Friday, May 25, 2012

Continuing On With Boundaries

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Welcome back friends!  Happy Friday to you!  How has your week been?  I hope it's been good for you.  On Monday I shared some more examples of boundaries (truth and geographical distance), and a common boundary myth ("If I set boundaries I'm being selfish").  Today I will be sharing some more examples in these areas.  I will be wrapping up my study on Boundaries next Friday, June 1st.  I would encourage you again, if you haven't read it, to get the Boundaries book by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.  It will give you more understanding of the things I have been sharing with you over the last couple of posts.  Learning to live a life with healthy boundaries takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but the desire for positive change gives us the motivation we need to continue pressing forward.  Let's get started with today's message!

Examples of Boundaries- (continued)

*Time-  There are occasions where taking time away from a person, or a situation, can be a way to regain ownership of an out-of-control area of your life where there are a lack of boundaries.

*Emotional Distance-  Sometimes emotional distance is required to give your heart the space it needs to be safe.  This is not a permanent way of living, but a temporary place to let your emotions thaw out, especially where abusive relationships are concerned.

*Other People-  You need other people to help you set and keep boundaries.  After many years of being subject to a lack of boundaries, supports groups give the strength for many people to say no, perhaps for the first time in their lives.  There are two reasons why you need others to help with boundaries.  The first reason is that our most basic need in life is for relationship.  Fear of being alone keeps many in hurtful patterns for years.  The second reason is you need new input and teaching.  There needs to be a good biblical support system to help you stand against the guilt that comes from old, toxic ways of thinking that tries to keep you in bondage.  Creating boundaries always involves a support network.

*Consequences-  Our boundaries need to be backed up with consequences.  They let others know the seriousness of the trespass and the seriousness of our respect for ourselves.  This teaches others that our commitment to living according to our values is something we hold dear and we will fight to protect and guard them.

Common Boundary Myths-

*Myth #2- "Boundaries Are a Sign of Disobedience"- Guilt and fear can keep many of us trapped in a cycle of endless activities of no genuine and emotional value.  The truth is life-changing; a lack of boundaries is often a sign of disobedience.  People who have shaky limits are often compliant on the outside, but rebellious and resentful on the inside.  Fear often keeps them from saying no, so they cover their fear by giving a half-hearted yes.  What are the thoughts and attitudes of our heart when we say yes?  God is more concerned with our heart than He is with our outward compliance.  There is no fear in love, so if we are saying yes out of fear, then our true motive isn't love.  Our yes is compromised when we are afraid to say no.

*Myth #3- "If I Begin Setting Boundaries, I Will Be Hurt by Others"- It is possible that others will become angry at our boundaries and attack or withdraw from us.  God never gave us the power or the right to control how others respond to our no.  Some people will welcome it and some will hate it.  We cannot manipulate people into swallowing our boundaries by sugarcoating them.  The people in our lives who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, and our separateness.  The people who cannot respect out boundaries are essentially telling us that they only love our yes and our compliance, not our no.  Setting limits has to do with telling the truth.  Wise is the person who welcomes and accepts your boundaries.  Then there is the person who hates limits, resents your difference, and tries to manipulate you into giving up your treasures.  These people do not respect you or your boundaries.  Will some people abandon or attack you for having boundaries? Yes, they will.  Better to learn about their character and take steps to fix the problem than to never know.

This is where I will close for today my friends.  The Examples of Boundaries given in this post concludes the ones given in the Boundaries book.  I will continue on Monday with more Boundary Myths, as well as sharing What's Within Our Boundaries.  Here's something for you to think about: The main reason I would not say no to people was because of guilt and fear.  I didn't want to say no because I thought I needed the validation and approval of others for my worth.  To say no might mean losing the approval I so desperately sought.  I had great struggles with guilt because I thought I was being mean to say no, and I didn't want to make anyone angry or mad at me.  The process I've gone through in learning to say no has not been easy, in fact, it has been very difficult at times for me.  Still, it has been worth it to be free from the lies and bondage of living that way.  I hope and pray that you will find freedom and peace as you seek to have healthy boundaries.  Until next time my friends, be blessed!

*Scripture Verses to Encourage You:

"Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
   I trust, I won't be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
   best of all, my salvation!"~Isaiah 12:2 (MSG)

For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”~Isaiah 41:13 (ESV)

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. ~Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~1 John 4:18 (NIV)

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