Is your family driving you crazy? Do you struggle with establishing healthy limits in your relationships? Consider the blessing of healthy boundaries for your relationships. A boundary is a limit you set regarding what behavior you will tolerate from other people. Boundaries help define your identity and your integrity. When someone crosses your boundary, something inside of you will react. The reaction may be subtle or unmistakable. Either way, you will know something isn’t right. This may be especially true for your physical boundaries, such as when someone infringes on your personal space or touches you inappropriately. But there are many other kinds of boundary crossings.
And the list goes on!
Setting boundaries—and maintaining them—is often difficult for people, and it can be especially difficult with parents and other close family members. If you didn’t learn the art of setting boundaries growing up, it is highly likely that your relatives didn't either. Your relatives may be pushy, manipulative, and controlling people, but they may also be nice people who interfere because they love you, are concerned about you, and have never learned appropriate boundaries themselves. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should allow inappropriate boundary crossing to continue.
Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:4, NIV). In 1 John 4:20 we read, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." Scripture is very clear that God is primarily concerned about what is in our hearts because that is what prompts our words and our actions. Smiling and speaking kindly to someone, while inwardly seething with resentment, definitely does not please God, and the risk is that your resentment may erupt in angry words and damage your relationships. So let’s be clear that it is healthy for Christians to set boundaries.
It is critical for our spiritual, as well as our emotional, and relational health to maintain clear boundaries with others.
Taking the time to learn boundary setting skills and practicing them will benefit you greatly, and your relationships will be much more rewarding.
Please refer to the resources listed below for greater depth and detail about establishing healthy boundaries:
If your family is driving you crazy consider whether your most loving action might be to establish and maintain a healthy boundary.