Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009, a multi-award winning inspirational speaker and the author of the Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life and the new release of Cooking for Simple Elegance. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She connects missions to her work with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. Angela serves as an assisting minister for her congregation in Missoula, MT. She served as the American Christian Fiction Writer's past Publicity Officer. Angela Breidenbach on the web:,, on Wednesdays each week. Visit her new Christian Speakers Service

Where Are Your Boundaries?

Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.
Then all the people shall say, Amen!

                                                                           -Deuteronomy 27:17 (NIV)

Has someone stepped on your toes recently? Have you asked someone to back off? Or is it easier just to bear the offense in silence?

When we begin to feel claustrophic in a relationship, usually it’s caused by an encroachment into our personal space, physically or figuratively. Sometimes we cause that feeling in other people. Those of us with the “gotta fix it” gene give help before we’re asked. We tend to jump over the boundary stone and tromp all over another’s emotional property. Others pick up that boundary and move it closer in to gain ownership over what doesn’t belong to them. In the rush to control, like an overbearing boss, they think for the person. Whether it’s meant for good or to belittle, it’s sheer thievery from another’s heart, mind, and personhood.

Boundary movers display heavy-handed behavior, telling, not asking, what should be done. Intentional manipulators often use sweet talk, “Christianese,” and a hard-to-decipher smile to get their target to understand the good they intend. It’s quite confusing for the unsuspecting victim as they watch their borders shrink and yet feel guilty that it bothers them. Boundary movers may think the other person is too stupid to make the right decision. It’s not simply one person though; it’s habitual thinking about others. What words can be tracked in our minds that would be considered inappropriate if they were said out loud? Big clue!

What to do if your boundaries are being attacked.
Acknowledge your discomfort. By listening to the dissonance you feel, often you’re recognizing the Holy Spirit’s nudge to protect you. Physical boundaries are mentioned over fifty times in the Bible. It’s important to establish them. They protect, provide, and offer privacy. God knew that we needed boundaries, both physical and emotional.

Practice a phrase or two to help hold those boundaries, and speak up. “You know, I appreciate that you want to help me, but this is something I need to do myself.” For someone who can’t understand a soft response, you might try, “No. That won’t work for me.” One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that I didn’t owe an explanation for everything. In the adult world, the word no is enough. Someone who honors no is mature. Someone who doesn’t, well, sometimes we have to be the mature one and hold to our convictions anyway.

Walk away. Boundary thieves feed off of unnecessary confrontation and force of will. To stay engaged feeds their ego, purpose, and sense of satisfaction. Take the power away by walking away and refusing to engage. I’ve recognized this after the battle’s been waged and learned to literally say, “I’m done,” then turn and walk away. The next time, I watch for the signals I missed before, and disengage earlier. It’s a learning process. But courage to act to protect your boundaries grows your confidence more each time, especially if you catch the thief in the process.

What to do if you’re a boundary thief.
Give it back and apologize. Are you the one always overpowering someone else’s opinions, beliefs, or needs? Are you the critique partner criticizing, changing voice, or rewriting? There’s no better cure than to stop—and then atone for it by asking forgiveness.

Respect other people’s ability and right to choices and opinions. Give them the grace to grow, without forcing change that’s hurtful. Forcing change creates resentment and the desire to resist. It’s a lose-lose prospect. Eventually, you’ll lose a friend.

Ask first without assuming you know the answer. Ask first before charging to the rescue. Ask first because otherwise you’re stealing rights, opinions, and opportunities that don’t belong to you.

Mentally visualize releasing and putting down whatever it is you feel so strongly attached to, even if it’s an outcome you wish you could change. Say, “This isn’t my problem to solve, and unless I’m invited, I’m stealing growth and confidence from this person.” (A shortened version helps me: “Whose problem is it really?”) If it’s not my problem, then it helps me to avoid becoming a boundary thief. Who wants to wear the label THIEF?

Each time we guard our boundaries, we help the other person to grow in character as we grow in courage. Each time we interrupt the bad habit of stepping on someone else’s intellectual or emotional property, we change for the better, and we allow the other person the opportunity to learn and grow, too.

Bruchetta Ensalada

Bruchetta Ensalada

Recipe courtesy of Creative Cooking for Colitis, a new Kindle release from Angela Breidenbach.

We like this for simple, colorful, and elegant dish for a great lunch or a dinner side. Pretty enough for a dinner party too.

Serves 4

½ bag of egg noodles, cooked
Fresh basil leaves, about 8–10, diced and bruised to bring out the flavor
1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh chopped garlic
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup Kalamata or Greek olives
1 jar artichokes, sliced into thirds
Salt to taste
Fat-free feta cheese

Bring noodles to a boil and cook while preparing the rest of the salad. Measure and mix all spices, oil, and vinegar. Allow them to marinate while adding olives, chopped garlic, sliced artichokes, and diced tomatoes. Mix gently. Drain egg noodles and immediately toss with other ingredients. Top with feta cheese and serve. Salt to taste.

Insider Tips: If you don’t have balsamic vinegar and olive oil, substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a low-fat Italian or balsamic dressing.

Tip 2: If you know you will be storing leftovers, sprinkle feta cheese onto individual servings. Now you can store the salad in the refrigerator without soggy cheese. Add before eating.

Tip 3: Don’t try to use dried basil. It just isn’t the same, trust me.

Tip 4: I’ve also found I love this salad without the pasta. Consider it optional


Gems of Wisdom