Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
If you spent any time in church as a young person, you have probably heard this quoted a lot. It is almost always quoted in terms of dating/romantic relationships. But what about friendships? What about the people we must interact with within our faith communities? What about family dynamics? I believe guarding our hearts speaks to boundary setting.
I am in a season of boundary setting. Above and beyond setting boundaries for my toddler (easy ones like "Hold my hand when we are in the parking lot" and "No, you may not have soda right now."), I am at a place where I have to set some for myself. Not in terms of a do/do not checklist. Instead they are in terms of relationships. I would much prefer the checklist - relationships are messy.
The boundaries I am starting to put up are not concrete walls with barbed wire at the top. No, they are fences. If by God's grace some relationships I am currently called to say, "no," to become a place for healthy growth again, then I will be open to that change.
Boundaries aren't about bitterness. They aren't about unforgiveness. They are about protection.
I can't have situations upset me so much that I am ineffective as a mom, a wife, a friend, a mentor. So I begin this journey of figuring out a Christ-like way of setting boundaries. I don't know exactly what this will look like. I do know that His heart is for all of us to be more like Him. And sometimes to be more like Him, I have to take the risk of setting boundaries.