Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Boundaries

My summer study went through the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I don't read alot of nonfiction but I did like this book. It was biblical and very applicable to my life and relationships. Psychologists and inspirational speakers Cloud and Townsend present a biblical treatment of boundaries, identify how boundaries are developed, and how they become injured. They also show Christian misconceptions of the function and purpose of boundaries, and provide a steps for developing and maintaining healthy limits.
I've always been a pretty compliant person. I go-with-the-flow most of the time. I let other people call the shots when sometimes I'm internally wishing we'd done something else or even wishing I'd said "no" altogether. The bible talks about how our yes should mean yes and our no should mean no. Sadly I (and I'm sure many other compliants) haven't always done that.
The book talks about how even though some people may take advantage of our compliant nature - it is not their "fault" when I say yes when I want to say no, or when I let myself get talked into something that I didn't want to do and am bitter and resentful as I fulfill my obligation. I make those choices - they didn't make me do those things - I chose to. I need to start taking responsibility for my own actions and feelings and not allowing other people to control me, whether it be through aggressive behaviors or manipulation - I need take back control of my life and to be able to stand firm in my own beliefs and decisions. It is my God given right and responsibility.
When we don't take control of our own actions, feelings, etc... we're giving that control to someone else. Often that leads to resentment and broken relationships or self esteem problems and feelings of being out of control. When we take control of the things that we are truly responsible for: our feelings, actions, attitudes, behaviors, talents, choices, desires, values, loves... then we are able to love more freely because we are not making choices based on compulsion to please or pacify someone else. We can them give a whole-hearted, loving "YES" and truly mean it!
Unfortunately, not all healthy boundaries are met with smiles and "atta-boys". Everyone's boundaries are different and their expectations of the people around them are effected by their boundaries. Sometimes even when we set reasonable, healthy boundaries with our friends and family we will hurt feelings or anger them. Cloud and Townsend's website says:

Fight for what’s Right
– We are all at different places in our quest for the good life, and sometimes this puts us at odds with those around us. Certain situations require that we take a stand on issues that are uncomfortable for us. We may want to back down for fear of offending or alienating someone close to us - yet we know we must “fight for what’s right”. Some resistance is normal and even to be expected, so let us help you learn how to handle the struggle that’s likely to come your way.


Love - Finally, it is all about love. As Jesus has told us, the two greatest commandments hang on the ultimate reality of Love. And this is the biggest misunderstanding that we find when talking about Boundaries. Many people think that boundaries are about selfishness and are at their root, self-serving. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Boundaries are about freedom, and freedom is always meant to have as it’s ultimate fruit, love. As Paul says, and we would echo to anyone who uses boundaries in a self-serving way,
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Gal. 5:13,14)
Boundaries are about God’s restoring freedom to you and me so that we could take control of our lives to be able to love Him and others. Ultimately, that is the fruit of boundaries, to love our of freedom, and with purpose.

So... even though its still a work in progress... Boundaries work for me!! Click HERE for more Works For Me Wednesday participants.


1 comment:

Fuschia said...

I'm sure I need to read that book. My MIL did a few years back and she says it changed her life.
I really like your new look!