"Barriers set relationships on a regressive course that leads to isolation. Boundaries set relationships on a progressive course that leads to connection."
Unglued (p. 85)
I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't struggled with boundaries.
I find it so hard to say the simple word "no" and to set limits on my behavior.
If I'm involved in a conversation, I don't want it to end.
If someone needs my help, I don't want to disappoint them.
If someone asks me for something, I don't want to to turn them away.
But painful lessons in reality have taught me that I can't be all things to all people - and I wasn't meant to be. That's God's job.
When I try to give or be more than I am capable of I become depleted and defeated. I shut myself off from others so I won't have to feel the disappointment of not meeting their expectations. Walls of resentment become barriers and cut off healthy communication.
I am learning through God's grace that I cannot always be who others need me to be. I will let others down and feel saddened by my weaknesses and limitations. But ultimately these are only reminders that I am not God. My job is to stay closely connected to Him through prayer and His Word so that I can discern the things I am truly called to do and leave the rest to Him through faith. My job begins with listening.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)