Overview- The What and Why of Boundaries

Scripture Reflection

“And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17

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Devotion

We serve a God of boundaries. From the beginning of time when God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He gave them boundaries. As long as Adam and Eve respected God's boundaries, they would have an abundant life. It was God's way of protecting them and keeping them safe. Once these boundaries were violated, sin entered into the world. Not much has changed. The good news is that God's promises are still the same today as they were for Adam and Eve. He will protect us when we remain within the boundaries He has set for us.

Although the word may conjure up thoughts of a wall, prison, restriction, or confinement, imagine life without boundaries. It might sound great at first—you could eat whatever you wanted, laze around on the couch all day, go wherever you wanted and think, say and do whatever you want without restriction. But, think of the flip-side.

You would probably have a laundry list of health complaints such as diabetes from consuming too much sugar; high cholesterol from too much fat and high blood pressure from too much sodium. Your joints would ache because you did not feel like exercising and you would probably always be sick since your immune system would be compromised from lack of fresh air, proper nutrient and inadequate inactivity. Okay, you get the picture—life would be unbearable!

Health boundaries are necessary so that our bodies, mind and spirit can function at their optimal levels and most importantly, they keep us from sickness and disease.

Contrary to what we may think or feel, boundaries provide us freedom and peace. Freedom to know that we are safe within the boundary lines that God has given us and peace knowing that we don't have to stress ourselves out trying to figure out what's right from wrong, or good from bad; our boundaries make it clear and simple.

In their best selling book, Boundaries, Cloud and Townsend offer a simple definition of boundaries. They say, "Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out." They are the invisible lines that we draw around ourselves to identify what is and is not acceptable behavior. So health boundaries are invisible lines that we draw around our health habits.

The behaviors that will nurture us like healthy food, God’s Word and a positive attitude for exercise, we need to keep in our lives.

The behaviors that will harm us, we need to keep out—eating unhealthy foods, thinking unhealthy thoughts, taking on other people’s burdens.

Sometimes because of poor teaching, bad habits, abuse, or neglect, we get it reversed and we keep the good out and let the bad in.

As you go through this study you will focus on your personal health boundaries that move you towards your healthy weight and contribute to living a healthy, active lifestyle.

May you find freedom, peace, grace, and courage to live within the boundaries that God has set for you. His boundaries will give you everything you need to live a healthy productive life.

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Why Boundaries?

Boundaries will help you to:

  • Establish boundaries to optimize your health
  • Prioritize your health
  • Stay out of overwhelm
  • Stay focused on your health goals
  • Understand why you matter so much to God
  • Take responsibility for your own needs, feelings and emotions
  • Achieve your goal weight

In this study you will discover:

  • The importance of boundaries
  • How to erect healthy boundaries in your life
  • The foundation for setting health boundaries

By the end of this month, you will have developed the skills of:

  • Setting personal health boundaries
  • Learning how to stay within your boundaries
  • Learning how to take responsibility for your personal health

There are 4 components:

Week 1. Understanding the Root of all Boundaries

Week 2. Learning How to Establish Health Boundaries

Week 3. Boundaries and You

Week 4. Weekly Devotions and Catch-up

Group Check-ins on Tuesday February 2nd and February 23rd at 8:00 pm EST

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Reflect

1.  Do you have a series of boundaries that help you maintain your health? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest) how effective/successful are you at maintaining them?

2.  When you think of boundaries, do you think freedom, or restrictive and confining?

3.  How are a lack of boundaries currently negatively impacting your life and health?

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Worship and Prayer

"Awesome, Almighty God of the Universe, I declare your Lordship over me and my desire to submit myself fully to your caring control. Lord, some days, it's not so hard to make myself Play-doh in your hands, but other days, I need your help! Give me a willing spirit, my Lord, to give my life into your loving hands today—especially this corner of it that I like to keep over here for my control—my health journey. Please let me see it from your perspective as my loving Father, my Shepherd, my Protector, the only One who truly knows and desires what is best for me. Conform my will to yours, especially when it comes to the boundaries I place in my life. Holy Spirit, speak to me with regards to what my safe haven looks like under your wings. Tell me where I belong. Give me the willingness to surrender that which I think I need to and to let go of any perceived need to control. Change my thinking about boundaries and birth in me a sense of ease and peace about them as I trust your strength working through me. Thank you that you did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline! My desire is to be safe and live free under the protection of the boundaries you have for me! In Jesus' Holy name. Amen!"

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Share

(Share below)

When you think of boundaries, do you think freedom or restrictive and confining?

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Additional Scriptures

“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Colossians 2:20-23 NKJV

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 KJV

"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess." Deuteronomy 13:15-20 NIV

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Lesley Ruth C
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9 days ago

I think freedom because of the experience of the past couple of years of establishing healthy boundaries. I have some difficult days, who doesn’t, but I’ve learned that not giving up and persevering through, will help me to reach my health goals in the end! I especially think that the boundaries God sets in place for healthy relationships are so broken in our society, that as Christians we need to embrace them and value them. Same for food.

Verna Pearce
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2 months ago

When I am in the food, eating compulsively and disregarding boundaries, my attitude to boundaries is that they are restriction, stopping me from having or doing what I want.
However, after a few days of living within boundaries, I begin to experience the truth. Boundaries then show me what freedom, peace and God’s protection feels like.

Mary Ann Anderson
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2 months ago

I find boundaries to give me freedom. They may have felt restrictive at first but they feel more like railroad tracks now that keep me on the path and give me freedom to move forward.

Teresa W
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2 months ago

Until now, I confess, I have seen boundaries as restrictive. This freedom in boundaries is a game-changer for me. Thank you, Cathy!

Debbie Kalriess
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2 months ago

Boundaries are freeing for me. They bring order to my life, less stress, and peace. My struggle has been to actually live everyday within my boundaries even though I know that it’s best.

Linda K
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2 months ago

Unfortunately, I associate boundaries with restrictions. I want to change my perception of them to helpful, guiding and God’s way of showing me a way to the abundant life He has planned for me.

Beth Stevenson
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2 months ago

I associate boundaries with freedom. They keep me focused and create a safe zone for me. They can keep me from getting overwhelmed with decision making and from casting too wide a path. I have read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend when it was recommended by my pastor in a sermon. It was life changing and empowering, yet I still need much growth in that area. I never thought to link it with my health.

Debbie N
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2 months ago

I have always thought boundaries as restricting, however in reading God’s word they are important in staying focused and becoming successful in this journey. I realized boundaries are not a punishment they are an example of God’s love for me.

Mare D
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2 months ago

I usually think of boundaries as restricting….but we have a puppy. I’ve watched her run and play freely in our fenced yard with no thought of what’s outside the fence that could hurt her. When God sets my boundaries I don’t need to worry about what can hurt me – I have freedom to be protected, live joyfully.

Nancy Marks
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2 months ago

I used to think of boundaries as restrictive but the more I do this the more I see that boundaries can really be freeing. I’ve been the person who always says yes to things or actually the one that can Always see new possibilities to do things. I then take on one more thing and think I’m the only one who can do it. Setting boundaries is making me stop and think and say is this really important? Is there someone else who would like to do this? Or should I just say no. Sometimes the act of saying no can really be liberating.