February is a great month to talk about relationships. Married or single we have friends, in-laws, parents, children, and even the check out person at Walmart in our circle. And, our circle can send us over the edge on any given day. One of my favorite books on relationships is Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Have you read it? If not, HERE is a link to pick it up (not an affiliate link. I just believe in its worth).
The combined wisdom of these two can change the way we look at setting boundaries. This is a struggle for me. I am a pleaser and I want us all to be happy. Cloud and Townsend help us understand that our beliefs and behaviors in this area are often at the expense of our emotional health. Not only ours but for those we love. I am a work in progress. But, work I shall.
The pain that setting healthy boundaries can cause is a healthy pain. The “dig the splinter out of your thumb” pain. We all know the splinter must come out. It takes courage to tackle it and then time to heal it. Our thumb is glad we did the hard thing.
It’s an uncomfortable place to sit. So uncomfortable in fact, that if we actually set boundaries, we are in an intimate gathering. Thinking about it makes us want to call chicken and wiggle back into our comfy chair. The one where the seat has the imprint of our behind.
I’m here to remind us all that we have the opportunity to help some folks be better. And we are a part of the folks.
When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” ― Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No
Jesus set boundaries. Here is a couple: Jesus…
- remained focused on His mission when others wanted to sideline His plan. – Luke 4:42-44
- confronted sin and told people how to change. – John 5:14; John 8:11; Luke 11:37-54
Many of our heroes in the Bible learned (sometimes the hard way like you and me) the skill of setting healthy boundaries. The Apostle Paul comes to mind. Check out his letters. He had firm boundaries. I’m not there yet, Y’all. Just throwing that out there. But, we don’t have to be there yet. We just begin.
Every good boundary doesn’t have to be set today. But, one good boundary is a great place to start.
Lord, give us the strength we need to live with joy and peace. Part of that equation certainly contains healthy boundaries. We are scared. We don’t like uncomfortable. Help us follow Your example of wise living. Thank you for gifting men and women to guide us along the path. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.