Y’all, I’m a bit boundary weary. I’ve had lots of boundary practice this month. How about you?
I’m thinkin’ we need a respite. When my daughter is having a tough day, I send her videos of goats in pajamas, playing. It relieves tension. So here we go. We need a reward :)
It’s hard trying to live within healthy boundaries. Last week I gave you five boundaries (out of ten) that are our responsibility. Today, let’s discuss the other five.
5 boundaries that are our responsibility:
There are two facets to establishing healthy limits:
- setting limits on others
- setting limits on our own self – self-control
Drs. Cloud and Townsend remind us in their book Boundaries – When to Say Yes When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, setting limits on others is a misnomer. We cannot control other people’s behavior. Let’s be real, we have all tried this and we have all realized that it doesn’t work.
What can we control when it comes to others? Limits on our own exposure to people who are behaving poorly. This is what God does. He does not try to control our behavior. In Carmen’s interpretation God says, “Here are my standards for us to be in a relationship.” He lets us choose to follow His standards. Quoting the Drs., “God says in effect, ‘You can be that way if you choose, but you cannot come into my house.’ Heaven is a place for the repentant, and all are welcome.”
Internal limits are tricky. Gosh, I don’t know why I think I can control someone else. Keeping myself in line is a full-time job. The Drs. wrote a great article on FaithGateway about Establishing Boundaries With Yourself (they give a self-boundary checklist.)
Learning to be mature in self-boundaries is not easy. Many obstacles hinder our progress; however, God desires our maturity and self-control even more than we do. He’s on our team as an exhorter, encourager, and implorer (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
This one might give me an ouchy because I have let fear stand in between me and my calling. God has given us all talents and gifts. The scriptures in Matthew 25 where Jesus discusses the unfaithful servant who squandered his talent makes me uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is good. “Not confronting our fear denies the grace of God and insults both his giving of the gift and his grace to sustain us as we are learning.”- Cloud/Townsend
There is risk involved when we step out and use our gifts.
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.” – Joyce Meyer
Y’all, let’s do brave – knee shaking, tummy turning, palms sweating, heartbeat escalating – brave. It scares me to even write those words.
Elvis often said when he was flabbergasted, “My boy, my boy, my boy…” Sounds like it fits here. My girl, my girl, my girl. Paul wrote about learning to take thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. (MSG)
- Examining the information we are allowing into our minds. We can listen to others but we must think for ourselves. We were discussing this dangerous trend during our last growth group. Beware of people who put information out there with little godly truth to it. Use your gift of Holy Spirit discernment. Does all of the information line up with biblical truth?. The Bible is our compass. Our guide.
- Continuing to grow in knowledge is being a good steward of the gift of learning God has given us.
- Clarifying our distorted thinking. Whether it’s our rose-colored glasses that mask the truth or our past hurts and painful choices that brings distortion into our relationships. We ask, “What is the truth in this situation?” If we have stinkin’ thinkin’ we take responsibility for it and move forward to change it.
- Communicating our thoughts to others. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:11a, “No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit…” If we want others to know what we think or need, we gotta speak up.
We all have wants, dreams, wishes, and goals. That’s good. God places desires within us.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 ESV
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19 ESV
When we identify what we want, we must then identify the motives in our desires. Our why makes a difference. James speaks to this: “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” (4:2-3 NLT)
God is a wise parent who gives good gifts. If what we want is good for us, He’s listening with His giving ear.
God not only gives, but He also encourages us to work for what we desire, “It is pleasant to see dreams come true…” Proverbs 13:9
Giving and receiving love is the lifeblood of our soul. God is our loving Father. We have the ability to love because He first loved us.
Our loving heart, like our physical one, needs and inflow as well as an outflow of lifeblood. And like its physical counterpart, our heart is a muscle, a trust muscle. This trust muscle needs to be used and exercised; if it is injured it will slow down or weaken. – Drs. Cloud and Townsend
Our hearts are our responsibility. Are we giving love? Are we blocking other’s attempts to give us love? When we accept our responsibility, we can work on our weaknesses. We all need love.
Becoming and maintaining emotional health is some of the hardest work we will do. Let me encourage you to not tackle it all at once! This as a process. One step at a time. If we ask God what needs to change, He will reveal it to us. Thankfully, in my life, He shines His light a little at a time.
Lord, show us our next step. In Jesus’ name, Amen
If you were helped by this post on boundaries, here are links to the other posts in this series: