How To Rebuild A Strong Boundary To Keep You Safe
Sometimes life tears down the boundary fences that keep out danger. Unless we are proactive and rebuild a healthy fence, we won’t feel safe or find courage to embrace the abundant life.
When I moved to Nebraska, my life was in shambles. In the midst of some difficult life events, I struggled to find strength to face the simple things in life.
Then I met Celeste. She faced adversity with boldness, had strong boundaries, and was growing in the Lord. I respected her. With timidity, I approached her and asked her to be my mentor.
What does your Fence Look Like?
One of our first discussions centered around fences. “What does the fence around the garden of my life look like?” I had no idea.
A few years before Dan Allender had challenged me to make my life a lovely garden for Jesus to dwell in. That made sense. But a fence? Why did I need a fence around my garden?
Celeste didn’t allow sidetracks, knowing head knowledge gets in the way of deep personal experience. “Ask the Lord to show you what your garden and fence look like.”
Quiet before the Lord, I waited. Behind closed eyes, I saw a barren wasteland devoid of a fence or boundary of any kind. That wasteland extended to fill the horizon.
I had no idea where my garden ended and other property began. I shuddered. Instinctively I knew I was powerless and predators lay in the shadows waiting to attack.
What Kind of Fence Do you Want?
Celeste’s next question took me by surprise. “Well, what kind of fence would you like to have?”
“Do you mean I have a choice???”
“Yes! If you could choose any kind of a fence, what would it look like?”
I smiled. I loved the fences in England. Stone, thick hedges, all kinds of fences. But, my dream house had a white picket fence.
“Well, put a white picket fence around your garden!”
Feeling a bit silly, I imagined a white picket fence set in place. Now the garden was still a wreck, barren, and devoid of life. But it had a fence!
Can you imagine why it was important to begin with a fence?
You guessed it! Now there was a boundary between what was me and what wasn’t me.
- Abuse violates our boundaries.
- Violence destroys our boundaries.
- With no boundaries, there can be no protection, no safe place, no intimacy with Jesus.
It’s true. You can hide in your mind. Pushed there by abuse, you build an illusionary world in a desperate attempt to feel safe. But devoid of boundaries, the enemy of your soul holds power over you.
What’s the point? You need a boundary in real time to keep out real enemies.
A Gate With a Latch Only On The Inside
Next, Celeste instructed me on the placement of the latch.
The only way to gain entrance must be when I open the gate. The latch must be on the inside.
Then it hit me:
Permission must be granted for someone to enter your garden. You aren’t safe if others can enter whenever they want.
Do you have a boundary in your life no one else can cross?
What have we learned so far?
1. Your garden needs a gate.
2. The gate needs a latch only you can open!
This is Scriptural. The Lord Jesus says He stands at the door of your heart and knocks to gain entrance.
Jesus is a Gentleman. He won’t violate your will. The choice is yours. It’s your responsibility to choose if you invite Jesus into your life or not.
In the same way, it’s important to choose who or what enters the garden of your life.
You don’t need to be vulnerable unless you choose. The Lord doesn’t want you to be a doormat. He wants you to have a strong boundary so no one can take advantage of you.
When I work with a person one on one, I like to focus on spiritual self-care.
You are body, soul, and spirit. It’s important to minister to all of you so you become strong in the Lord.
If you’re only strong in your body or strong in your soul, it makes you out of sync with the Holy Spirit.
If you’ve ever experienced an abusive situation, it’s evidence your boundaries were violated and your fence broken down. As a new creation, to grow in Christ, it’s important to begin by establishing a boundary around the garden of your life that only you control.
I hear you ask, “Why? What difference does that make.”
Great question! You are a tripartite being. Body. Soul. Spirit.
BODY: Your body may be strong but that means your flesh life is strong. The flesh cannot produce strength of character or honor God.
SOUL: Your soul may be strong. But your soul power is derived from the kingdom of darkness. Soul power ultimately brings death.
SPIRIT: Only your spirit communes with the Holy Spirit. If there’s no boundary around your spirit, you are weak and in extreme danger.
You are valuable. Without a boundary, you won’t believe that.
The Lord God gave you sovereignty of choice and wants you to have a strong boundary for your life.
There’s a catch.
Only you can bring your spirit under the authority of the Holy Spirit so you grow strong in your innermost being. Only you can choose if you have a fence around the garden of your heart.
A Healing Activity
- Ask the Lord to quiet your heart.
- Close your eyes. Invite the Holy Spirit to show you your garden. What does it look like?
- Is there a fence? Has it been knocked down? Is your garden left open to predators?
- Write down what the Lord showed you. Try to sketch what you saw.
- How does that make you feel?
- Choose life!
- Take time to imagine a fence around the garden of your heart. What do you want it to look like?
- Ask Jesus to help you put your fence in place.
- Choose where the latch is placed.
- Be specific. Does it bolt on the inside so there’s no access to anyone unless you invite them in? If it doesn’t, anyone has power to violate you.
- Ask Jesus to be the fence around your life.
- Give thanks Jesus wants you to choose to step inside a safe boundary that honors you and honors Him. He wants the latch on your fence to only be accessible to you.
Boundaries are crucial for safety. I pray you choose to place a fence around the garden of your life to find safety in Christ.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins,
you will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
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Thank you for this post, Ms. Barbara, especially after the one about toxic relationships in which you encouraged us to set a boundary with those who may be toxic to us. Toxic people only enter our lives because we don’t have boundaries for ourselves, so the boundary has to start with myself.
This was an exercise you walked me through years ago, but revisiting my garden now, I’ve found it wild and my fence dilapidated. Thank you for taking me back to my garden and to the Lord–who can be my boundary, my fence, my safe place.
Now, I’ve got some serious weeding to do! 🙂
The important thing is to ask the Lord to be your fence. He is the Repairer of the broken hedges!
As you focus on Jesus, allow His thoughts and words to become your thoughts and words – the Holy Spirit will guide you into all righteousness. Let Him have His perfect way, inviting Him to cleanse your garden and make it fruitful.