Hmm, the “B” word. The word most of us associate with news casts of military battles or political unrest. As distant as those topics may sound, they are actually closer than we realize.
A few definitions of boundaries can benefit us as we begin…
A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
A line on a map.
A river, fence, or an imaginary line that shows where an area ends and another area begins.
Those seem pretty straight forward, and we probably have many personal experiences with such boundaries. Even locally we have the Chattahooche River that makes up a boundary between Alabama and Georgia. It identifies where Alabama ends and Georgia begins.
We will agree that there are boundaries that help us identify places and areas, but we also have some other boundaries that are very real, and very close to each of us. Regardless of our acknowledgement, we each have boundaries. We have that internal comfort zone alarm system. When someone gets too close, when the “violate our space”. To even use that statement means that we have established boundaries.
Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for others to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits. These boundaries are established out of a mix of conclusions, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.
What are some boundaries that you have experienced, established or struggled with?
Personal Boundary Examples
To see and begin to focus on personal boundaries, here are a few to keep in mind:
- Right to privacy
- Right to your own political view
- Right to own your own needs
- Right to not be responsible for other people’s feelings
- Right to change your mind
- Right to set your own values
- Right to have your boundaries respected
- Right to develop & express your talents
Unlike the physical boundaries on maps, out personal boundaries fluctuate. They change based on the individuals we interact with. You have people in your life that you allow to get closer than others. There are people that have gotten close, too close, and you have learned next time, they are not going to get that close again.
Challenges and Opportunities
As we prepare to begin our study on Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend, let us begin to be alert and aware to boundaries we currently have established. What are areas that seem to frustrate us with others, what disappoints do we experience that need some attention.
What are some areas that God can improve the concept of boundaries in your life?