For many of us, the boundary lines of our hearts have become blurred. Or, in some cases, the boundaries have been confused and weakened causing chaos, trespassing, intrusions, and flat out invasions. Intruded hearts are wounded, broken hearts. When our hearts are wounded and broken, it effects all aspects of our lives--our thoughts, feelings, relationships, and actions. Life is lived at a deficit because we are not functioning out our level best.
It should come as no surprise then that God, in his infinite love and care as a good Father, would give us guidelines and parameters within his word for establishing and maintaining boundaries in our lives. In fact, based upon Proverbs 4:23, setting boundaries is a biblical mandate. When opt to make a volitional decision to follow the Father's instruction, we are positioned to live lives of supernatural joy, peace, and satisfaction.
Hebrew Word Study of Proverbs 4:23
- keep (H5341) natsar: protect, maintain, guard, watch, preserve, guard from dangers
- heart (H3820) leb: feelings, the will, mind, intellect, inclination, conscience; seat of appetites, passions, and emotions; seat of courage
- diligence (H4929) mishmar: guard, guard-house, watch, place of confinement
- issues (H8444) towtsa'ah: boundary, border, issues, outgoing
- life (H2416) chay: life, sustenance, community
A word study of Proverbs 4:23, gives us a closer look and a better understanding of the depth and level of ferocity for which we are to guard to our heart. We are called to watch over our heart in the same way a guard would persistently and diligently guard a person or entity. We are to stand guard and be on alert at all times when it comes to guarding our hearts. Why? Because everything we say, think, feel, and do is a by-product of our heart and the boundaries thereof.
So, how do we establish and maintain biblical boundaries in our lives, particularly as it relates to unavoidable interactions with difficult, toxic people? We turn to God's word for insight. Consider the following:
1. Ask God for wisdom and help in establishing healthy boundaries that will enable you to walk in love, peace, and grace towards all. (Romans 12:18, Ephesians 5:20)
2. Practice self-awareness. Know your triggers and push-points. We cannot change others, but we can cultivate an awareness and understanding of how others impact our lives. (I Peter 5:8)
3. KNOW that you have the mind of Christ. You have the ability to think like Jesus. You can reframe your thoughts and redefine your relationship to reflect the same.
4. Evaluate whom you allow to speak into your life and how you allow them to speak into your life. As Christians, we are called to exhort, edify, and encourage one another. This is biblical community. (Hebrews 3:13, I Thessalonians 5:11)
5. Walk in wisdom (Ephesians 5:15-21)
6. Surround yourself with safe, godly, truthful, trustworthy people. (Proverbs 15:22)
7. Commit to the spiritual discipline of daily prayer and meditation on the word of God. Doing so builds your faith and strengthens your capacity to maintain the biblical boundaries you establish. (Colossians 4:2, Joshua 1:8)