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Flourishing with Healthy Boundaries

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream" (Jer. 17:7-8a).

Boundaries come with a big bag of emotions including anxiety, stress, fear, and guilt. Sometimes we fail to respect other people's boundaries because we want to be in control. Or we don't hold our own boundaries, and other people's messes spill over into our space. Establishing and respecting healthy boundaries can be tough, but without them, we can't bloom where we're planted. It's hard to put down roots when we're busy trying to disentangle ourselves from people or situations.

Why are boundaries important?

I live in a beautiful mountain town, where most yards are enclosed by extraordinarily high fences. This seems strange to visitors until we explain the abundance of wildlife we share our space with. Fences are a tool that protect what's inside, but they also protect the wildlife from a negative outcome. In the same way, healthy boundaries protect us, but they also help others. When we compromise what's healthy for ourselves, we encourage negative behavior and outcomes in others.

A boundary shows you where your responsibility ends, and someone else's begins. Knowing what you're responsible for gives you freedom, which allows you to grow into the person God created you to be.

Boundaries at Work

Years ago, I got a new boss. He’d been in his role two months when I took an overdue vacation. In a single morning, he called me twice. I picked up both times. After the third call, I vented to my friends. One said, “Don’t get mad at him. He’s operating within the boundaries you'