A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. ― Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Property boundaries are much easier to understand than personal ones. If we get confused about where to plant the Crape Myrtle or Magnolia tree, a quick call to 811 will give us a visible reminder. Maintaining personal boundaries often feels like we forgot to call 811. We struggle with where the boundary should be and therefore we allow others to move our lines.
Drs. Cloud and Townsend give us ten boundaries that we are responsible for in their book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes – When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. Today we will cover five of them and next week we will talk about the other five. I didn’t want us to miss Cloud/Townsend’s list before we move away for the boundaries discussion we have been having this month.
What should fall within my boundaries?
How we feel about something or someone is important. We shouldn’t let feelings rule our lives but we shouldn’t ignore them either. An example of how important it is to pay attention to our feelings is when we feel depressed or filled with anger. How we feel is a helpful barometer to measure how things are going. When we recognize how we feel, we can know what may need addressing in our lives. Our feelings are our responsibility. If there is a problem, we should seek an answer.
✓ Attitudes and Beliefs
Our attitudes and beliefs are learned early. They are birthed in our culture and family traditions. Owning them falls within our personal space. Healthy people take a look at their attitudes and beliefs about life and people. We feel the effect of those beliefs and we are the only ones who can change them. Mark 7:8 is a wakeup call for us. Jesus said,
“For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” NLT
Paul is clear in Galatians 6:7-8,
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” ESV
We go to work, we get paid. We eat healthy food, our bodies are healthier. Our behavior has consequences. When we intervene in the sowing and reaping process in other people’s lives, problems arise. Quoting the Drs. “To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless.”
Y’all, this is a hard one. I’m not going to kid you. When we rescue and shield in unhealthy ways, we hurt our relationships. When we get it out-of-order for ourselves or for someone else, it will not bring peace. We think it will, but it never does. God created this process for our benefit.
We are in control of our choices. When we hear ourselves say, “She made me…” or “I had to…” our ears need to perk up. No one makes us do anything. When we turn our choices over to another resentment sets in. Galatians 5:23 speaks on the fruit of self-control. We make our choices and we live with the consequences of them.
“What we value is what we love and assign importance to.” What are our priorities? Taking responsibility for the things we place value in helps us recognize when our values are out of line.
Healthy living takes action and intention. Perfection will not happen on this side of heaven. My prayer is for us to recognize when we fall back into our unhealthy ways. Jesus came to give us abundant life. (John 10:10)
Holy Spirit, open our eyes to deception. As David prayed in Psalm 139: 23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
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