What Does the Bible Say about Setting Personal Boundaries?

Learning the intricacies of setting personal boundaries can be difficult, especially for us as women who are taught to be “nice.” But did you know God’s goal for your life is not that you are nice, but that you make a difference? When it comes to setting personal boundaries, we often mistake niceties for kindness. But we know, by Galatians 5, that kindness is one of the fruits that produce a good harvest. 

The Biblical Principle for Setting Personal Boundaries

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”—Galatians 6:7 (emphasis added)

That we reap what we sow is a biblical principle God has used throughout time. However, it can be hard to know what we are sowing. 

That’s why we are going to unpack why and how God wants us to set personal boundaries in our lives.

When we know why and how God wants us to establish boundaries, we can walk in our purpose. 

Setting Personal Boundaries Is a Challenge

We often have a people-pleasing mentality over a God-pleasing mentality. Setting personal boundaries can be difficult if we…

  • Haven’t seen boundary setting modeled for us.
  • Allow guilt to guide us, rather than God’s voice.

If you are like most women, the difficulty regarding setting personal boundaries has prevented you from walking in the fullness of your purpose. As women, we need to be on watch for areas in our lives that need God’s beautiful and protective boundaries surrounding them. 

When we place God’s gate around our souls, guarding and protecting where we spend our time and energy, and with whom, we can be all he created us to be. 

Why Do We Want God Setting Personal Boundaries for Us?

Because you matter. When you walk in the fullness of who you were created to be, there is a deep soul satisfaction that God gives you, and others will benefit too. When you surround yourself with people who lift you up, you will be able to lift up those whom God has called you to help. 

In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded to throw, or strip off, every weight that slows us down. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”—Hebrews 12:1

Jesus said, “’For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’” (Matthew 11:30). 

Here’s the key: God’s boundaries for our lives are meant to give us direction for our purpose. They keep us on his path—the path we were created to follow. This is why we want God setting personal boundaries for us!

Setting Personal Boundaries | Protecting Our Time

The way we spend our time can weigh us down. Have you ever put time and energy into areas that leave you feeling exhausted? If you take on something that isn’t your responsibility, such as another person’s happiness, you end up hindering your harvest.

Time is a seed we sow. When we say yes to things because we would feel guilty about saying no, we put the harvest at stake. 

Ask God to guide you in your “yeses.” Because when we say yes to something that he wants someone else to do or that is not our responsibility, it’s like the seed that falls on the path but isn’t in good soil—no harvest is created. 

Protect your time by following the Lord’s lead as to where you place your energy. Setting personal boundaries around your time is just as important as setting personal boundaries with the people you spend it with. 

The Bible Reminds Us…

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”—Psalm 90:12

Setting Personal Boundaries | Freeing Ourselves from Guilt

In setting personal boundaries, we can free ourselves from guilt. Saying no to things that are not meant for us frees us to say yes to God. This process guides us into good soil. The good soil surrounds us with the right environment to grow—and then we begin to soar. 

If you know you struggle with setting personal boundaries, begin praying today for Jesus to reveal where and with whom you need to establish boundaries. Don’t wait until a situation arises when you know you need to say no, but end up saying yes out of guilt. 

Ask Jesus to start protecting you from the feeling of guilt. Guilt is the culprit that pulls us back. God has a life of freedom planned for you, but guilt will hinder that harvest of freedom. 

If you struggle with saying no, then look for guidance in the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave us the Spirit for this very reason—to guide us in our futures and purpose. 

The Bible Reminds Us…

“’When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.’”—John 16:13

2 Ways to Begin Setting Personal Boundaries… Today!

1. Seek the Farmer As Your Filter

Setting personal boundaries is… well, personal. Just as different plants thrive in different soils, we each have different boundaries. One of us may struggle with saying no to a friend, whereas another may struggle with saying yes to joining a small group. Either way, we need to seek the Farmer as our filter. 

We are meant to produce a harvest, so let God—our Farmer—filter what nourishes the soil we are planted in. 

2. Speak with Love and Respect

As we develop our boundary-setting skills, we can be tempted to not speak up at all or speak with judgment in our hearts.  

When we speak with words of love and respect, we are to also do it in truth (Ephesians 4:15). We can set boundaries by clarifying that it is not intended to be disrespectful, but to bring clarity. In fact, setting boundaries with respect and honesty is an act of love. 

On the flip side, if we decide a boundary is a law, not a hedge of protection that is intended to guide us in the season we are in, judgment can set in. 

Therefore, we can respectfully set a boundary by saying something such as, “Right now, in this season, God has me here. And in this season, this person or situation won’t help me produce the harvest God has for me. Maybe this will change, but this is my boundary today.”

In Conclusion…

Understand that setting personal boundaries is a skill that needs to be developed by most of us. 

As women, we are often taught to either…

  • Have no boundaries and say yes to everything we are asked to do.
  • Build a wall that creates a law in our hearts so that we won’t experience soul hurts. 

Instead, we can think of the journey of boundary setting as a daily walk with Jesus. Ask Jesus to create a fence around your life and place him at the gate. Ask him to direct you with regard to whom and what you open the gate for. 

Setting personal boundaries requires moment-by-moment choices. They are daily decisions to make with the Lord. But trust me when I say this: The closer you connect with the words of Jesus, the clearer his boundaries for your life are—and with that clarity comes your purpose. 

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