If I value what is me, if I see what is me as worthwhile, as God-given, as God-designed, as valuable, as worthy of nurture, growth and development, then defining and guarding it so that it can grow and develop becomes important. As my bubble comes into contact with another bubble, then I realize I have something worthwhile to share with them. I recognize that they are wonderful and valuable, so I don't need an agenda to change them or fix them. I recognize and live out of my dependence on God, os I don't have to try to control or manipulate them to meet my needs.
When I realize I am valuable and my bubble guards what is valuable, and when I realize you are valuable and your bubble guards what is valuable, then . . .
- I respect your boundaries
- I am free to be who I am
- I am free to connect with you and share with you parts of myself
- I am able to be salt and light because I can allow God to shine through the person He desires me to be.
Sometimes what happens is we live inside our bubble and we don't see who and what we are as valuable and important. We look at other people's bubbles and think how much prettier or bigger they are and we try to get our bubble to look like their bubble. Perhaps we put up barriers so that no one will really know what's inside our bubble. Maybe we create a false bubble in an attempt to look like the other bubbles. Sometimes we try so hard to fit in with all the other bubbles that we lose the self that God intended us to be and the voice God intended us to have.
When I see both my bubble and your bubble as absolutely beautiful, as unique, as having a calling from God that no one else can answer, as having a voice that no one else can duplicate, as being a grain of salt that can add a flavor as no one else can then . . .
- There is no need for comparison. (We are both equally valuable and amazing.)
- There is no need for competition (or jealousy). (God has separate and specific work for us to do . . . and there's plenty to go around.)
- I can accept you (and myself) exactly as you (we) are and enjoy the wonder of who you are. I can see you as a treasure box, full of wonderful surprises to be discovered. I can leave any fixing, any transforming work to God and God alone.
- I can share your journey and enjoy those times we have together, especially as I depend on God and trust Him to meet my needs. I have no need to control or manipulate you, because there is nothing I am dependent on you to give me.
- I am able to say, "I want you in my life" because I enjoy you and you add so much to my life, rather than say, "I need you" for what you give me.
- When our bubbles come in contact with each other it brings genuine joy and pleasure and needs are genuinely met (not through contrivance or manipulation or control, but out of our love for each other and obedience to God), and the experience is one we want to have over and over again. However if or bubbles become too connected and we lose ourselves - the voice or person God's called us to be is stilled or eclipsed - or we demand the other person meet our needs - instead of allowing need meeting to flow out of love and obedience - or we begin to focus on doing what only God should do (pointing out faults and trying to fix the other person) then it becomes painful to have our bubbles connect and the more pain that's generated the less we want to have the connection, the further away we want to run.
In our relationships there are certain things that as a person we have the right to say or to ask. There are also things that by their very nature infringe on another person's bubble and we don't have the right to say or do.
- I always have the right to disagree with you, but I don't have the right to belittle you or put down you or your idea.
- I always have the right to tell you if you've done something that hurts me, but I can only expect you to take responsibility for the obedience or disobedience of your actions, not for my feelings.
- We have the right to disagree, even to argue but never to use the disagreement to purposely hurt the other.
- I have the right to ask for your help, even the right to ask you to meet my need, but I never have the right to manipulate or try to control you into doing it.
- I have the right to state and enforce my boundaries and I have an obligation/responsibility to respect yours.
- I have the right to express my opinion, to voice my concerns, but never the right to trample on you, to disparage the person God has made you to be.
- I have the right to ask for or, if necessary, to remove myself from relationship to create space and to preserve the bubble that is me. I also have the responsibility to do this in obedience and with love and compassion.
- I have the right to choose to love you, to choose to be a friend, but never the right to seek to force you to do the same.
- I always have the responsibility to be the person that God has made me to be, to speak what God has asked me to say, to do what God has asked me to do and I have the right to ask that you allow me to do this, and if necessary I have to put whatever boundaries are necessary to create whatever space in the relationship necessary to insure that I am who God has made me to be and I do what God has called me to do. That is my highest priority and ultimately the purpose of my bubble.
Boundaries are important
to our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
How do you use boundaries to keep yourself healthy?