For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. It instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. -Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

If you’re tired of being tired, giving till you’re depleted, and feeling used and abused…or maybe wondering why everyone around you is always upset with you for no reason…I want to share a revelation God has been unfolding to me since He pulled the sackcloth off my head in 2013. It’s shedding light on my past and upbringing that have shaped who I’ve become, but more importantly, on how Jesus has begun rebooting me into the person I never could be on my own.

Until 2015, I had no concept of boundaries in relationships…personal, business, or otherwise. I thought boundaries were just demarcations between countries, areas on a playing field, and so on. But what boundaries do for all things–including relationships–is define where entity X begins and ends, and where entity Y begins and ends.

Just like with properties in a neighborhood where fences mark the boundaries of one person’s home in relation to another, we need clearly defined boundaries in our lives. Without them, unnecessary chaos and drama ensue.

When you grow up with no concept of boundaries, you will either run all over other people, not knowing why they’re getting so bent out of shape, or you will get run over, not knowing why life is so hectic, and why you don’t have any breathing room for yourself. I’ve been in the latter camp, still extricating myself from it.

God has shone His light on my codependence, where not having any boundaries, coupled with a low self-esteem, was the perfect match for letting others overrun me with unreasonable demands and dominance. I’ve been running on fumes for decades, alive only by the grace of God! I give Him all the glory and the credit for breaking those chains, and to not continue the cycle to the next generation!

Fences (boundaries) are a friendly and loving way to define what is okay and acceptable. Walls (barriers) are different, built up for the express purpose of isolating yourself and keeping others out.

People without boundaries who are on the aggressive side will react poorly to your stated boundaries as if they were walls, since their area of control and influence over you has now been pushed back. But trust that God is with you as you set up your fences, and will carry you through the raging storms those aggressors may rain on you.

The truth is: what happens to us is only what we allow to happen to us. We should clearly define our boundaries, and if others choose not to respect them, we enforce our boundaries, lovingly asking the violators to see themselves outside our gates. Know that God wants us to live and thrive as His representatives and ambassadors to His glory, and we are not to be dominated or dominant over anyone. We are the children and servants of Christ alone.

I recommend you read “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend, which helped change my life!