Category Archives: Personal Growth & Healing

Boundaries Benefit Me and Others

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A well maintained physical fence insures that boundaries are respected. The same applies to life-fences too.

When you don’t set a boundary, you are doing that because it fulfils some need in you. However it is not typically in the best interest of the other person to do this. Your lack of action is not helping them long-term.

Think about what happens to the child who is not taught to be respectful towards others. Many times s/he develops a rude, self-centered, out-of-control attitude. People tend to stay away from and not like these types of people. So your inaction actually harms the child in the long run.

Boundaries are like fences around a yard (your life). They keep others’ problems out of your life (yard) and in the yard where they belong.

Boundaries . . .

  • Define what is me and what isn’t me
  • Show where I end and someone else begins
  • Lead to a sense of ownership
  • Are not walls or an excuse to avoid interacting with others
We need to keep things in our yards (our lives) that will nurture us. We need to keep out those things that will harm us. Sometimes we do the opposite: we keep the good out and keep the bad in.

This is why we need a gate. When the pain or the sin of boundary-less living affects us, we have a choice. We can either open the gate of communication (to God and to appropriate people) or ignore the pain and/or sin.

“Confessing pain and sin helps to get it out [of my yard/life] so that it does not continue to poison me on the inside” (Boundaries, p31).

What is my responsibility? My responsibility includes my . . .

  • Attitudes
  • Behaviours
  • Feelings

What is not my responsibility? Galatians 6:2 talks about helping others with their “stuff.”  This help is to take place during times of crisis and tragedy. This is not to be a day-to-day involvement where the other person abdicates their choices, power, and actions to you.

Think about this  . . .  “Satan is the great distorter of reality. He caused Eve to question God’s boundaries and God’s Truth” (Boundaries, p33).

NOTE: The book I am getting this information from is titled, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This is my 4th time through the topic and I learn something to apply each time.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What is an action in your life that needs to be put out?
  2. Is there an area where you are questioning God’s boundaries or His truth?
  3. Are you taking full responsibility for your attitudes, behaviours, and feelings?
  4. Is there some action you want/need to take regarding a boundary with yourself or someone else?
  5. Are you neglecting a boundary because it is fulfilling a need in your life? If yes, what is the potential long-term harm to the other person?

Related Posts

I wrote this post (#4) for the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors.

Spoiled Milk

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The pure milk of God’s Word is curdled when

“So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” I Peter 2:1-3 (The Message)

  • hate is added
  • self stirs itself in
  • fears jump in unrestrained.

When we drink this cup . . . the nourishment is spoiled.

  • We retch.
  • Thinking God has failed us.

And yet – NO.

  • It is the additives.
  • They are the poison we added.
  • We let them slip in without conscious thought.
Take a fresh glass of God’s milk . . . Guard it.
  • Keep it additive-free.
  • Let its nourishment strengthen your spiritual bones.

This prose was inspired by I Peter 2: 1-3: So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.  Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Your Turn . . .

  • What “additives” of hate, selfishness, and fear do you need to root out of your thinking and behaviors?
  • What blaming thoughts of God do you automatically think when life is “spoiled”? What true thoughts can you replace them with?

I wrote this post (#3) for the 28-Day Blog Challenge for Authors.

I Am Written on God’s Hand

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“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins” (Isaiah 49:16New Living Translation).

God is telling me He thinks about me and my problems ALWAYS. So I don’t need to fret. He has the power, love, and inclination to help.

Lord, help me to exercise my faith to believe this instead of worrying or fearing. Psalm 139 is another good portion of Scripture to read when I feel that God is not inclined to notice me.

Your Turn. Dear Believer, This encouragement is also for you. You are written on God’s hand. You are in God’s thoughts. Do you know this? Believe it? What step can you take today to show faith?

NOTE: This is the 3rd photo in my series, A Spring of Self Portraits. This is an item from my Spring Bucket List.

The list of the portraits is after the (more…) button. Just click on it.  Read the rest of this entry

Ten Ways to Practice Self-Care

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The Chi Machine wiggles me back and forth for only 15 minutes. Strange thing is, as soon as I set the timer, I think about ALL the things I have to do right NOW!

How do you take care of yourself? Are there special foods you eat, activities you do, or people you seek in order to care well for yourself?

I practice (at least) 10 things to comfort myself. When I don’t practice self-care, I get depressed. My schedule gets out-of-balance. I cry easily. And the world looks gloomy.

I like to make sure (1) I am hydrated and (2) drink a daily green smoothie. Other ways I self-pamper are as follows . . .

(3) I like to finish and then check things off my to-do list and/or Bucket Lists. The sense of accomplishment I get is very satisfying. The to-do lists help me stay on task with life’s demands and the Bucket Lists makes sure I add FUN and worthwhile things to my life.

Birthday pressie from my daughter in 2010. Isn’t it gorgeous!

(4) Having a pedicure may be a silly way to self-pamper, but it makes me smile when I look at my pretty toes. Or I LOVE it when my daughter draws henna designs on my feet. The beauty of if also makes me smile.

(5) Epsom bath salt soaks in the tub ease sore muscles and relax me. It seems these days, there is always something that hurts.
(6) Drinking coffee (iced coffee in the Summer and hot coffee when it’s cold), mint or cinnamon tea, or a chocolate blended drink makes me sit down and be still. This stillness helps calm me. And my tastebuds are very delighted with these drinks.
(7) Writing and thinking about why I am grateful, reminds me how much I am loved and blessed by people and by God. Practising gratitude helps me put life into perspective.
(8) Snuggling under a blanket (even in the Summer) for a nap brings me comfort and refreshment.
(9) Talking with God or a select few also give me a balanced perspective on life.

My daughter bought this for me from Craig’s List. My first Chi machine lasted 10 years.

(10) I also like to Chi. The Chi machine helps my asthma, takes kinks out of my back, and gives me energy. Since this is a beneficial 15 minutes, I wonder why I don’t do this more often? I am going to make this April’s exercise.

Your Turn . . . Share a way that you take care of yourself.

Related Posts . . . 

NOTE: This is the 2nd photo in my series, A Spring of Self Portraits. This is an item from my Spring Bucket List.

The list of the portraits is after the (more…) button. Just click on it.  Read the rest of this entry

Can We Set Boundaries and Still be a Loving Person?

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Boundaries are like a fence. I am responsible for what’s on my side of the fence. You are responsible for what’s on your side of the fence.

About once a month, in our Wednesday night small group the issue about boundaries is raised.  Many of us struggle about when it is Biblically appropriate to set limits. Sometime in 2012, I hope we can go through the Boundaries material.

For now I will post 9 points from my current reading.

  1. Setting a boundary is more than saying “no” to requests.
  2. Not having boundaries leads to a chaotic life with spiritual and emotional pain.
  3. Some other characteristics of a boundary-less life include . . .
    • Isolation
    • Helplessness
    • Confusion
    • Guilt, and
    • Feeling like life is out-of-control.
  4. When we don’t take ownership of our life, the following actions won’t work . . .
    • Trying harder
    • Being nice out of fear
    • People pleasing
    • Taking responsibility for others’ feelings and problems
  5. We need to know what is our “job” and what isn’t our job (in relating to others).
  6. The following are not part of our job description. Someone’s . . .
    • Chronic loneliness
    • Irresponsibility
    • Unending crisis’
    • Immaturity
    • Guilt ridden message of self-sacrifice
  7. Our inability or reluctance to set boundaries affects others.
  8. There are 4 types of boundaries: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
  9. Boundaries are Biblical and are seen in God’s character and in His Universe.

Your Turn . . .

  • How would you answer the question in the title?
  • What is the most important thing you’ve learned about boundaries?
  • If you’ve had a problem with boundaries, how did you transition to having godly boundaries?
  • What is a good first step?

Related Posts . . . 

Theological Bucket List

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I have been doing well crossing off items on my bucket lists as opposed to a general life to-do list. I think it’s because the bucket lists have been seasonal and have fewer items. I don’t accomplish everything on my list, but I know that won’t happen when I dream up my lists.

So I decided to dream up a Theological Bucket List too. Not everything I want to do is on this list. This is the first layer. After I accomplish a significant number of items on the list, I will re-think and re-dream and see what’s next.

Here is my list . . . 

Books …

  • All books by C.S. Lewis
  • All my books on prayer and write one thing I learned from each
  • Declutter my theology books (especially if I have them on Logos)
  • Go through Case for Christ for Kids
  • Read all “religious” books I own
  • Read or listen to The Hole in the Gospel
  • Write or find a good first study book for kiddos who become Believers

Luci Swindoll

Hear a specific preacher/teacher in person …

  • Henri Nouwen
  • Luci Swindoll
  • NT Wright
  • JI Packer

Learn

  • Greek – to read New Testament
  • Hebrew – to read Old Testament
  • Spanish – so I can use in ministry

Memorize Scripture …

Music …
  • Learn 12 Hymns
  • Learn 12 current praise songs
  • Learn to play praise songs on guitar

Spiritual disciplines …

  • Tithes/Special Offerings (Donate a paycheck)
  • Fast and pray on a regular basis (determine what is my “regular basis”)
  • Go  through spiritual disciplines book with a group
  • Organize and be part of a mentorship/discipleship group or pairing (with/for ladies)

Topics to study …

One place I’d like to visit is the Dome of the Rock.

Travel …

  • Extended visit to Israel – do study ahead of time, plan photos
  • Follow the journey of Paul’s travels
  • Rome

 Reflection …    

  • Take a life inventory, journal, pray, and fast. What changes, if any, do I need to make?
  • Take spiritual gift inventory again and journal, pray, and fast. What changes do I need to make, if any, regarding doing His Will about my gifting(s)?
  • What is the “impossible” that God is wanting to do through me?
  • What things are holding me back from fully engaging in the life God has planned for me? (Ie. weight, stuff)

I’d like to help people who are hit by a natural disaster. I want show help in a practical way and let them know that God loves them and is working on their behalf.

Volunteer … 

  • Short-term Missions trip – How can I be a long-term encourager after I get home?
  • Visit/Help Astrid (Asia) or Kelly (Africa)
  • Volunteer after a disaster
  • Volunteer for 3 months overseas

Your Turn . . . What would you put on your theological bucket list?

Related Posts . . . 

I Talk Scripture to Myself

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I go through periods of time where I use a dry erase pen to write on my mirrors. It might be a to-do list, quotes, or goals.

But for now, it is Scripture: “So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty,” (Zechariah 4:6)

God’s Spirit is within me.

I need this reminder right now. There are things in my life I have tried to do in my own might and power.

I need this MPS reminder: (not Might nor Power, BUT Spirit).

As a consequence of pondering this verse (which is given to Zerubbabel during a vision about the rebuilding of the Temple), I have been . . .

  • Praying more as a first resort.
  • Asking what God wills in my life, not dictating what I will.
  • Using the divine enablement (tools, motivation, people, and energy) He gives to accomplish His will.
  • Living like the outcome belongs to the Lord.

One commentary states: “Note that these words are directed to Zerubbabel, who has been charged with the leadership in the rebuilding program.

“There is here both encouragement and admonition.

“Zerubbabel need not fear the size or difficulty of the task. God’s supply of power is sufficient for any and every situation.

“But Zerubbabel needs to rely on God rather than personal skill, strength, or ingenuity.

“The word translated “might” is frequently used of armies, wealth, or influence. But God’s work is accomplished by the power of his Spirit.”

Elwell, W. A. (1996, c1989). Evangelical Commentary on the Bible . (electronic ed.) (Zec 4:1). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
NOTE: This is the 1oth photo in my series, A Winter of Self Portraits. When I was brainstorming a list of items for my Winter Bucket List, I came up with the idea of taking 12 self-portraits.