Blue Jays and Boundaries
The blue jay is a stunningly beautiful bird, but what he offers in beauty, he lacks in balance. He has a well-earned reputation for being the neighborhood bully. He stakes his claim to territory, whether rightfully his or not, and staunchly defends it. His tactics are aggressive and downright selfish at times. Ol’ Blue needs to learn a thing or two about healthy boundaries! Healthy boundaries are always meant to protect and nurture, allowing opportunity for growth, not stifling it. God’s Word is our model for healthy boundaries, bringing real freedom instead of bondage.
Being a people pleaser myself, I know firsthand that there is a learning curve in setting healthy boundaries. If you currently find yourself in a relationship where you have been dominated or disrespected, or you have been in one in the past, the tendency can be to overcorrect and become highly defensive and confrontational. If you’re not careful, you can erect so many boundaries at once that you will find you have walled yourself off from life.
By all means, you must protect yourself from physical bullying, so immediately set whatever boundaries you need to in order to protect you and your family. No one has a right to hurt you physically! You have never done anything to deserve that. Beyond that, realize that relationships form over time, and making corrections must be done over time, too. Small, steady steps can ultimately produce the most successful and long-term change. Ask God for His wisdom and courage. As you learn to see yourself as God sees you, you will have a better understanding of what His plan is for healthy relationships. Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar verse to many. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The more you grow in your relationship with God, the clearer your perspective will become. He will show you what areas of change you need to concentrate on in your own life as well as how to set healthy boundaries with others. Even though boundaries are quite often met with resistance, you will gradually gain the respect you deserve. You will also realize that even within the confines of healthy boundaries, THERE IS MUCH ROOM FOR GRACE! Grace is the healthy counterpart to enablement. Enablement is based in fear while grace is based solely in love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a.) Those, dear friends, are healthy boundaries!
October 19th, 2013