Flexible Boundaries


Rigid boundaries cause you to shut other people out and live unprepared and ill-equipped for the give-and-take that healthy relationships require. Permeable boundaries leave you defenseless against ‘users’ who feel entitled to manipulate you and who expect to be taken care of at your expense. But flexible boundary people are competent for living their own life, yet with a balanced and healthy interest in others. They can be generous in sharing their time, compassion and resources, without becoming overly responsible, or betraying their God-given duty to be the unique person He made them, just to please others. They say, ‘I can be in a relationship with you, without giving up being me!’ They don’t let you violate their boundaries, and they know how to keep from violating yours.

Unlike rigid people, they bend and adjust as circumstances require, without becoming overwhelmed, defensive, resentful, blaming or reactive. In tough situations they roll with the punches, stay focused and draw on a well of inner strength which God provides. Paul was such a person: ‘I’ve learned to be content whatever my circumstances. I can make it through (adjust to) anything in the One who makes me who I am’ (vv. 12-13 TM). People and circumstances don’t control them; they flex, and let God take charge. They are helpful, but they don’t feel guilty because they can’t ‘fix’ everybody. Their boundaries enable them to adjust to circumstances. They practice the principle, ‘Bear one another’s burdens…’ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), without over-functioning or being responsible for others.

Permeable boundaries. Well-adjusted people find the right balance between protecting their personal space, and allowing others to infiltrate, manipulate and dominate them. They know how to say yes to what’s healthy and no to what’s not. Permeable boundary people, on the other hand, allow others to permeate their lives at will, siphon off their time and energy, dictate their options, and deprive them of other important relationships.

Unable to say no, they permit others to make them feel guilty, obligated, uncaring, or even ‘unchristian’ if they withhold what’s demanded. They inconvenience themselves, their families and their friendships to facilitate the endless demands of the seemingly helpless, disempowered, irresponsible user, believing they are being kind and helpful. The ‘helpers’ toll is immense, often leading to emotional, physical, social and spiritual overload, while the ‘help’ feels increasingly dependent, irresponsible and entitled, not appreciating, and sometimes even resenting, the helper’s efforts. Permeable boundary people are unaware that their ‘open’ sign is always, c, attracting a deluge of other people’s needs they feel personally responsible for. They carry the weight of much that’s wrong in the world, feeling exhausted, anxious, inadequate and guilty, taking it personally that they can’t do more and fix things. And it leaves them feeling ‘used’.

‘A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.’ Understand this: You can’t take charge of your own life while you’re overwhelmed feeling responsible for other people’s lives. Set some boundaries, and live the life God gave you to live!

Which one are you, think about it and make. Healthy decision for you…..

image from freepik.



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