‘I have learned the secret of living in every situation.’ Philippians 4:12 NLT
Rigid boundaries cause you to shut other people out and live unprepared and ill-equipped for the give-and-take that healthy relationships require. Permeable boundaries leave you defenceless against ‘users’ who feel entitled to manipulate you and who expect to be taken care of at your expense. But flexible boundary people are competent in living their own life, yet with a balanced and healthy interest in others. They can be generous in sharing their time, compassion and resources, without becoming overly responsible, or betraying their God-given duty to be the unique person He made them, just to please others. They say, ‘I can be in a relationship with you, without giving up being me!’ They don’t let you violate their boundaries, and they know how to keep from violating yours. Unlike rigid people, they bend and adjust as circumstances require, without becoming overwhelmed, defensive, resentful, blaming or reactive. In tough situations they roll with the punches, stay focused and draw on a well of inner strength which God provides.
Paul was such a person: ‘I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the One who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:12 12–13 NET)
People and circumstances don’t control such people; they flex, and let God take charge. They are helpful, but they don’t feel guilty because they can’t ‘fix’ everybody. Their boundaries enable them to adjust to circumstances. They practise the principle, ‘Bear one another’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), without doing too much or being responsible for others.
SoulFood: Job 5–7, Luke 16:19–31, Ps 26, Pro 7:26–27
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021
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