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EP. 25 Flexible vs Rigid Boundaries

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This week on the Hope Rescue Podcast, Kimberly and Tim discuss the difference between flexible and rigid boundaries. Kimberly opens up by quoting Mark 6:31, “And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Tim says that he had a professor in seminary school refer to this verse by saying, "Come apart and rest awhile, or you will come apart." As a pastor, Tim has trouble setting boundaries around people who ask him for help. He wants to say yes to every person, but it is impossible always to say yes. Boundaries have to be set in order to help the maximum amount of people but also to prevent you from becoming exhausted. Tim loves the quote by Andy Stanley: "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone."

There are two types of boundaries we can create in our lives: flexible boundaries and rigid boundaries. Tim explains that setting boundaries in your life isn’t about self-love but instead, self-respect. If you respect yourself, you will set boundaries in your life and limit the amount of time you spend with negative people. If you have incredibly toxic people in your life, it is necessary to use rigid boundaries. Not every person who is draining though is toxic. Some people may take a lot of your energy, but that does not make them toxic. For people who are not toxic, you can use flexible boundaries. Just because you are setting boundaries around someone does not mean that you don’t love them. In order to be your best self and love people well, you have to set aside time for yourself.

Flexible boundaries can be used with healthy people whose needs are manageable. Sometimes people who we love have genuine needs that we can help with, and we should help them. A healthy person will understand when you have to set boundaries in your life, and they will respect them without question or without needing an explanation. Toxic people need rigid boundaries because their needs are not manageable. These people are demanding and often will not respect your boundaries. Tim explains a method that he uses when dealing with people who have reasonable needs is to tell them up front a time limit that he has available. If someone comes into his office at 11 am, and he tells them he needs to be done by 1 pm, the boundary has been set, and an expectation is made known. That way, when it gets close to 1 pm, he doesn't feel like he is cutting the person off when he has to leave. If the boundary is not set at the beginning, it can seem insulting to the other person, so boundaries are beneficial to both parties.

When someone asks something of us, there are important questions we can ask to determine if we want to follow through with it. The first is: Is this the best use of my time? Kimberly explains that while sometimes saying yes can be stretching, it may be precisely what the Lord has aligned for us. After assessing if this is the best use of your time, don’t be afraid to say yes. The second question is: Is this something only I can do? Or: Am I the best person for this task? The third question is: How is this going to affect me spiritually? The fourth question is: Can this task be delegated to someone else? Tim explains that while it can be difficult to delegate tasks, especially for someone who is controlling, it can help you release stress and allow you to make a more significant impact on those around you. Most people who struggle with toxic emotions tend to move towards silence or aggression, neither of which are healthy. They either sulk or attack, and it is essential to make sure we are assertive before we become aggressive. Before things get out of hand, ask the four questions we discussed and set boundaries in your life.

We hope you guys enjoyed this series on boundaries over the month of July! We love you guys!


“If someone is asking you to make an unhealthy sacrifice, you have to set a rigid boundary.” -Tim

“Restoration is always the goal when there is a breach in a relationship.” -Tim

“We can't be so rigid with our boundaries that we miss an opportunity the Lord has aligned for us.” -Kimberly


Mark 6:31: And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

Psalm 127:4: Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

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