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Love Always has Boundaries


While I was driving out of state to go see a client for an important in-person session (which is quite unusual for me to do) I had plenty of time to think. At one point in the quiet drive, I was reflecting on her brave decision to hold healthy boundaries around herself for the first time in her life. She grew up in a horribly abusive environment and her parents continued to speak word curses over her prior to when we began working together nearly 9 months earlier.


In one of our sessions, we discussed the importance of values and beginning to identify what is important to her. I explained that values serve as an invisible boundary around our lives. If she can’t communicate what she values and act on them with intention, there’s no boundary which then allows anything and anyone to come and go as they please.


I held space for her over the months while she struggled to identify, maintain and communicate her values to others. Her self-worth was non-existent. Merriam-webster’s dictionary defines self-worth as a sense of one’s own value as a human being. The years of abuse, neglect and shame stole that from her. As she learned to understand her inherent value and identity from God – her Creator – it become easier over time to uphold the appropriate boundaries around her life. Not to keep people out, but to create a safe place to live out her abundant life which includes physical, emotional and psychological safety.


Boundaries are meant to lovingly protect ourselves and to respectfully show others how we want to be treated; like fencing in our yard protecting our property. We establish the boundary and put up fencing around the things we want to protect. We can’t expect others to uphold our values, that’s for us to do. The more consistently we adhere to what is important to us, the more others will.


As I continued to drive, I began to think about how effective electric fencing is. People don’t dare cross that boundary or else they know they will get shocked. This may sound cruel and too self-protective; but let’s be honest, most often people get hurt, or confused, and even shocked by other’s behavior anyway. A strong, dependable fence (boundary) allows for protection and safety for each person in the relationship.


Additionally, it is not our job to go into another’s space/property and put up fencing for them based on our values. Just imagine walking over to your neighbors and putting up a fence around their yard that you think is necessary, makes you see how ridiculous that would be; however, that is what it looks like when we attempt to control others with our values and expect them to act within those boundaries.


That’s often where our focus goes – towards other’s actions and reactions. I had been sharing with my client that we are focusing on her and less on her abusive family. That little by little we would be taking back her power and wielding it within her new healthy boundaries. As she became more self-aware (naming her values) and intentional (living those values out in her life with purpose and good intention), her new boundaries gave her a sense of stability for the first time in her life!


Boundaries can also make others uncomfortable. As for my client, her new boundaries brought out feelings of anger, confusion, and even shock among her extended family members. I reminded her that if she stays focused on her core values and expresses them with love and respect, she can surrender the rest to God.


As I continued to drive, my mind shifted to memories of growing up with several large sections of wrought-iron fencing that my mom had from her parents’ yard. She loved that fencing and would use it wherever she could in the small backyard of our townhouse. Some leaned against the existing wood fence and a couple other pieces were used in the commons area to protect her beautiful garden as well as to not make it easy for people to have access.


As we grew, my mom moved to a couple different places always having to lug around these heavy and apparently valuable wrought-iron fences, but they would go unused. Years turned into decades as each valuable piece stacked up against each other, leaning against the wall of a little shed.


Reflecting on my mom’s unused wrought-iron fencing and my precious client’s life, she inadvertently laid her values to the side to go unused and unnoticed. She allowed her abusive family members to be more important because she didn’t want to lose the only family connection she had. She had never experience true love and didn’t have enough self-worth to expect anything more all the while used coping strategies to feel any sense of safety in her chaotic world…


Reader, you wouldn’t believe what happened next as I drove the long stretch of rural road reflecting on such things –– I saw several pieces of heavy metal fences leaning against a pole of a rundown business and another set of fences lying on the ground. Each set useless and chained up.


…In my client’s extreme situation, abuse and manipulation encouraged her to feel chained to her abusers’ values –– to their way of life –– leaving her feeling worthless.


But she is NOT worthless! She is valuable and loved and has the right to a life of freedom and abundance surrounded by what she deems important and worthwhile. Which is why I was willing to drive a few hours to see her in person. To go to her childhood home and to stand together and pray, believing that she is NOT tied or chained to those memories and the run-down business of the enemy any longer! Through the authority of Jesus within me, it was time to set her free and keep up the important work of establishing her own loving boundaries.


I would love to hear your thoughts:

How are you doing with identifying, maintaining and communicating your values?


What more would you like to learn about regarding the importance of appropriate boundaries?

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2 Comments


Wendy Basil
Wendy Basil
Jul 24, 2022

Thank you for this, and thank you for changing the layout .... have a beautiful

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tmouellette18
tmouellette18
Jul 27, 2022
Replying to

Hi Wendy! You're welcome. Glad you enjoy the post. Have a great day! XO

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