Christian counselors deal with a huge spectrum of issues from people with mental disabilities, to families struggling with spousal infidelity or just difficulty coping with common stresses.
Many who seek our help have issues all stemming from one common area: weak or non-existent personal boundaries. As Christians, we are taught the importance of putting others’ needs ahead of our own, charity, and giving even when we have little left to give.
While these are important values to have in theory, in practice it is a little more complicated. Giving and sharing are two of the best ways to help enrich others lives which in turn usually helps better our own lives. “You give and you shall receive.”
There comes a point however, when it becomes detrimental to your own life, and not just in a physical materialistic way, like no longer having the food you donated to a shelter. No, without learning when to say “yes” or “no”, you can quickly reach a point where the situation becomes damaging.
Above & Beyond Counseling Ministries recently wrote about taking the control back in your own life, and not letting yourself become a puppet to other people’s needs by explaining five myths many believe about personal boundaries. By exploring the myths, we can see how setting boundaries allows you to keep giving without hurting yourself.
Many of the myths stem from fear of alienating or angering those around you. It is true, placing boundaries where there had previously not been any can inspire knee-jerk emotional reactions, but those who really relish your attempts to honor God with your life, or actually appreciate any support you give them will understand the need for personal boundaries.
Others fear that their boundaries will be ignored anyways, but if you let people violate your boundaries, they didn’t exist to begin with. Boundaries only become real once you hold fast to them in the face of anger or attempts to invalidate your boundaries.
Maintaining your boundaries is difficult, and at first it may even be painful for yourself to turn away others when they impede on your boundaries, but we only have one life to live, and if others are causing you personal issues, then we are being dragged away from living our lives honoring God.