The Practice of Wise-Boundary Setting

Recently, I met someone going through a hard time. God clearly put it upon my heart to set down my work and to pray with her. On the call, I listened to her heart. I allowed her to talk. The minutes ticked by, but I knew the invitation from God was for me to be present in her pain. This calling to love was clear.

At the end of the call she asked, “Kelly, can we be friends? I want to call you with my concerns and you can help me.”

I understood her heart; God had moved on the call. However, I also knew, I could not be her all-in-all.

To be honest with myself is to say:

  1. I do not have the space for a new best friend at this time.
  2. I do not have the bandwidth with my family, with ministry and with all God has called me to do — to venture into this woman’s every problem.
  3. To love her this way, means I’d probably have scraps left-over to love my family in other ways.

I told her, “I am sorry. I cannot have regular calls with you.”

I could feel her disappointment. Yet, she said, “I understand.”

After the call was done, the feelings of being “a bad Christian” washed over me. Was I supposed to say yes, God? Am I selfish? Am I being self-centered? 

No. To reserve God’s love — to the person He is calling you to love — is to persevere in love.

Otherwise, I know how it goes… I’ll act passive-aggressive when all is said and done. I’ll complain about who I had to love.  I’ll get upset at myself later for not saying no.

The burden to love is not always real love. Yet, as we are wise about: who we love, when we love and how God is calling us to move out in love — we will live-out true love.

“If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:2)

Without real love, our acts mean nothing. We are left with nothing.

Are you truly loving? Or, are you striving and acting like you are loving? The beginning of true love starts with self-examination.

About “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy”

If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Three out of five people admit to doing more than they can manage. Thinking God requires this, we say, “I must be everything to everyone.” Then we struggle and feel selfish and guilty when we say no, grow weary, or snap at someone out of sheer exhaustion. Is this what God desires? Somewhere along the line of being a good Christian, wife, daughter, or friend we lose sight of who we are in Christ. We put our performance above God and who he says we are. But what if we chose a more soul-full way?

Rest Now offers permission to breathe. It exposes the lies that distract, tire, and bully us, so we don’t strive for rest but love from it, like Jesus did. Learn how to

– create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
– say no so you don’t hate yourself later
– ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
– embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God

About Kelly Balarie

Kelly is a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She’s a get-on-the-gloves kind of girl. By seeking God’s unending encouragement, she uncovers His deep callings right under the surface of her worst failings. Get all of Kelly’s Purposeful Faith blog posts by email for a dose of inspiration and encouragement. Kelly is a blogger at, and Her work has been featured on Relevant and (in), and as the cover story on Today’s Christian Woman.