Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Home Stretch- Boundaries

"The world wants us to conform, but the Lord wants to transform us, if we will do things His way.  He will take us and change us into something more than we could have ever dreamed---if we will refuse to give up and just keep running the race that is set before us." ~Joyce Meyer

Welcome back friends!  I hope your Memorial Day weekend was a good one.  I switched things up a little from what I normally do since yesterday was a holiday.  I decided to wait until today to post my new message.  If you're new to my blog, I would like to welcome you.  I am so excited you stopped by!  Please stay a while, and feel free to leave your comments and suggestions.  I normally post a new message on Monday and Friday, so please be sure to check back in on Friday for my next post.  Let's get started with today's message!

On Friday I shared some more examples of boundaries (time, emotional distance, other people, consequences), as well as some more common boundary myths ("Boundaries Are a Sign of Disobedience" and "If I Begin Setting Boundaries, I Will Be Hurt By Others").  Today I will follow up with some more examples of boundary myths and share a few examples of what's within your boundaries.

Common Boundary Myths-

Myth #4- "If I Set Boundaries, I Will Hurt Others"-  I was so afraid that if I said no to someone it would hurt their feelings and they would reject me.  I felt like I had to do whatever it took to make sure that didn't happen.  Saying no to someone who is responsible for getting his/her own needs met, may cause them some discomfort, and they may have to look elsewhere to get those needs met, but it doesn't harm them.  Once I learned and understood what I am responsible for, it helped me give a voice to my nos instead of walking in fear.

Myth #5- "Boundaries Mean That I Am Angry"-  Have you ever felt angry when someone didn't want to take no for an answer?  How about when that pushy salesman will not leave you alone after you've told him no, several times?  What about when you get a call from one of those telemarketeres who continues to hound you even after you've politely said no?  Anger is a signal that tells us that our boundaries have been violated.  Angry feelings serve as an early warning sign that tells us we are in danger of being injured or controlled.  Anger doesn't go away over time, regardless of if the danger occured two minutes ago or twenty years ago.  It has to be worked through, otherwise anger lives inside your heart.  I was surprised how angry I felt at first when I started learning how to say no and live a life with healthy boundaries.  Many people who have injured boundaries may be surprised and shocked by how much anger comes out when they first start enforcing boundaries.  This was not new anger I was feeling, although it felt that way because it is just now coming out.  It was old anger coming to the surface from all those years of feeling like I didn't give my no a voice, like it was never respected or listened to. Boundary-injured people commonly go through a season of doing some catching-up with anger by looking at boundary violations of the past that they never realize existed.  Our anger should be a red flag that our boundaries are being violated.

Myth #6- "When Others Set Boundaries, It Injures Me"-  It's hard hearing the word no.  Accepting the boundaries of others is not pleasant.  If you want others to respect your boundaries then you must be willing to respect the boundaries of others.  Below are a few reasons why accepting others' boundaries can be a problem.

*Inappropriate boundaries being set on us can injure us, especially as children.
*We project our own injuries onto others.
*An inability to receive someone's boundary may mean there is an idolatrous relationship.  (The word idolatrous means treating someone or something as an idol.)
*An inability to accept others' boundaries can indicate a problem in taking responsibility for your own life.

What's Within My Boundaries?

1.)  Feelings- 
Your feelings should neither be ignored nor placed in charge.  We must own our feelings.  Your feelings come from your heart and can tell you the state of your relationships.  They can tell you if things are going well, or if there is a problem.  Your feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to.  How many times have you been in a relationship with someone who continually refused to look at their own problems, but blames you or someone else for the way they feel?  I've been on both sides of this situation.  I've been the one who refused to look at my own insecurities and self-worth issues, and expected someone else to keep me built up all the time so I didn't have to face my own feelings, as well as the one being blamed for not meeting the needs of the person with self-worth and rejection issues.  Once you begin to take responsibility for your own feelings you can begin to walk in peace and freedom.  I know I am the only one who can do something about the way I feel.

2.)  Attitudes and Beliefs-  Attitudes have to do with your orientation toward something, the stance you take toward others, God, life, work, and relationships.  Beliefs are anything you accept as true.  Often we do not see an anttitude, or belief, as the source of discomfort in our life.   We blame other people.  We need to own or attitudes and convictions because they fall within our property line.  We are the ones who feel their effect, and the only ones who can change them.

3.)  Behaviors-  Behaviors have consequences.  A man reaps what he sows.  The problem comes when someone interrupts the law of sowing and reaping in another's life.  To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless.  When people are not held accountable for their behavior it teaches them that it's okay to act in a harmful way towards others.  Taking responsibility for your actions is within your boundaries.

4.)  Choices-  We need to take responsibility for our choices.  This leads to the fruit of self-control.  A common boundary problem is disowning our choices and trying to lay the responsibility for them on someone else.  We are in control of our choices, no matter how we feel.  You are the one who makes them, so you must be the one responsible for them.

5.)  Values-  What we value and love is what we assign importance to.  Often we do not take responsibility for what we value.  I got caught up in valuing man's approval rather than God's approval, which led me down a dead-end road.  Our out of control behavior comes from loving the wrong things or valuing things that have no lasting value.

This is where I will close for today my friends.  I will be back on Friday with the last message in this series on Boundaries.  I hope you have a great week and that you are starting to make good decisions to have healthy boundaries.  Here's something for you to think about:  Do you have a hard time taking responsibility for your feelings, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, choices, and values?  I certainly struggled with these things for many years.  I already felt like I wasn't good enough anyway because of the self-worth and rejections issues.  I felt like I had to blame someone else, or make excuses, for the way I felt (worthless, unloved, depressed, angry, etc.).  One example would be when a friend wouldn't get together with me or call me as much as I thought they should, or if they hung out with someone else more than me.  I felt like they didn't care about me and that I wasn't good enough for them.  I would feel hurt, jealous, and even angry at them.  I expected them to make me "feel" like I was important and valuable by doing the things I thought they should do.  Little did I know that they were powerless to make me feel the things I wanted to feel on a permanent basis.  I might feel built up and loved temporarliy when they were doing the things I wanted them to, but it would only last a short time because I was putting a band-aid on something that required surgery.  It was not anyone else's responsiility to make me feel valued, loved, happy, or at peace.  I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  There is only One who determines my value and worth.  His love for me is beyond comprehension.  He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me.  That is where I needed to look for my worth and value, not to others.  It's not easy to "own your stuff."  It may appear to be easier to blame others, but it won't help you live a life of freedom.  It only keeps you in bondage.  The one person you can never get away from is you.  Moving forward only comes when you decide to face the truth and own your stuff.  It also takes so much pressure off of the people in your life because they are now free to enjoy the blessing of your relationship without feeling pressured to meet all of your needs, which they can't do anyway.  Until next time my friends, be blessed!

Scripture Verses to Encourage You:

So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord. ~2 Cor. 3:18 (CEV)

So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. ~Galatians 6:9 (MSG)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.~James 1:2-4 (MSG)

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