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Boundaries or Brick Walls?

…leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”, who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.

1 Peter 2:21b-24 NKJV

I love girlfriends. Community is a strong gift with which the Lord has filled the seasons of my life. I would tease any one of you that I know all of God’s favorite girls, and they have become the best of my friends. (hint: we are all His favorites!) So then as it always is, experiencing the opposite can come as a shock. I entered a new situation and found that one of the girls I was yoked in circumstance with was not to be any kind of a friend, but an enemy. After serious insults and slights that affected my kids, bore holes between my husband and myself, and made me anxious anytime I had to be near her, I decided to face the circumstance head on. I went into the conversation prayed up and ready for reconciliation, I came out slaughtered and stunned. Curse words and blame rung in my ears. I was crushed…and really really mad. As the days and weeks went on, and I rehearsed the conversation and all the tart one-liners I should have said, I found quickly that a hard armor was forming on my mind and heart.

Over and over the Holy Spirit led me to 1 Peter, reminding me that the terse and sharp arguments in my head were actually just reviling words. Though I wanted to threaten her weaknesses so I would never suffer from her again, it would lead me far away from any kind of righteous judgment. I found wisdom in blessing instead of cursing, and gave my soul patience to really mean it when I prayed blessings over her life. When the emotions would bubble up in my heart I would whisper to the Lord what I had already learned in knowing Him for so long…”I know you can heal me of anything, Lord”. I internally laid my guards down and let the Holy Spirit keep my heart soft. I didn’t notice, however, that there was a twinge of something else in the mix. I started saving screenshots on my phone that touted strong boundaries and themes of hanging toxic and unrepentant people out dry. Cutting out unsafe people and surrounding myself with people that serve my purpose and passions. Cute font, muted colors, strong mantras - you’ve seen it. It spoke to the innocence I felt in the circumstance and empowered me.

Recently, through family circumstances, I needed to have interaction with this girl over and over again. I felt great about the condition of my heart, the freedom that the Lord had brought to me and how I could easily interact with her without any defenses up. Thank you Lord! I found her unchanged and miserably the same, but I WAS CHANGED. The Lord had thoroughly healed my mind and emotions from the disaster she had spun with myself and my kids.

Then, after some time, she got in my business, my actual business. My interactions with her had been safe for a few months, but then she invaded the business side of my life that up to this point, had totally belonged to me. She took advice and strategy and function and threw it in my face and interacted with my colleagues, making a huge mess for me to wade through. Relaying the story, I gritted my teeth when I told my husband, “This part of my life belongs to me and I get to choose who is in this sphere and I absolutely would never choose her!” Ah. There it was. The root that the Holy Spirit needed to bubble up to the surface for me to face. That while very healed, I had also made walls and rules for how I was going to let this girl interact with my life.

Of course I was calling them boundaries, which is quite catchy, but really they were my boundaries that replaced the role God has in my life to be a “shelter to me, a strong tower from the enemy” Psalm 61. When MY boundaries were breached I became distraught again. In an instant it was clear to me that if I had lived for righteousness instead of clear lines, as 1 Peter urges me to do, I wouldn’t have been undone by her actions. I would have been reminded that I am kept, protected and overseen by the Shepherd of my heart and that has healed me completely. There is no provision for supernatural peace and joy when I set my own boundaries, those provisions exist as I let the Holy Spirit lead me into the shelter set aside for me. In the months that have followed I’ve repented of protecting myself, and allowed the Lord to do extra healing on my mindset and emotions. I haven’t strengthened myself with mantras for myself or mandates for interactions with her. I’ve just let Him keep me safe and oversee my soul.

Lord, just as you have set the boundaries between the sea and the land, you are trustworthy to set the boundaries between myself and anything that threatens me. Your peace and joy are gifts that have already been given to me as you have overcome the world on my behalf. I trust you. I see that you love me and that You heal me thoroughly. I commit myself to your judgments, which are always righteous, and know you will always lead me in paths of life.

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