Learn how to create healthy boundaries in your relationships.
Sometimes we feel as though in order to love, we must give our whole heart to every person in our lives. The truth is that granting full access to our heart to everyone is really not loving, healthy or wise.
We know that God has called all of us to love unconditionally. When we can determine boundaries in our own hearts, we will actually be able to do this in a healthy way. What healthy boundaries do is help us to keep the bad out and to let the good in.
I want to give you some questions that you can ask to help create these boundaries in the relationships in your life. The more you can say yes to these things, you know you can allow more heart access to those individuals. The more noes a person has on this list, the less access they should be given. This is creating proper space in your heart based upon the level of health in the relationship. This means that you can love all unconditionally while still fostering the powerful ability to "guard your heart" and maintain a life of internal health.
Questions to Assess Your Relationships and Create Healthy Boundaries
1. Do they avoid emotionalism, drama, gossip and criticism? (Honestly, if someone is gossiping to you about someone else, it is more than likely they would also gossip about you to others.)
2. Do they honestly and authentically value you?
3. Do you trust them to protect your heart?
4. Do they both give to you and receive from you. (Is there an exchange of life in this relationship? Are we building one another and supporting one another?)
5. Do they have pure motives and unselfish agendas?
6. Do they ask for forgiveness, and do they forgive quickly? (Relationships where we are quick to repent and forgive bring us safety because we can be confident that when we make a mistake, we can mend and move forward.)
7. Do they love you without title, position, or what they can get from you? (This is a relationship where there isn't usury and hidden agendas, and we aren't being taken advantage of just for what we can give.)
8. Do they celebrate your success without competition or rivalry?
9. Do they share their hearts and listen to yours without judgment?
10. Do they focus on their own self-control or on controlling you?
11. Do they possess character, integrity, and avoid toxic behaviors?
12. Do they treat you and others with respect and honor?
As you ask yourself these questions, recognize that you are not turning away from people or even withholding love. Rather, you are doing the healthy and powerful work of "guarding your heart," which will allow you to better love others, love yourself and impact your world for good.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT), "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Father, I pray for each one, and I ask that You give them wisdom in every relationship in their life so that they can fully love unconditionally. In Jesus' name.
This article is available in video form here.
Dr. Melodye Hilton is the co-host of the upcoming Life Exchange podcast on Charisma Podcast Network (coming late summer 2021). Melodye works with individuals and workgroups around the globe as a leadership consultant, behavioral analyst and executive coach. For over 38 years, she and her husband, Steven, have served as the founders and co-leaders of Giving Light, a local church and global resource center located in the heart of central Pennsylvania. In addition, she has founded the #StopDevaluation movement in an effort to see hearts and cultures healed through love and validation.
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