the front and back doors. We lovingly place childproof locks on doors and drawers to prevent disaster.
There are passwords to our personal financial and social media accounts. Words like ‘multi-factor authentication’ are common practice to deadbolt or double-lock access to private matters. Security measures keep us safe from harm. As long as we use them.
The same can be said about relationships and the dynamics of navigating and maintaining healthy ones.
Boundaries have been set in place since the beginning of time. We domesticate the opportunity by fencing in our children and pets while honoring property lines between neighbors. These lines were long in place before we even conceived the idea.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2 15-17 ESV
Safe from harm and destruction — that was the intent of this first boundary in Eden. GOD loved us so much He wanted to protect us.
In the same manner that Adam and Eve were called to ‘keep’ the Garden, we are called to ‘keep’ close our hearts.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 ESV
Let’s be honest here: If I were to ask you if you could name one or two people that you prefer to avoid having an encounter with, you could probably shout out their names or write then in your mind’s eye instantly. We just know these people to have a track record of making us feel uncomfortable, sad, or possibly less than who we really are. And no one wants to feel yucky.
We would be least likely to admit to the world that we have allowed these precious individuals to have access to places in our hearts that they have abused the privilege to behold. I’ll be first to help break the ice here and raise my hand as having failed miserably at establishing healthy boundaries.
When we learn that guarding ourselves so that we can experience the best of our relationships while still living as the best individuals we were designed to be, is a GOD-thing, suddenly the light goes on and we get it. Yes, He intended for us to protect what is priceless and valuable: us. You. Me.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ESV
As I learn to lean into what GOD has intended for me, I have discovered that these things can only be done as I surrender to His Lordship and submit to the Holy Spirit. This prevents me from falling into the trap of building walls to keep people out and become isolated. I could not possibly discern the right way to go about this all on my own.
Trustworthy friends and compassionate family members — this is my tribe. The people at my local church who rally with me in prayer for wisdom — also my tribe. Life was meant to be lived with others in your space.
I don’t have it all wrapped up. Neither will I attest to having my habits all perfectly cleaned up. But I will invite you to join me on this journey as I learn more from those who have laid down their lives in servanthood to the Lord and have become willing vessels that pour out of their personal pain so that you and I might gain.
You can head over to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook Page and find the details about signing up for community engagement. There will be access to teaching videos from both Lysa TerKeurst and her personal counselor/therapist, Jim Cress, all throughout the weeks of the online Bible Study. There’s even a Journal provided for you to process what you learn.
This online study launched Monday, January 23, 2023, so get over there quickly and get on board. I’ve been reading the book and I’m finding some truths that I never knew existed, all founded on the Word of GOD.
Let this be the year we all learn how to live well and safe, while loving GOD, others and ourselves.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary