Have you noticed that someone has way too much access to you?
This awareness can be frustrating. On the one hand, you may love this person. It could be someone like your spouse, children or mom. But, sometimes….when you look at the name on your phone or see that name pop up on your Caller ID, you ignore it. You have your own emotional eruption, get mad, roll your eyes and cringe. AND then, you lie about why you didn’t take their call. On the other hand, you take a look at the name on your phone or see that name on your Called ID and you say to the person or people you’re with….”Hey, I have to take this.” IGNORING the people right in front of you, never realizing what message that sends to them.
There are levels of intimacy. Not everyone should the same access to you.
If we live the God-honoring life, there is an order of intimacy God prescribes from Genesis: God, spouse, family, other. Boundaries help us manage our lives in an orderly way. Time, energy and resources are limited. Chaos takes over when we don’t have a solid understanding of how to put a boundary in place that is loving and honoring to others and to ourselves. Drained. Empty. Frustrated. This is how we feel when we don’t have boundaries protecting our time, energy and money.
Jesus knows you like nobody else.
Whether you prayed ‘the prayer’ or not, there is an intimate place within you that only has room for you and Jesus. He knows us better than we know ourselves. (Psalm 139) Jesus is actually omnipresent and omniscient. Reality check—we cannot be everywhere and know everything. Only Jesus can do or be that. If you’re married, the next layer of intimacy is your spouse. You both agreed before God and everyone that your relationship would be above all others for life. If you’re not married, this person could be a parent, sibling or friend. These are people who know you and your stuff. They choose to love you inspite of all that. (I’m constantly amazed at Bill’s love for me…he is absolutely the best thing that happened to me—oh, and Jesus.)
Third level of intimacy is your immediate family and close friends. You will have more people in this circle of influence. You have more room for more people, but they have less access to your intimate place. The fourth level of intimacy is your church friends, small group members, work colleagues, soccer people, gym friends and people that you would help if they called upon you. Fifth level of intimacy is your other friends and acquaintances where there are many of these people you know but they don’t have the same access to you as the others.
What about scary people?
I bet you thought you were off the hook on this one. Not so fast. We all have scary people in our lives. Imagine the chaos that erupts when a scary person has direct access to you and your heart! As Christ followers, we don’t turn our love off because of their disrespect, irresponsibility, poor choices or their character flaws. But, we do have control over how much access scary people have and how much of our time, energy and resources we expend on them. A boundary in this area alone will provide you amazing results. I am not kidding. When we place a boundary between scary people and our heart, we protect that which is most sacred to us and JESUS. That’s right! Consider whether or not the scary person has more access to you than JESUS? Who’s voice do you hear and listen to? Jesus has the power to heal. He has the power to build your confidence and place you back into a position of authority. Scary people are not equal to Jesus. They don’t have the same power that He does. We have to believe that Jesus has our best interest at heart and build a protective boundary around our most intimate place.
I wish I could tell you that it is easy to keep people in their space or that they “stay in their own lane.” Life happens. Relocation is a reality. Careers change. Children mature, go to college, get married or move into a career that takes them away. Other people may have more access to your life than they had previously because change is inevitable. There is a fluidity attached to all relationships. Some call it an ‘ebb and flow.’ Research done on intimacy in longterm marriages suggests that individuals develop a capacity to lean in, love deeper and learn how to sustain the marriage during times of disruption or chaos. Couples understand what it takes to protect important relationships and rebuild boundaries out of the rubble.
Boundaries are loving and place value on what is inside.
I haven’t always valued what’s inside. I have not protected my heart nor my relationship with Jesus above all else. (Proverbs 4:23) I allowed other people and things too much access. Sometimes people and things become thieves or criminals. They get away with my valuables and murder. I have boundaries that are made up of a lot of different materials like inherited mindset, old baggage, heavy burdens and betrayal. Experience is a tough teacher. My perfect ‘bullseye’ image has been wrecked and rebuilt many times. The process of rebuilding is relationally, physically, mentally and spiritually painful. I’ve tried to learn and apply what I learned each time. Some lessons are still so hard to accept. Restoration takes time, energy and resources. My internal structure has been pummeled multiple times. My hunch is yours has too.
Let love in.
I was talking with someone last Sunday who said, “I think I was a good father to my children but I don’t think I was a good pastor to them.” I said, “Well, the good news is we are always at the beginning place with our spiritual life. Begin now to be the pastor to your children. Build an eternal legacy starting today.” It can be the same way with regards to re-establishing boundaries in our own lives. If you look around and all you see is a chaos. STOP! Don’t add to it. Chaos can be habit forming if you don’t stop and take an assessment of where you are. Let love in. Allow love to be your guide. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Proverbs 1:23)
1. Does your personal life reflect the biblical structure and principles: God, spouse, children, other?
2. Make it right with Jesus. Place him at the top, then your spouse, then your children, then the other things and people in your life. (This may require the work of repentance and restoration.)
3. Invite Jesus and the people you love to help create new boundaries.
4. Talk about your boundaries with Jesus and the people you love.
5. Write down goals about keeping your boundaries—know they are fluid and relationships have an ebb and flow.
6. Practice confession, repentance and restoration.
We will talk more about boundaries Sunday. I am praying for you. I know how hard life change can be. Other people may not understand. But, this is between you and Jesus. He’s available. He wants the very best for you. His love for you can be a strong foundation to build the best life you ever dreamed you could have. Begin. Let me know how it is going.
Some of the material is from “Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries” Danny Silk. Loving on Purpose Publishing 2015
Pastor Jen Wilson