Beauty of Boundaries
Purposeful Pathway is a haven for faith-based entrepreneurs. Part of my mission is equipping faith-based businesses with information that is practical, actionable and Scriptural.
The theme of this post is the “beauty” of boundaries.
Boundary. The word often sounds cold and hard, doesn’t it? And yet, as I am sure you have, I have found there is a beauty to boundaries!
But before we explore this beauty, let’s take a look at what is a boundary. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “boundary” as “something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.”
This is a helpful starting point, but what does this definition mean from an emotional and spiritual standpoint? According to Nina W Brown, Ed.D., there are four main types of psychological boundaries: soft, spongy, rigid and flexible. The ideal boundaries are flexible, as the individual chooses what to let in and what to keep out.
In reference to letting in, Jesus told us “it is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) In reference to keeping out, the Scriptures guide us to “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Faith-based boundaries let in that which is from God and keep out that which is not from Him.
How does this relate to a healthy Christian business?
Healthy boundaries allow us to let in the projects, people and positions that will best glorify God and serve others; and, on the other side of the coin, healthy boundaries will allow us to keep out the projects, people and positions that are not best in glorifying God and serving others. It may seem generous to give all that others ask of us; yet we learn quickly that devoting our time, money and energy in the wrong places (or in the wrong proportions) only distracts us from pouring our resources into the right places. Healthy boundaries are a powerful part of a purposeful pathway!
We have looked at what boundaries are and why they are important. How can we better enjoy the beauty of boundaries in our businesses?
- Determine that boundary-establishment and boundary-maintenance is important for your business (and your life). Without making this determination, you will have no incentive to move forward. Prayerfully commit to making and maintaining clearer and stronger boundaries.
- Ask the Lord where weak boundaries have been detrimental in business and in life. Perhaps, for example, you find yourself discounting your services often. It may seem generous to do this, yet we actually disempower our clients when we buy into stories of poverty rather than hold them accountable to a new vision of abundance in Christ. We receive what we believe, and we get what we expect; holding boundaries around our fee structures allows us to raise the expectations of and build the faith in our clients.
- Determine the specifics of setting boundaries in those areas. What will it look like to create boundaries in the areas you have listed? Some specific examples may be: standing firm on pricing, disengaging from people who demand too much of your time, and turning off your phone ringer in order to return calls when it is best for your business schedule. Specific action steps are the concrete materials that build your boundaries.
- Prepare for others’ reactions in the initial stages. When we draw boundaries, it is often unsettling for those around us. Do not be discouraged by receiving some “backlash” such as pushing or complaining from others. Take heart; this will diminish. Eventually others will realize that your boundaries are firmly set, and – more often than not – they will respect you for this.
- Prepare for discomfort internally. Yes, expect a reaction from yourself! Setting and maintaining boundaries is generally not an easy and comfortable process, particularly in the onset. Trust that the discomfort will pass and that it is well worth the fruit borne of a healthy boundary.
- Document your progress. Journal specifically about what boundaries you set, when you set them, how you established them, how you maintained them, what reactions you received, and the positive fruit borne from them.
- Bask in the beauty of the boundary! Enjoy the fruits of your labor! It is wonderfully empowering and enriching for you and for all around you when you set healthy boundaries. Document the fruit in your journal and, most importantly, lift praise to God!
I am excited for you as you build beautiful boundaries for your benefit, for the blessing of others and for God’s glory!
If you need help in establishing beautiful boundaries for your business, I would be happy to help in this powerful process. I offer to you a complimentary “Boost my Business” session. You will walk away with clarity, renewed vision and a completely customized clear-cut next-step action plan. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time or click here.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You for nourishing us with Your Word. Help us, O Lord, to let in that which is from You and to keep out that which is not. Help us to embrace those things which will further our businesses for Your glory. Strengthen us as we establish healthy boundaries to bless others and build Your Kingdom. We love You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.