Is it hot where you live this summer? Because it is here, although I 'm very, very, VERY thankful that it's not nearly so treacherously hot as it was this time last summer!
Needless to say, I have spent as much time hiding away in the air conditioning as possible. Honestly, folks, I was just not MADE for hot, humid weather!! I am so serious! I cannot handle it. Give me cool temperatures any day . . . . I will put on my sweater with a smile! :-) I like warm weather, but when I say warm I'm talking 65-80 degrees. Most definitely not 105!
So I was trying to think (or rather, gather my thoughts into one arena! LOL) about what I could post over this time around, knowing that it has been a while since I posted and knowing that I honestly do want to post more frequently. It just doesn't always happen! And so I thought, why not talk about something that I've been actively dealing with and/or working on for years now, and had to utilize yet again just this week? Boundaries!
First off, let me begin by saying that boundaries have been made much clearer to me through reading certain books such as "Boundaries," by the Christian authors/psychologists, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. And I highly recommend the book if you haven't read it! It's a lifesaver and transformer! And I don't recall reading anything that goes against the grain of the Word or Christian living, it just empowers you to live a more fulfilling life with healthy boundaries if you listen to what they have to say!
Anyhow, the book has helped me many times. I may put a couple quotes at the end of this, just because they are pretty powerful, at least they are to me! But the other method of learning for me that is a sure shot every single time is simply experience. You know, where you do what you think you should then you feel you've totally messed everything up and you go back again to try and fix it only to realize that it was never your issue to fix and you've just made yourself more upset and flustered in your attempt?!? *out of breath* Yes. That sort of experience. And others. Some experiences have been good for me, in that I did what I knew I should or said what I knew I had to say, and I came away feeling happier, lighter, stronger. That's when I knew that I had done things the way God would want me to -- I felt the witness of His Holy Spirit telling me it would be okay and I'd done my part -- to relax now and let Him do His.
This week I had to emphasize boundaries again with people I love. Perhaps some of you are reading this and thinking, "Boundaries and people you love? Should those really go in the same sentence?" If you're thinking that, it's because you're thinking that boundaries are an evil thing, or at the very least, not an advisable thing to have with the people you love. But on the contrary, they are vital. Healthy boundaries built out of love both for others and for yourself are crucial. I have been learning this now for a long time and I have no doubt I will be learning more about it for my entire life. (not always a pleasant conclusion, but hey, it's life! We'll be learning till we move on to eternity, and I'm not sure we won't still be learning something even then! :)
So, tell me, if you've made it this far (I applaud you if you did -- as I know I can be verbose!), have you ever had to put up boundaries in a relationship? Has it worked out? Was the response of the person you put up boundaries with been a positive one? Negative? Hostile? Grateful? Resistant but then understanding? Because reactions from the people you have to make boundaries with vary along a very broad spectrum.
As you go about putting up healthy boundaries, I wish you the best. I encourage you to not give in, to keep the boundaries you know are healthy, vital, essential. Because of the fact that God did not create us to hurt one another, boundaries are one of the tools we need to truly love, honor and respect other human beings. There needs to be greater respect and strong, "tough" love between Christians, in my opinion. Sometimes a lack of boundaries causes great instability and illness in relationships. I cannot see that being part of God's vision for His people!
“Boundaries help us
‘guard our heart with all diligence.’ We
need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that
will harm us outside. In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the
bad out.” (pg. 33, Boundaries)
“God also limits what he will allow
in his yard. He confronts sin and allows consequences for behavior. He invites
people in who will love him, and lets his love flow outward to them at the same
time. The “gates” of his boundaries open
and close appropriately.” (pg. 35, Boundaries)