Written By: Tanya Glanzman
Boundaries have always been confusing to me. Growing up in an environment where there were absolutely no healthy boundaries, I’ve had to learn as I go, and it has been a struggle.
For so long I thought boundaries were used to control other’s behaviors. This worked when my kids were young. You may not hit your sister. You must go to bed. You cannot only have Oreo’s for dinner. Boundaries, when my kids were small, were about teaching them the life skills they needed to become healthy, functional adults. It seemed easier then.
I established the boundaries, and it was their job to respect them, to honor them. The goal became to build enough relationship and trust between them and I that they trusted that whatever boundaries I set for them were generated from a heart of love and for their good.
I wish I could say that they always did. As I look back now I am able to recognize that although it was never my intention, sometimes the boundaries I set for them originated out of different, less beautiful motives. Sometimes fear. Sometimes control. Sometimes pride.
My desire to be seen a certain way by others too often bled its way into my boundaries for my children. I saw them, their success, their behavior, their obedience as a reflection of my worth and value as their mother. I wanted others to see how good of a “stay at home, homeschooling mom” I was and the measurement of that seemed to be how well my children followed the rules and flourished in all the ways.
Now, with my young adult children, boundaries look different. Much different. As they continue to grow into the people God created them to be, it seems the tables have turned and all that I once had domain over, their lives, has shifted in a way that it is them who set the boundaries now. They now determine what I have access to- their time, information, and their willingness to invite me into the place of offering wisdom or advice now rests solely in their hands and hearts. They are the ones that ultimately decide what I have access to. It has been at times a painful, difficult paradigm shift for this mama’s heart to come to terms with.
I still love them with my whole entire heart and I still believe that I have wisdom, offered by age and experience, that could be beneficial to them. I’ve learned though that wisdom that is invited is almost always better received than wisdom that is not. I find myself in a season of watching, waiting, and praying. Thankful for each opportunity I am invited in. I do my best to continue to cultivate relationship so that they remember that my heart is for them and that anytime I offer them what I perceive as truth related to their lives, it is from a heart of love for them. Even when it’s hard or something they would rather not hear.
This parenting young adult’s thing is no joke. I’m thankful my children have been patient and gracious with me as I’ve learned not to overstep into the territories that were once within my domain. We learn together as we navigate this new road.
My journey with my Heavenly Father so resembles my journey with my own children with the exception that He is the perfect parent who never has impure motives for anything that He offers. In this relationship, I am the inviter…He the one who offers.
As I cultivate my relationship with Him, He who is always present, always speaking, always loving, I’ve grown in my own knowledge that the boundaries He sets for me are solely from His love for me and for my good.
It has been a struggle.
From the deep recesses of my soul, I detest ever feeling controlled. Too many years being controlled by people with evil intent and selfish, impure heart motives placed within me a literal hate of feeling out of control. I became radically independent and self-sufficient, lacking trust for authority figures.
This bled into my relationship with my Abba. To learn that each and every boundary He sets for me through His Word, His wisdom and His leading is only ever and always out of a heart of love for me is a journey on which I remain.
How do I know this? Because to this day, there are places still where I fail to invite Him in. Places within my own heart where I know I’ve heard Him and am not quick to yield. Places where I’ve gone my own way knowing that it’s not what He has led me to. And yet… He is faithful to continue the good work that He has begun in me (Phil. 1:6). He waits. He watches. Ever-present. Never abandoning, forsaking, or turning away from me. He loves me so well. So faithfully. So patiently.
And yet, of this journey of learning to trust whole-heartedly, when the consequences of my failing to invite or to yield to His boundaries result in consequences that are heavy, He surrounds me with his gentleness, His tenderness, His mercy. He holds me close and assures me of His love. He reminds me of who He is and who I am in and through Him and He assures me that He will never stop walking with me on this journey of learning to be loved by the only One who is truly trustworthy in all that He says and does.
Pray with me...
Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for never letting me go. Thank you for continuing to teach me in all things. Help me to lean, trust and rely on you in all things. Help me to be quick to yield to your Word, Your Wisdom and leadership. Thank you for your grace, mercy, and comfort when I struggle in this place.
Help me to invite you into every place always. Trusting that whatever boundaries you set for me, are from your heart of love for me and for my good.
I come to you now and always in the name of Jesus.
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