This is a post I don’t want to write, sisters.
Now and then, I feel the nudge to address something and I know it’s the Holy Spirit. However, if I don’t want to address it or if I’m too scared to reveal whatever it is He’s asking me to reveal, I’ll put it off for a while. We wrestle, God and I.
I’ve felt the nudge here and I’ve put it off for a while. Then my friend, Dana, said I should write about…toxic people. I’m obeying Him who spoke through her.
This toxic people thing…oh, we could talk for hours, friends.
I have mentioned in the past that the last two years have been rather challenging with regards to relationships. God has refined me in ways I’m so thankful for now.
But I’m not jumping up and down, begging Him to take me through it all over again anytime soon.
I learned a lot about humility. Even more about forgiveness. And more still about reconciliation. These three alone warrant a book. In fact, I’m writing it now.
And boundaries. Yes. Boundaries.
Toxic people are those who pose a safety threat (emotional, mental, and, God forbid, physical) to either your family or you through their manipulation, passive aggression, “victim” mentality, or unhealthy desire to control everything.
They can be passive aggressive (burying their own agenda through niceties or manipulation to get their way).
They can refuse to attempt reconciliation when the relationship has been broken (because God desires this for us all) which is so oftentimes a passive aggressive game.
They can refuse to leave you alone even when you have placed a firm boundary around them.
Toxic people (who often attempt to control others) will make your thoughts stink faster than you can catch that runaway train heading nowhere.
I know, friends, that there’s this misleading idea that we as Christians should just let these people keep punching us like those Bozo the Clown blow-up dolls from the 70’s.
Bozo always came back up because he was rooted – there were weights in the bottom of him.
But even those with the deepest roots can be knocked-out by a toxic person because we keep hearing that we just need to “love them through it.”
And we should and we do.
For a while.
Sometimes we need to place a healthy boundary around a relationship because “as a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11)
In one of the best articles I’ve ever read about boundaries, “Jesus Set Boundaries”, the author, Bill Gaultiere, states that:
“Personal boundaries are what define your identity. They’re like the property lines around a home. This is my property and that is not my property. This is me — what I value, am good at, believe, need, or feel — and that is not me.
To know yourself and be secure that you are loved is essential to all relationships and activities. The better your boundaries of self-awareness and self-definition are the greater your capacity to offer empathy and love to others. Good boundaries help you to care for others because you have a stable foundation to operate from and are not distracted or depleted by personal insecurities or blind spots. (That’s why it’s not “selfish” or unloving to have boundaries and “take care of yourself.”)
Bill then continues to say that boundaries with others, particularly those who are “toxic”, “are not only healthy but holy.”
Jesus DID set boundaries. He stopped healing to spend time with God. He knew when He needed to eat and sleep. He was firm with others when he needed to be because He knew what was healthy for Him and not-so-healthy.
So no, friends, we aren’t being “un-Christian” when we set boundaries. In fact, we’re being holy.
And because this post is nearing 650 words, we’ll talk about how to set these boundaries and get on the road to eliminating “stinkin’ thinkin” caused by toxic people on Monday.
What about you? Have you ever had to establish a boundary with someone? How did you do it?