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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Smith


Updated: Jun 17, 2023

An important lesson I’ve learned in life, and have only recently fully grasped, is healthy boundaries. To be honest, I have fought grasping it because I’ve just hated the word. It sounds so limiting and selfish. However, without boundaries we can become depleted and embittered very quickly. One of the ways we can quickly deplete all of our time, energy and money, is when we try to help and/or change those who do not want to change, who do not want our help, or who do not want to help themselves. When we fall into this pattern, it is called enabling and/or codependency.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about this, is that when I am spending my time on those who do not want to help themselves, I don’t have the necessary resources to spend on those who truly need my help. Those who are willing to work hard, be honest with others and themselves, and who truly do not have access to the necessary opportunities needed to change their situation.

Setting boundaries, learning to say no and getting your priorities straight are not selfish; their wise and necessary. Imagine if you focused more on using your resources to help those who want and appreciate your help; and who are willing to do the hard work required to make a lasting change? Think about the people who have changed the world and have made a true impact. Would you call them selfish? Do you think they could have made the impact they made, had they been enabling others and allowing themselves to be used by takers and/or those who are lazy?

Don’t get me wrong, we still need to show anyone in need the patience and love of Christ, and offer them opportunities to make changes but don’t do more for them than they are willing and capable of doing for themselves.

Below are a list of books I’ve read over the years that have been so helpful:

1. “Good Boundaries and Goodbyes” by Lysa Terkhuerst

2. “Boundaries” by Cloud & Townscend

3. “Boundaries in Dating” by Cloud & Townscend (no I am not currently reading this one. Lol I read it over and over during my 12 years of singleness, after my divorce in 2000. I feel it’s a must read for singles!!! I think I gave away more copies than I read.

4. “Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick This one is really good. She’s a Christian who unpacks truths from scripture that dispel some of the misinterpretations the church has been speaking over wives for centuries. It’s a great read for anyone in a destructive marriage or who simply has women/girls in their lives that they have the opportunity to counsel in any way.

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