Christians Can Have Boundaries, Too

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The hit 90s sitcom, A Different World, gives us many examples of what it looks like to have boundaries and to stand in them. When Dorian told Lena that waiting to have sex in marriage was a priority to him, regardless of her actions, he was to uphold that boundary. Same as Whitley. When she took a job as a teacher and had students who disrespected her, it was on her not to stand down when things became tough in communicating with them.

These instances transformed the people involved and their relationships with the people and the world around them.

When we set boundaries, we create space for us to love others well and for them to love us well. It is a way in which we can grow and flourish in our relationships across the board.

“Boundaries are expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships.” –Nedra Glover Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself.

Jesus stands as a biblical example of this.

He demonstrated this by withdrawing from the crowds or his disciples to engage in personal prayer (Matthew 6:6; Matthew 26:36–56). Through righteous anger that moved people out of the temple, they had turned into a marketplace (John 2:12–16).

We as believers are reminded by Paul in Philippians 4:8 to meditate on what is honorable. Which here, translated from Greek, means things that are “worthy of respect.”

It is not uncommon for us to exist in a space where people challenge our boundaries. Just think of Lena and Dorian in A Different World. How we stand by our boundaries matters to our health and relationships with others and the world around us.

If I know I have the tendency to overspend, budgeting is me setting a boundary with myself and my credit card. Suppose I know that I tend to overwork myself. In that case, the limitations I develop with my boss and co-workers will set the tone for the remainder of my professional career.

As Brene Brown puts it,

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

Yes, it matters that we offer help to one another and bear each other’s burdens, as Galatians 6:2 says. Still, it is just as important to rest as God did in Genesis 2:3 and every day in between throughout Genesis 1.

No one knows our capacity more than us. Honoring your boundaries starts with you.

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