God's given me stewardship over my feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. I need to recognize and guard them as gifts from God.
He's given me responsibility over those things, and I have complete freedom to choose what I do with them.
They are, in fact, the only things I truly control.
But I often forget that.
And when I forget, I live with unhealthy boundaries.
When I allow others' words and actions to dictate how I respond, I forfeit my freedom. I hand over the power I have to choose. I surrender the control and stewardship I've been given by God. I allow others to define me instead of embracing God's definition of me.
On the flip side, when I forget the freedom others have, I try to take responsibility for what they alone are stewards over. I attempt to fix people, overcompensate for them, or smooth things over when they are upset. But in doing so, I am overstepping my boundaries.
I am responsible only for my own life.
Having and enforcing boundaries isn't about controlling or punishing others. It's about treasuring and guarding the feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors God has given me stewardship over.
Living with healthy boundaries means not attempting to take responsibility for others' responses and choices, and not forfeiting the responsibility I have over my own.
I've lived my whole life with unhealthy boundaries. In some ways, I've lived with no boundaries at all.
My emotions and inner commentaries are often swayed by others' words, actions, and attitudes. And I am quick to take responsibility for other people's choices.
But I want to live different.
I want to live free and healthy, and in a way that helps others live free and healthy as well.
I can't really say that I've gotten better at not responding based on how others treat me.
In fact, if I'm being most honest, I still don't really know how to even change that... how to not be so deeply affected by others.
And right now, my struggles with this are really causing my heart to hurt. There's a stinging ache deep inside me that just seems to hurt more everyday.
But I've become more aware of those moments where I hand control over to someone else. And those moments where I take on what isn't mine to carry.
I see it for what it is now, which is more than I've ever done before.
And that gives my heart hope.
Even while she hurts.