‘I have learned the secret of living in every situation.’ Philippians 4:12 NLT

Inflexible boundaries can cause you to shut other people out and live unprepared and unable to participate in the give-and-take that healthy relationships require. Holes in your boundaries leave you open to ‘users’ who feel entitled to manipulate you and expect you to be the solution to their every problem. Having a flexible boundary allows you to live your own life and keep a balanced and healthy interest in others. You should be generous in sharing your time, compassion and resources, but not at the expense of becoming overly responsible, or betraying your God-given duty to be the unique person He made you to be, just to please others. A healthy relationship with others, shouldn’t mean you have to give up being you! So don’t let others violate your boundaries. You can bend and adjust as circumstances require, but don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed, defensive, resentful, blaming or reactive. In tough situations stay focused and draw on the well of inner strength God provides.

Paul was such a person: ‘I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the One who strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4:12–13 NET)

Let God, not other people and circumstances, control you. Be helpful, but don’t feel guilty because you can’t ‘fix’ everybody. Your boundaries enable you to adjust to circumstances. Practise ‘Bear one another’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), but don’t let others just dump their problems on you.

SoulFood: Job 5–7, Luke 16:19–31, Ps 26, Pro 7:26–27

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©