Boundaries are not restrictive fences meant to keep you from enjoying life, but gifts from a God who cares about your well-being. -Lysa TerKeurst
I’m pretty sure my toddler would disagree with the first part of that statement. I’m certain that if he could put together complete sentences, he would tell me:
When you tell me not to climb on the table, you aren’t allowing me to enjoy life.
When you put me in time out for being defiant, you aren’t allowing me to enjoy life.
When you only give me 3 options for meal time and I don’t eat because I loved it yesterday, I hate it today…you aren’t allowing me to enjoy life.
When you make me go to bed, you are not allowing me to enjoy life!
What my close to 2 year old little boy doesn’t understand is that Mom and Dad set these boundaries because we care soooo much for him and love him more than anything. As his parents, we are accountable for his discipline and instruction and as a Christian parent, it is our goal to raise him to fear the Lord. We took a parenting class at our church on how to raise Godly children and one of the biggest things I took away from this class is that in parenting, we should set a standard for our children, but know that there is grace there for failure. We train their hearts. We set that standard and offer grace when it is not met. Discipline builds confident children. And grace teaches unconditional love.
Can’t we say the same for ourselves? God gives us boundaries in the bible because He cares sooo much for us. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, we to need to set boundaries for ourselves, like boundaries on unhealthy foods and boundaries (like zero tolerance!) of stinkin’ thinkin’. The biggest problem I faced was setting boundaries on negative self talk. I loathed my body so much that I said horrible things to myself . It wasn’t until God helped me set up a zero tolerance rule for stinkin’ thinkin’, that I was able to pull myself out of the dark world of negative body image. We must be able to show ourselves grace as well. When all we can think is that we are a failure, we need to 1) set up a zero tolerance policy to stinkin’ thinkin’, and 2) forgive ourselves and extend ourselves some grace.
God doesn’t want us to not enjoy life. He wants exactly the opposite. Just like parents set boundaries for their children so they will grow to be respectful, caring, intelligent adults, our God sets boundaries (and helps us do the same for ourselves) so that we can live confident and healthy lives.
Have you ever struggled with negative body image? Do you struggle with setting boundaries for yourself? If so, leave a comment so that we may encourage one another.