Grit Doesn’t Replace Boundaries

I’ve written before about my upbringing. Growing up in Wyoming, in a hard working family and having strong women to look up to, it is really easy for me to live by “pull up your big girl panties and deal with it.”

Over the years, I have become the queen of just powering through. I would use the excuse of having grit to push me forward – felling like all my hard work was for God. And there was a time that was true. I was working hard, knowing that God could see what I was doing. It didn’t bother me that there was little to no recognition, because I wasn’t doing it for people anyway.

I lived in the cycle of “we just have to make it through.” My family suffered because I poured everything I was into my ministries. We went from one season of chaos to another. We just have to make it though this event, then things will calm down. But as soon that was over, we had to move on to the next thing. Year after year, this was our lives.

Then it hit. Burn out. I lived in this world where if I said needed a break, I wasn’t listening to God. How can you be burnt out if you are relying on God for your sustenance? How can you be tired if God is your source of strength? You have to have grit and determination. All the verses that talk about running your race with endurance were thrown in my face to spur me on to do more and more and more.

Through a series of crazy event, God revealed to me that yes, I have grit. When push comes to shove, I’m going to stand firm and do what I’m called to do. When crap hits the fan, I’m not going to crumble. But that has nothing to do with setting healthy and Godly boundaries.

God doesn’t want us to give up when life gets hard, but He never intended for us to live miserably just for the sake of powering through. I strive to live by Acts 20:24. I believe that my own life, my own desire are worthless and I’m only here to do what God has called me to. But how is He going to use me when I’m so exhausted from “being busy for the Lord” (or so I thought) that I’m filled with bitterness and frustration. Are you tired and exhausted? Jesus says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” REST! Jesus doesn’t say come to me and I will keep giving you the spiritual equivalent of Red Bull so you can power through.

When I came to this realization, it became clear that I needed boundaries. Healthy and Godly boundaries. I needed to set boundaries so I had room to breath. I started to realize that God gave me my children. Not so I can be so busy with “church stuff” that I was neglecting them, but so I could be a present and engaged mom. And I was doing the same with my husband and friendships.

Do you have any idea what a sobering realization that was? To acknowledge and admit that I wasn’t the wife, the mom, the friend, the sister in Christ that I was called and intended to be because I was so caught up in what I (in my own mind) needed to do and powering through! I spent weeks in lament. Deep lament. This kind of humble, heartbreaking, earth shattering, crying out to God in sorrow and regret.

But then I needed my grit to move on. I realized that my lament had turned into depression and I can’t stay there either. I can’t keeping living in the regret of the broken relationships and shoving God out of the way so I could continue to “run my race.”

Because of my personality, I will always have to keep my grit in check. I will always need to be reminded that boundaries are healthy and I need to focus on who God called me to be at my core. Because grit doesn’t replace boundaries.

Amanda Turnbull

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