A Biblical Blueprint

God’s Approach to Healthy Boundaries with Lisa Terkeurst

Lysa Terkeurst, the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, recently joined Family Life Radio for a conversation to unpack the importance of setting boundaries in our lives.

“Boundaries are not just a good idea. They’re actually God’s idea,” Lysa said. In Genesis 1, we see God created separations between the light and the darkness, and the land and the sea. These divisions, according to Lysa, are God’s demonstration of boundaries.

In Genesis 2, God initiates the first recorded conversation with man. The chosen topic? Boundaries. Lysa puts it succinctly, “God established to Adam, ‘You are free.'” This freedom came within defined parameters, underlining the truth that genuine freedom thrives within boundaries.

Boundaries aren’t shackles of restriction, but shields of protection.

Reflecting on the boundary God set in Eden, Lysa shares, “You’re free to eat from any tree in the garden, but not the tree that is in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” She proposes, “Was He setting it to be restrictive? Actually, I think it was to be protective.”

This reframing of boundaries as tools of freedom and protection brings a fresh perspective to relationships, redefining how we understand and respect the spaces we and occupy with others.

Consequences of Boundary Violations and The Role of Boundaries in Self-Control

From the moment of creation, we see that boundaries come with consequences when violated, a principle Lysa upholds, quoting her counselor, “A boundary without a consequence is nothing but a poor suggestion.”

The Bible illustrates impact of violating boundaries with one rule in the Garden of Eden escalating to over 600 laws in the era of prophets due to sin-induced chaos. This escalation reveals God’s commitment to maintaining order. Lysa emphasizes, “God takes boundaries and boundary violations very seriously because where there’s sin, there’s chaos and the more chaos there is, the more boundaries are needed.”

Additionally, Lysa aligns the practice of setting boundaries with the spiritual trait of self-control. “One of the evidences of God’s spirit in us is self-control. God absolutely calls us to demonstrate self-control. And that’s really what a boundary is doing for us.”

During the interview, Lysa shared wisdom acquired from her counselor, “Adults inform, children explain.” She underscores the importance of not seeking approval when setting boundaries.

“Healthy people will respect healthy boundaries. Unhealthy people have never met a boundary that they like.”

The crux isn’t to get the other person’s agreement; it’s about confidently communicating your needs.

Impact of Boundaries on Relationships

Lysa observed positive shifts in her relationships when she implemented boundaries. “We don’t want to use the boundary to try to make the other person change. We want to change the dynamic to stop the dysfunctional dance that’s happening between us, and maybe that other person is willing and capable of participating in a healthier dance. And so in essence, both people can change and the relationship changes for the better.”

“Love is really seeking each other’s highest good,” Lysa says. “So it’s not in keeping with seeking each other’s highest good if we’re just holding simmering resentments inside and never expressing our limitations to another person.” Boundaries help convey these limitations and navigate relationships healthier.

The journey of boundary-setting is one of learning and growth. It requires us to dive deep into understanding ourselves, our needs, our capacities and how we interact with others. Boundaries aren’t about building walls but about creating spaces where respect, love and understanding can flourish.

Your journey to establish and respect boundaries is a transformative process, one that echoes the divine essence of God’s creation and intention. May you embrace these principles in your relationships, paving the way for profound personal growth and nurturing relationships.

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