Boundaries! 7 Ways to Stop Fixing People and Empower Yourself.

922705_559351900752675_116486065_n  Having no boundaries in your personal life will strain personal relationships and the accumulation of frustration and miscommunication as a result of no boundaries will  ultimately create resentment that will lead you into very toxic relationships.

Person-under-doormat    No boundaries can also keep you in that victim mentality.

Here’s the truth – if you don’t create clear boundaries for yourself in all of your relationships, you can’t expect the people in your life to know what you want or don’t want.  Healthy boundaries allow for an equal partnership where both the power and responsibilities are shared.  Especially in marriages, but this mindset will affect everything you do, from friends, to work, to church, to children.

Boundaries help us define who we are and provides us with a definite sense of self. People who learn how to set personal boundaries thrive because they have created a level of personal control within their life, whereas people who do not set personal boundaries tend to be stressed and overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do the things they want.

sb_passiveagressive2Most people have a hard time saying the word NO.

Inevitably, until we set personal boundaries and learn to say no, the quality of our lives  will suffer in so many ways.

freedomWhen we learn to say “No” more often, or just learn to say “Yes” on our terms, we free ourselves from the burden of pleasing others therefore allowing ourselves more time and freedom to do what we feel matters most .

Examples:  

  • Your adult children ask you for money and you go ahead and give it them against your better judgment even though they don’t take responsibility for their own budgeting.

  • Your coworkers delegate tasks to you that they should be doing, but you do the extra work because you want to please them and be liked.

  • Your husband tells you that it’s your fault he lost his temper and was abusive and you take on the guilt for his choices and actions.  

  • Someone from your church asks you to volunteer for a new project, and out of guilt you say “yes” when you really should say “no” because your schedule is already overloaded and you are exhausted.

 

Sound familiar?

 

All of these scenarios reflect a lack of boundaries – limits that can help you avoid unnecessary stress and enjoy the peace God wants you to experience.

 

relationship difficulties You may tend to respond to other people’s needs at the expense of your own and then suffer from the chaos that comes from a life without proper boundaries.   I see it often in coaching. 

 

Do you want some ideas on how to  start setting boundaries in your life and start enjoying peace?

 

  1. Shift your focus from your circumstances to how you respond to those circumstances. 

 

God will empower you to change your life for the better if you change the way you respond to your circumstances. While you often can’t control your circumstances, you can always control how you respond to those circumstances as you surrender them to God and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance to set the appropriate boundaries. Doing so will honor both God and you, because it will please God to see you living with the respect He intends for you.

 

  1. Keep in mind that taking control isn’t the same as being controlling.

Setting boundaries isn’t about trying to control other people; instead, it’s about being clear about what you will and will not accept in your life in order to claim your God-given spiritual authority and guard your heart from harm. You never need to feel guilty about setting boundaries with the people in your life.  Jesus did it all the time.  He had very strong boundaries.  No one deterred Him from His mission.  People will actually have more respect for you when you are strong and firm in your boundaries.

 

  1. Distinguish between helping and enabling others.

Consider whether or not you’re actually helping the people you’re trying to help. Helping is doing things for people that they are not capable of doing for themselves.

 

doormat     But Enabling leads people to depend on you in unhealthy ways – AND is doing things for people that they could and should be doing themselves.

 

Recognize that when you’re enabling people rather than helping them, you’re creating an atmosphere in which others can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior. Even though you intend to help, if you’re enabling you’re actually hurting other people, and yourself, in the process.  You enable them to not take responsibility for their own lives.  Thus draining yourself.

 

Recognize that setting boundaries is vital in order to fulfill God’s purposes for your life. Instead of letting other people distract you from living the life God intends for you, claim the spiritual authority God has given you by setting the boundaries He leads you to set in your life.

 

254865_440342676028286_2145415378_n   Pray for the confidence you need to overcome whatever fears have been holding you back from setting proper boundaries in your life.

 

The more you learn how to apply biblical wisdom to your life, the better you’ll be able to set boundaries that will help you accomplish God’s will.

 

  1. Stop your own negative behavior.

Ask God to help you identify specific negative attitudes and behaviors in your life that are contributing to a lack of boundaries and the resulting stress. Then decide to stop your destructive patterns and pray for power from the Holy Spirit each day to replace your unhealthy attitudes and behaviors with healthy ones.

533101_323586567703898_2131335984_n Don’t waste time or energy anymore on trying to get the other people in your life to change; that will never work. Instead, focus on simply changing yourself, with God’s help.  You will never get someone else to change their behavior.   You have to change.

 

YOU are NOT the savior of anyone.  Jesus is!!  womanatthewellbylizlemonswindle

 

Seek the support and encouragement of some caring Christians whom you can trust to help you on your journey to set proper boundaries in your life.  Or get yourself a Life Coach to walk the journey with you a while to show you how.  (Contact me if interested!)   dixie1

 

  1. Nip excuses in the bud.

Don’t tolerate any more excuses from either yourself (about why you’re not setting boundaries in your life) or other people (about why they want to step over boundaries that you’ve set for them).

 

Ask God to help you stand firm so you can make real and lasting changes in your life. Say “no” clearly and without guilt whenever you sense that you should say “no.” Doing so will give you the freedom to say “yes” to activities that the Holy Spirit convicts you to pursue.

 

You will feel so empowered!!  birdcage

 

 

  1. Trust the voice of the Spirit.Pay attention to how the Holy Spirit speaks to you about boundaries. Listen for the Spirit’s guidance about boundaries every day in prayer, and be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings in every situation you encounter. In some situations, the Spirit will restrain you from taking action, and in others, the Spirit will urge you to take action move forward.

 

Yield everything to God. Live to please God alone, and don’t worry about pleasing other people. Let go of everything that holds you back from fulfilling God’s purposes for you, including: unrealistic expectations, negative emotions, and Satan’s lies. Trust God to give you peace and guidance to change your life forever!!

 

Contact me at dixie@reflectionsofgracehome.com to set up a coaching call!

 

 

Who Has the Power in Your Life~Boundaries!

She sat in my office crying her heart out seeking an answer for depression.  A young mother of 3 children who just coPerson-under-doormatuld not seem to get it together or define why she was so unhappy and miserable.  She said she loved being a mom and her marriage was just fine.  I was stumped and began to just call on the Lord to help me, help her!  

Finally, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Ask her about her mother.”  Up until that point her mother had not been mentioned.  So I said, “Tell me about your Mom.”

She looked at me in shock and literally crumbled into a sob that went on for quite a while.   She finally was able to tell me that her mom controlled her entire life.  She had no freedom to make her own choices with her own children.  Every day her mom showed up at her house to come in and make sure she was handling her life according to what her mom wanted.   She disclosed she was not free to go out with her husband unless her mom approved and was the babysitter and knew what she was doing every minute.  It was causing problems in her marriage and her husband hated her mom for it. 

I could see the guilt and shame come in as she talked, and the little girl qualities emerge.  This girl had spent her entire life letting her mom rule everything she did.  Her mom never let her grow up and she allowed it.  She hated her weakness for not being able to tell her mom no, or being able to just grow up and take care of her own children or make her own decisions.

She was stuck.

I wish I could say I was able to help her.  Once I began to share with her about boundaries and how the power was hers to learn to say no, she began to back track and make excuses.  Her fear of her mom was palpable and it wasn’t long before I got a call that she just couldn’t afford any more sessions.  I knew she just could not handle making this shift of saying no to her mother. 

door matHow sad we give others so much power over us!

Being set free is being willing to learn to let go of controllers in our lives. 

Even when it is family. 

There are plenty of people out there who live their lives through controlling others.

Self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit. When we have self-control, and you get it from being with Jesus and asking for His self control to fill you, by faith, we maintain the ability to stand up to aggressive controllers who try to tell us who we should be and what we should do.

Do you have any controllers in your life? 

Consider the following situation in the Bible where Peter, Jesus’ disciple, acts in a controlling manner:

Mark 8: 31-33 “Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

bourndariesOne of the most important benefits of having boundaries is that we do have the ability to stand up to others when they try to control our lives.  It is hard to confront but it is absolutely necessary if you want to move forward with God at the helm of your life.

It does take courage.  But God has given you all you need to step out and take control of your own life. 

Peter wanted to impose his own design for Jesus’ life onto Jesus, but Jesus had good boundaries; he stood up to Peter and rebuked him.

Jesus showed that he was in control of himself and would not be defined and controlled by Peter, no matter how good Peter’s intentions might have been. The truth is that Peter was thinking, not of God’s purposes, but of his own agenda. Peter was trying to rescue Jesus instead of turning the situation over to God.

Are you defined by controllers or by God? 

Although we are wise to listen to others and be open to their feedback, we should never allow someone to be in control of us and define who we are.

Setting appropriate boundaries with people helps us to retain that kind of freedom and self-control.

gods-willOur actions have consequences, but If you take responsibility for things that aren’t yours–by not having boundaries, for instance–you put a roadblock into one of God’s best teaching instruments He has for His children.

The young mother I was coaching said her mom was prone to anger if she stood up to her. So, in her timidity, she walked on tiptoes around her mom, trying to placate her, and then when the mom would be pushy or tell her what to do the little-girl-mom-herself would apologize and try to repair the relationship with her mother..thus letting her mother have her way once again. 

She was the one who was reaping the discord in her home, not her mother.

 Enabling someone to control us is NOT walking in the love of God with them.  They do not have to confront their own issues as long as you give them control over you.  Their issues become yours.  How can God work in their life if you are reaping the consequence of their choices and not they themselves?

 That is why they can throw major manipulative fits when you finally say NO to their demands!

We aren’t meant to reap the consequences of the controllers actions of disobedience.  We are supposed to let people bear the consequences of their own actions.

We are each responsible for our own stuff.

Have you ever noticed that Jesus set limits on Himself. He didn’t heal everyone all the time; often He left areas where there were still people who needed His help because it was time to move to the next place. He carved out time to pray, away from His disciples, to spend time with God.   He carved out time away from the masses, just with His disciples, to train and minister to them.

 If Jesus had let His schedule be determined by what people needed Him to do rather than by what He was called to do and what He was able to do, His ministry would not have been as effective. He needed time alone to rejuvenate and time alone with God, and He took it. He knew that He couldn’t do everything–even if other people needed Him.

 He had His limits.

 

Support Groups PicWhen people join support groups for other family members of those suffering from addictions, such as Al Anon, one of the first things they are told is that you can only change yourself, and you must not take responsibility for changing another person.

But at the same time, you must also allow that other person to reap the natural consequences of their actions, or they will not change. You must stop enabling bad behavior.

 Why is it that Christians think that being a pushover, or letting others get away with wrong behavior, is Christ-like?

doormat He didn’t call us to be door-mats.

God’s will is that we look more and more like Christ.

loveIn your family, are your actions encouraging others to look more and more like Christ, or are they covering up and enabling others to look more and more un-Christlike?

 

If you aren’t setting healthy boundaries of responsibility in your own life, then it’s quite likely that others who are allowed to control you will be looking less and less like Christ, rather than more and more like Him.

Queenism photo posted by permission from http://QueenofYourOwnLife.com/

Where Do You Want to Go to Eat?

 

   man-woman-car      “Where do you want to go eat?” He said.

“I don’t know.  Where do you want to go?” I said

“What sounds good?”  He said.

“Hmmmmm, not sure.  We could go here!” I said.

“Nah, that doesn’t sound good to me.” He said.

“Okay, well, how about here.” I said.

“I’m bored with their food.” He said.

“Well, then YOU make the choice.” I said.

“No, because if I do you won’t like it.” He said.

“I promise to like it.  You just choose.” I said.

“I don’t know where I want to go.” He said.

“Oh for Pete’s sake, let’s just go here then.  It’ll be fine.” I said.

“Finally, I’m starving.” He said.

“The service here is horrible.  The food is not good.  YOU should have made a better choice.” I said.

Sound familiar?

bourndariesHave you ever made a choice and when the outcome wasn’t so good, blamed the results of your poor choice on someone else?    Boundary violations are about not taking responsibility for our own choices and trying to lay the responsibility of those choices on someone else.

How often do we use the phrase, “I HAD to”, or “HE made me do it.”   Whom are we blaming for the circumstances of our lives?

The above dialogue is just a comical scenario that many couples find themselves in often, including me. But the truth behind it is that many of us are afraid to set boundaries in our lives for fear of making the wrong choices as if we are powerless over our own behavior.

We have good hearts.  So, we need to trust our hearts to know when to say no and when to take responsibility for our own choices.  We are not victims.  Whatever our circumstances we can make choices to change ourselves regardless of what others are doing.

We are to love one another, not BE one another.  Learning to respect someone else’s boundaries is vital if we want to know how to take charge of our own lives.

We learn to accept other’s freedoms to say no, and not get angry, feel guilty, or remove our love from them.  When we give others room to say no it sets us free as well.

door matNo one wants their boundaries violated. So why do we allow it? Why do we NOT enforce or uphold our boundaries?  The three main answers are:

  1. FEAR of rejection and, ultimately, abandonment.

  2. FEAR of confrontation.

  3. GUILT.

The truth, however, is that if you don’t learn to put up boundaries for yourself and take responsibility for your choices you only enable others to take control in your life.  You will experience the very things you fear the most as a result and the enemy will come in and devour your self esteem.

Establishing healthy boundaries and enforcing them opens the door for you to step into your authentic self with confidence.   You deserve to be authentically liked, loved, and respected.

If you would like to hear more on Boundaries,  leave a comment. 

“It is for freedom He has set us free!!”  Galatians 5:1

If you’d like coaching on boundaries in your life, contact me:  http://www.reflectionsofgracehome.com/lifecoaching.html