A couple months ago, as I was thinking about this holiday season and was making tentative plans, I thought about how divorce has affected the way my girls now must process and plan family gatherings. I had a brief moment of, “To make it easier on them, should I offer to include my ex in our family gathering?”
(I know some people do that, and it works. If you’ve been following my journey the last few years, you know my ex chose to leave the family in a sudden, hostile, and disrespectful way, and we no longer have contact.)
As I thought about the possibility, I knew it wasn’t wise on a multitude of levels, but I also knew I could do it. It’s not that I’m okay with him. It’s that I’m okay with myself. I am okay with being able to show compassion and patience. I’m also okay with—and determined to have—healthy boundaries. I’m okay with not putting myself in a position where I am vulnerable to his hurt and manipulation even though being okay with that requires me to be okay with other things, such as, refraining from reaching out. My choice of not placing myself in that situation takes power and influence from him.
I’m not in a struggle for the power. I don’t need control. I know the one who has power. Because I’m closely connected to God, I trust that he will guide me and use his power only in ways that will help me even if that help comes in the form of uncomfortable growth. He equips me, and he equips you as you lean in and listen to him.
Healthy boundaries are important. Never use them as an excuse or escape. Never avoid confrontation or reconciliation that can and needs to happen. When avoidance is motivated by comfort, it is usually misguided. Instead, healthy boundaries should be established and maintained because of wisdom. Where that line is might shift over time, so be alert to what your next response might be and how it might change. Through the process of trusting and following God, you will find you are constantly changing. And as uncomfortable and inconvenient it might be, growth that God guides is always good.