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What Every Woman Needs to Know About Boundaries

Boundaries for Women

What if Jesus wants you to uncover the dazzling God-image that burns in your heart?

What if your most important job might be to ensure that fire does not go out?

If you’re like me, a part of you might think that sounds good, but another part of you might feel hesitant, thinking: doesn’t Jesus call us to deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24)?

You might be asking yourself, how does what I want factor into following Him?

It’s a good question and one that I have wrestled with in my own life. It’s my belief that when Jesus said to deny yourself, he understood a critical difference between denying your “selfishness” and denying your God-given, imago-bearing “self”.

It is a difference that is critical for women—and the men who love them—to understand.

When women (or anyone) are shoved aside, shamed, pushed down, or devalued, the words “deny yourself” get twisted in a damaging way and get translated in our minds as:

  • Shouldn’t I always sacrifice?
  • It’s selfish to state my own wants and needs.
  • It’s wrong to cultivate my talents or pursue dreams held within me.
  • I should never consider myself in any decision I make.

Boundaries for Women

The problem is that this extreme understanding flies in the face of Jesus’s teaching and example. Here are just a few illustrations:

—When it comes to sacrifice, Jesus tells Martha to stop sacrificing, and instead to RECEIVE (Luke 10).
—Jesus likens his love to a good father’s love for his children, encouraging conversation with him about what we want and need (Matthew 7:7).

—He emphasizes the importance of cultivating one’s talents in a pretty dramatic way (Matthew 25:14-30)

Yet, many women have been encouraged to “deny yourself” at the expense of other key messages, including receiving love, support, and inspiration from God and others, sharing our wants and needs, and cultivating our talents.

The result? Setting healthy boundaries poses unique challenges for women, because we’ve been taught to deny ourselves sacrificially without a counter-balancing message.

Boundaries for Women Video Course

That’s why I created the Boundaries for Women Video Course. It’s for women like you who want to learn how to love others without neglecting yourself. Click here to learn more and to register.

This article originally appeared here.

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Alison Cook, PhD is a counselor, speaker, and the co-author of How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies. For over 20 years, Alison has helped women, ministry leaders, couples, and families learn how to heal painful emotions, develop confidence from the inside out, forge healthy relationships, and fully live out their God-given potential.