A Note from Mary Margaret West: If you haven’t had a conversation with a teen girl about boundaries, just wait. These can be hard conversations, but Kate gives us some tools and wisdom in today’s post that we hope is helpful to you!
“Why do you think people build fences around playgrounds?”
I ask this question at least once a week as I talk with girls. The answer is: to keep good things in and bad things out. Fences are built around playgrounds as boundaries to keep kids safe. In the very same way, we are called to build boundaries around our minds in order to protect our minds from the lies of our enemy, Satan.
The conversation about boundaries often begins with physical boundaries: how far is “too far” to go with your boyfriend, what you shouldn’t watch, wear, listen to, or participate in. It becomes a list of physical do’s and mostly don’ts. Truthfully, talking about physical boundaries with your girls is INCREDIBLY important, but the conversation should not start there.
Before we can help our girls set God honoring physical boundaries, we must help them set mental and spiritual ones. And, even more importantly we must help them understand what boundaries really are!
Boundaries are not a list of do’s and don’ts that are to be followed out of fear. Instead, they are guide posts set up to help us experience the freedom that comes from living a life that honors the Lord!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
Christ came to set us free from a life of checklists and the burden of slavery to sin. His desire for us and our girls is that we live in FREEDOM! Therefore, we are called to “stand firm” and not allow ourselves to be caught back up into patterns of sin that lead us into slavery. How do we do this? We do this by setting boundaries around our minds.
Sinful actions begin with sinful thoughts. Sinful thoughts are any thoughts (lustful, selfish, prideful, jealous, self-deprecating, etc.) that we allow to remain in our minds.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
We set boundaries around our minds is by taking our thoughts captive. This is the process of…
- Recognizing thoughts that are not honoring to the Lord, thoughts that involve temptation, thoughts that are lies about who God is and who He created us to be.
- Confessing to God what that thought is: a dishonoring thought, a temptation, or a lie.
- Replacing that thought with a true thought about who God is or who He has made us to be (Col. 3:2).
Like a fence is built around a playground, a boundary must be set around our minds so that our thoughts and emotions will be protected from the lies and temptations of the enemy. As we practice taking our thoughts captive and setting boundaries in our own thought lives, we will be able to lead our girls to do the same!
As you talk with your girls or daughters about their struggles with sin, relationships, and self-worth, help them understand that freedom in these areas comes when we set godly boundaries around our minds.
Here are a few key points to discuss with your girls about boundaries:
- Boundaries help us live in freedom
- We must set mental and emotional boundaries before we can set successful physical ones
- The first step in setting boundaries is learning to take thoughts captive and replacing them with God-honoring thoughts
- Unconfessed sin in our lives breaks down the boundaries we have set. Therefore, we must immediately confess and repent of sin before the Lord.
Christ has come to set us free! So, before we help our girls set boundaries around their bodies, lets help them understand the kind of freedom that can only come from setting boundaries around their minds!
Kate Downing is a Georgia peach by birth with a love for student and girls’ ministry. She has served on staff in student ministries all over the east coast and Texas, and now has the privilege of serving as the Girls Minister at The Church at BattleCreek in Tulsa, OK. Kate holds a Master’s of Religious Education degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. She has a heart for helping teenage girls come to know and build an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ and equipping girls ministry leaders to do the same. She loves speaking, writing, college football, and wandering the aisles of Hobby Lobby.
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