Proverbs 4:23 tells us:
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Placing personal and relational boundaries in your life is how to develop the diligence necessary to watch over your heart. You want your heart to overflow with life-giving things like the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–230. You watch over your heart by being mindful and protective of it the same way you are mindful and protective of your home.
A personal and relational boundary is like the protective fence you might have around your home. A fence is meant to keep harmful elements away from your home in order to keep you safe within your property.
A fence keeps things out and it keeps things in.
Gates built into a fence allow access to those we wish to enter our property or territory. Gates also serve to keep out those who would infringe or trespass on our space.
It is the gatekeeper who chooses what or who is allowed access to a property and what or who is denied access.
You are the gatekeeper of your heart. You are the one who determines whether or not a person will cultivate and enhance your spiritual fruit or not.
As the gatekeeper it is in your power to deny access to those who would pollute or destroy the spring of life that flows from your heart.
By placing boundaries in healthy places, you—as the gatekeeper—allow access to those who support you and encourage you.
Let me be clear. Boundaries are not walls. Boundaries are not meant to isolate people. We each have different roles and characteristics within our distinct boundary. We are one body of Christ, but distinctly different members of it (Romans 12:4–5).
As we honor others and make space for them as distinctly different from ourselves, we automatically place healthy boundaries in place. We then can confidently say, I am me, you are you. There is a border between us. We are unified in the body of Christ but we serve separate roles.
Knowing who you are and who you are not is the first step in maintaining clear cut boundaries. I am talking about who God says you are and who He says you are not. Your God-given identity becomes the plum-line when asking when you open your gate and when you do not.
Watch over your heart with all diligence. Open the gate to the cheerleaders in your life including the greatest cheerleader of all: The God who created you, loves you, and empowers you to be all that He created you to be. After all, He is the ultimate source of the living water of life that flows from your heart.