Tag Archives: Boundaries

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?

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

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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?

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Grateful for Boundaries in Five Area (FFF)

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A boundary is an action or internalized statement that shows what I am and am not responsible for in my life. Boundaries (or lack of them) affect all areas of my life: emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally, financially, and intellectually.  They help me “develop my life, abilities, feelings, thoughts and behaviours” in a way that honors God and is healthy. (Drs. Cloud & Townsend, Boundaries, p 105).

I am rereading the Boundaries book and am pleased to see how I have grown. This week I am grateful for boundaries in five areas.

1. Work. My job feels like an active volcano with an unending lava flow of responsibilities. In fact, every job has felt that way. In past jobs I was responsible for getting it ALL done every day. I had unrealistic expectations and so did (some of) my boss(es).

BUT NOW, while I have a lot to do, I am not being asked to do more than I can do. My boss understands and stresses that I only do what is reasonable. I am grateful for his insistence that I take a day off no matter what my work plate looks like. See my post on Monday for how I will be handing this lack of good boundary enforcement.

2. Friendships. In my younger years my “friendships” were characterized by one side (me) making most of (if not all) the arrangements for our time together. My “friend” would either monopolize our time with her issues or never let me in on what was going on. That’s what I thought friendships were.

BUT NOW, I am grateful that today I have true friendships. We are balanced in our communication about likes, dislikes, hurts, and happinesses. We share the responsibility of calling one another and planning our time together.

3. Children. It was a privilege for me to be able to invest my energies into the lives of my two kiddos. It required a lot of consistency on my part in regards to discipline, schooling, and educating them in skills, relationships, etc. In short, I was training them in boundaries. However, enforcing those boundaries was the hardest thing I ever did. I wanted to be able to tell them once or even a mere 20 times and then not talk about or enforce it anymore. But that wasn’t how life went, especially with the stubborn child.

BUT NOW, I am grateful I do not have to enforce those kinds of boundaries anymore. Both “children” (now in their late 20’s) are fully functioning adults. They don’t throw food, are potty trained, and they manage their anger in appropriate ways. They are intelligent, capable of carrying on a respectful conversation, and meet the needs of others. They have marketable job skills and are valued by their employers. They care for others and they care for themselves. They turned out okay!

4. Myself. Setting boundaries here is sometimes the hardest one to deal with. But I am grateful that I am making head way with setting boundaries regarding food. While growing up food was used as a reward or bribe. It was offered for comfort, celebration, and just because. Food became a part of my identity and self-soothing techniques.

BUT NOW, I am grateful that food is becoming just food. I don’t eat three candy bars on the way home from the grocery store. I don’t wake in the middle of the night to eat a snack. I don’t binge-eat to avoid dealing with stresses in my life. I don’t go to food before going to God and other people.

5. God. Yes, I do need to have boundaries with God too. These boundaries include honesty in my feelings and thoughts toward God. But for many years I was afraid to tell God about the real me. I was afraid He’d get angry, disgusted, or turned off and then abandon me or at least severly punish me..

BUT NOW, I know it is more than okay to tell God my likes, dislikes, wishes and needs. I can and do tell God about my bad and ugly sins. Doing so does not turn God off or cause Him to ditch me as a friend or Savior. In truth, the opposite happens. God forgives and He reassures Believers (like me) that nothing can separate them (ME) from His love or salvation.

Why don’t you tell what five things for which you are grateful? Living to Tell the Story is hosting this weekly Friday Fave Five.  To join us in the conversation,go to this link.

Your Turn . . .

  1. How good are you at boundary keeping in the five areas mentioned above?
  2. What area are you the best at? What needs work?
  3. What are your thoughts about boundaries in general?

For more information check out the book Boundaries by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.

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Journal Exercise to Complete at the End of Retreat

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We just spent a lovely weekend right by Lake Tahoe. The weekend’s topic was an overview of  Boundaries and presented in a low-key, sensitive manner. One attendee said she enjoyed how the topic was shared without guilt. Me too.

630844_fenceI also liked the word picture that boundaries, like fences, should have a gate.

Boundaries are supposed to be able to “breathe,” to be like fences with a gate that can let the good in and the bad out. Individuals with walls for boundaries can let in neither bad nor good. No one touches them.

God designed our personal boundaries to have gates. We should have the freedom to enjoy safe relationships and to avoid destructive ones.”  (Boundaries by Dr. Cloud & Dr. Townsend, pp 52-53)

At the end of a retreat, class, or seminar, I like to evaluate the experience. This helps me to see what I learned and how to incorporate the learning into my life.

Below are some questions to ponder after your next retreat.

  1. What were your expectations and hopes regarding the following: The topic  . . . Yourself . . . The ladies . . . God?
  2. Were your expectations and hopes met in each of the four areas? Why or why not? How?
  3. What one or two ideas made a great impact on you this weekend?
  4.  What will you do with this information?
  5.  Who will you share it with?

Your Turn – – – How did you answer the questions? What questions would you add?

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