Dr. Anne Worth

Christian Author, Speaker, and Workshop Leader

During our Shelter in Place, I have been purging articles saved over the years and I thought this article by Frank Minirth was worth visiting again.

We have all heard the term “boundaries.” Setting personal boundaries give us ways of protecting ourselves from others and containing ourselves with others.

We know setting a physical boundary determines who may touch us and under what circumstances. We all know when someone crosses our physical boundary. We are uncomfortable in the least.

We know when someone crosses our intellectual boundary by being rude or abrasive in their opinions.

It is a little more difficult to understand our emotional boundary, because each person may be different. What may be acceptable to one person may hurt another person’s feelings. Sometimes as Christians, we allow others to manipulate our emotional boundary because we are called to be forgiving, long-suffering, tender, kind, and loving.

A few suggestions:

It is all right to say NO!

It is all right to confront unacceptable behavior ( and we don’t need to take offense).

It is all right to say you need space and distance to think about something before discussing it.

It is always good to forgive, but that doesn’t always mean reconciling with the person.

Dr. Minirith named some behaviors that indicate poor boundaries:

  • Believing you can change someone
  • Blaming yourself for another person’s behavior
  • Rescuing someone from the consequences of their behavior
  • Not taking needed and appropriate action when needed out of fear of abandonment, another’s anger or hurting their feelings
  • Not asking for what you want or need for fear of being seen as selfish.
  • Being afraid to say no
  • Being non-responsive (cold shoulder) rather than engaging inappropriate discussions

In general, he says: 

take responsibility for your own behavior, but not the behavior of another person, speak the truth on your own behalf and ask others to help you determine if your boundaries are healthy. 

What about spiritual boundaries? What does that mean?

I like the definition that spiritual boundaries keep us from crossing over the line from the behaviors God desires for us. That’s worth thinking about and asking ourselves about.