Today I’m not coming to you with concrete answers. I don’t know your situation. I don’t know how hard things have been for you.
But I do know one thing: you deserve healthy.
A healthy community. A healthy friend. A healthy faith environment. Healthy connections.
The truth is we don’t always have that. Maybe your family of origin is dysfunctional. You love them but there are patterns of behavior that are abusive or addictive or neglectful. They may seem healthy on the outside but the truth is it’s far from healthy on the inside. Perhaps your faith community is no longer the safe place it should be, or it never was but it felt normal, until you knew better. Maybe you have a friend who you love, but he or she brings chaos into your relationship or your life over and over.
You deserve healthy, friend.
You may not get to choose your family of origin, but you do get to choose boundaries that are reasonable and that protect you and your babies. You may not get to dictate what is healthy faith (and who wants that job anyway), but you do get to choose a faith community that reflects Jesus. You may not be able to “fix” your friend (and she doesn’t want that), but you can surround yourself with friends who want the best for you.
Choosing may sound easy, but we all know it’s not.
- Someone might get mad at us
- Someone might not understand
- Someone might label you the bad guy
- You love them, even as you dislike what they do
- It’s familiar, even if it’s unhealthy
This might cause us to remain in those unhealthy places and with unhealthy people far longer than we want. It might send a message to our children that we think this is all we deserve. We might stay in those unhealthy places because we want to do the right thing, when all the wrong things continue to impact our heart.
In our recent conversation on More Than Small Talk podcast with Lysa TerKeurst, NY Times bestselling author of Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, and You’re Going to Make It, she said:
Boundaries share where freedoms exist.
According to TerKeurst, we are not be able to change anyone else, but we can choose for ourselves. We begin by setting boundaries for our own lives. We draw a boundary where freedom ceases to exist in these different areas. We determine what we will and will not tolerate. What we can or cannot give. What we can and cannot accept.
So perhaps a family member of origin is still loved, but freedom ceases to exist when they use words to demean you or one of your loved ones. So that’s where we draw our boundary.
Perhaps a faith community has become tangled in legalism or is wrapped around principles that don’t reflect Jesus. We determine where freedom ceases to exist and choose what is best for our own lives. We have the right to choose our faith community.
Years ago, I began to tiptoe into this truth: Suzie, you deserve healthy. It didn’t mean that my relationships were perfect or that there wasn’t messiness, but if something remained unhealthy, dysfunctional, or toxic, I could live where freedom existed, instead of in the pain someone or something else presented. Those choices weren’t easy and at times I wrestled with how to do it, but just understanding that I deserved healthy was powerful in itself.
Resources for you
Hey friends, I hope you’ll listen to our conversation with Lysa TerKeurst on More Than Small Talk. It’s powerful and practical when it comes to boundaries and knowing how to take that first step. I think you’ll find it invaluable. Find all the ways to listen to this episode of More Than Small Talk.
Also, I’d love to invite you to join me daily on Prayer Starters podcast. Begin your day with the power of the Word, a drop of encouragement, and a prayer starter to help you connect with God, right where you are. It’s 2-3 minutes long and I pray it helps you talk to, and connect with God, daily. Find all the ways to listen to Prayer Starters podcast here.
Check out Lysa’s books mentioned in this post.
Timely for me. It’s so difficult to know what this looks like with aging parents that have not had good boundaries. The boundaries for me get pressed into. I don’t want to abandon them or not help them as they become more frail.
Suzanne, thank you so much for this timely encouragement.
My husband and I lead a small group and just today we’ve been dealing with this very issue concerning someone who has created a toxic environment within our group. The Holy Spirit confirmed through your words that seeking to have a healthy environment is right & good – even when it means doing the hard thing.