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  • Writer's pictureNicky Stade

Do You Ever Feel Claustrophobic?

Claustrophobia is the fear of being in a closed or small space or room and having no escape.

In the past, I had no boundaries in my life. I acted on the emotion of the moment. If I was happy, everyone...and I mean everyone...knew it. If I was sad, I would hide myself from the world and throw a pity party. If I was angry I would react with sharp words that I would always regret later, once I was calm again.

It was the same in relationships. I was looking for intimacy in anyone (kind or not) who would give me the time of day, because it was in their attention where I found my self-worth.

Soon, I began to learn about boundaries and I drank that information up like a dry sponge. (If you struggle in this area, I highly recommend this book.)

But I, being a broken person in search of control, took that to a painful extreme. Instead of helping me create freedom, I just built another type of prison for myself. A nice illusion of safety, but in reality it was just more of the same: it was me trying to fix me and it wasn't working. I began to feel claustrophobic.

Please don't misunderstand...I think boundaries are extremely vital to a healthy & productive life! Without boundaries, things get out of control in the "bad" way: nothing gets done and people can get hurt. Plus, God is a God of order. We are not on this earth to start and stop half-hearted projects and we're not meant to be a doormat for others to walk all over. I do believe that God wants me to know my boundaries...but not to be imprisoned by them.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 in The Message says, "Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!"

I began to see that my attempt at creating boundaries was putting limitations on God. I was telling Him what areas of my life He could have, and what areas of my life were not up for negotiation. This meant there were areas of my life that I was not allowing Him to heal, which was restricting my personal growth!

Another term for "boundaries" is "comfort zone". You want to know why I emphasize stepping out of your comfort zone so much? Because that's what God has called me to do, and while it is altogether terrifying at times, it is also an amazing experience I do not want you to miss!

I have learned that God has shown me my boundaries, not so I could live my life trapped within them, but so I can bust out of them: to open the gate wide and step into His Will for my life (with all of the unknowns and all of the scary bits) because it is in that moment when I am out of my comfort zone, working out of my weakest parts, that He steps in and takes over and I begin to work in His strength.

Without fully knowing my boundaries, I can never really know what is being done out of my own strength or not...without fully knowing where I end and where He begins, I can't give Him all the glory! And that's not the kind of life I want to live...No, I want to walk through the gate to enter a wide open, spacious life and see where He takes me! What about you?


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