A few weeks ago I got a text from an Ex. Unfortunately this wasn't shocking or outside the norm because no matter how many times I block him or ignore his texts he still reaches out every few months. However I found myself triggered because no matter what efforts we take to set boundaries in our lives, the enemy will find a way to test you. Contrary to popular belief the enemy does not know your future, he only knows your past, and he will use it to tempt you and/or get you off track; not from obtaining what your future has in store but from your rest and the faithfulness of God. Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially when we feel a sense of obligation to those we love or have a desire to meet new people. No matter how angry or triggered we get in voicing our feelings over and over we must not grow weary in implementing our boundaries.
Boundaries are necessary because you have taken the time to heal and become a better you and frankly not everyone deserves access to the new and improved version. And secondly boundaries are a reflection of your self-love and self-worth. But before I get into implementing boundaries, first I want to give you a few tips on how to set boundaries:
1. Get a clear understanding or definition of what they are. How do you define a boundary? In general boundaries are set parameters to keep unwanted people or things out. The goal is to protect what is inside (your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing). They speak to the value of what is inside. A key thing to remember is YOU determine the value because others will certainly object.
2. Clearly define and document your why. Again you will be tested, but when you know your why, you won't easily be moved AND you will be unapologetic in implementing them. Your why is also a reminder of why you can't go back to the old you. You know where that road leads and its not welcomed in your present or future.
3. Ensure you set them according to YOUR standards. Remember you are protecting YOU and thus influence from others will only cause you to be more flexible than you should. Refrain from getting examples and opinions from others because your wants and needs may be different.
Once you set boundaries, you then must be diligent in implementing them:
1. Openly communicate them. You can not hold others to a boundary that was not communicated. Don't assume because someone is your friend or known you for X amount of years that they should automatically know. Have the tough conversation. If the new you was an adjustment to you, know that it will be an adjustment to others. Give grace NOT excuses.
2. Define the consequences. Determine what the consequences are for not respecting or adhering to your boundaries and stick to them. The first person who has to respect your boundaries is YOU, remember you teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Yes this means you must be willing to walk away and/or limit your time with those who ignore or constantly push the limits of your boundaries. While I have forgiven my ex, we can't be friends because he is a constant reminder of the old me I fought so hard to heal from. And having to consistently remind him that I am a new person is too exhausting especially when he has shown he is holding on to the old me. It is easier to show new people the new you than to convince old people that you have changed.
3. Know that you are valuable and worth the wait. Having boundaries often means that your dating or road to fulfil your dreams may take longer, but it will be worth the wait. Anything worth having has rules to obtain it and maintain it.
If you find yourself constantly being hurt or disappointment by the behavior or mistreatment of others, I'm willing to bet it is due to not having clear boundaries in place.
Meditate on these scriptures then (if you haven't done so) go set your boundaries
Like a city that is broken down and without walls (leaving it unprotected) is a man who has no self control over his spirit (and sets himself up for trouble). -Proverbs 25:28 (AMP)
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? - 2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)
Let what you say be simply "Yes" or "No"; anything more than this comes from evil - Matthew 5:37 (ESV)
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. - 1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. - Titus 3:10 (ESV)