Boundaries are critical to our spiritual, emotional, and physical health. While we often talk about the importance of setting boundaries, we don’t always talk about the challenges of enforcing our boundaries. And truly, boundaries are only as good as their enforcement.
If you have lived a life with few boundaries, it is good to remember that beginning to have and enforce boundaries will feel uncomfortable. Internally, you may feel scared, uncertain, guilty, etc. Externally, you will begin to navigate the realities of your boundaries being challenged and needing to be upheld.
Here are several keys that will help you enforce your boundaries:
1. Accurately understand your value and believe that you are worth defending and standing up for
If your life experience has communicated to you that you are not worth much, I want to remind you: that couldn’t be a bigger lie. If you are worth Jesus dying on the cross for, then you are certainly worth fighting for.
Our ability and willingness to set and enforce boundaries in our life can often be directly related to our self-worth.
An inaccurate view of our worth can often be the biggest internal obstacle to setting and enforcing necessary boundaries in our life. We will have an accurate view of our worth when we are established in our identity as a child of God.
So, if you find yourself in this place of not accurately viewing your value, begin to ask the Lord to show you how He sees you. Allow Him to begin to affirm you and speak life over you. Ask Him to identify lies that you have believed about yourself so that you can begin to declare and believe truth about who you are.
2. Believe that boundaries are vital to your health and that they are consistent with Scripture
Consider listening to this teaching on boundaries for some foundational information on what they are, why they are important, and how they are biblical: Boundaries Workshop
Ask the Lord to transform your mindset in any ways that are needed. As you develop a conviction about the role that boundaries play in your health and the health of your relationships, you will be better able to enforce them with strength and steadfastness.
Some family cultures and/or church cultures operate under the mentality that having boundaries is not loving or that boundaries are in opposition to the Gospel. This could not be more untrue. If you grew up in an environment like this, setting and maintaining boundaries might feel like you are doing something wrong. If that is you, I encourage you to really dig into this topic. Ask God to renew your mind in this area and to give you His perspective.
3. Understand that beginning to set and enforce boundaries might be uncomfortable at first
In the same way that beginning a new exercise regimen results in fatigue and sore muscles, beginning to establish and enforce boundaries can be exhausting and painful. Ultimately, our bodies begin to adjust to exercise, the pain lessens, and our muscles get stronger. Likewise, it will begin to be more natural and less painful to enforce our boundaries as we exercise this “muscle” over time. We will grow in strength and it will not take so much out of us.
Learning to set boundaries can seem like hard work, but it is so worth it in the end. Seek the Lord for a greater revelation of your identity and value, develop a greater understanding and conviction about the importance of boundaries in your life, and choose to push past the uncomfortable. Take it one boundary, one opposition, and one step at a time.