Monday, January 31, 2011

Boundaries - Attitudes, Beliefs, Behaviors and Choices

Wow, so how quickly we can "cop an attitude", and so early in the morning at that! Having 3 girls in the house, ages 9-12 on top of me, myself and I, we can have an abundance of bad "tudes" to deal with! Hubby waking up at 5 AM to find 2 little girls already up and one looking for breakfast; someone putting an item where it doesn't belong so it can't be found when needed; the sister sitting next to you eating breakfast with too many "noises"; sharing a bathroom; not getting enough "me" time before everyone else wakes up; a child talking to me while I'm trying to read something in my Bible; eating pancakes with the only syrup that's left and it has Splenda in it and leaves a gross aftertaste you can't get rid of; cracker crumbs on the rug from the night before; the child who ALWAYS takes forever to do ANYTHING; hubby (and then wifey) searching drawers, fridge and cupboards frustrated cause he can't find his milk container to take with his breakfast ( it's still in the fridge at the office...oops); the coffee in my cup is lukewarm; and WHY are there so many dirty cups and bowls on the counter from just last night? Oh, and Joyce Meyer is on TV telling me that I should be living a victorious life. And that's all before 7:45 AM, so good morning to you all and have a blessed day...:D

Now really...although no harsh words were spoken this morning (and no one got hurt), that little feeling of irritation was creeping in threatening to ruin our day if we chose to give in. We can have attitudes (good and bad) based on what we have come to believe to be the "right way" of doing things. When others don't measure up, watch out. WE must all own our own attitudes. WE are the only one responsible for them. They fall within our property lines - our boundaries. We have attitudes and beliefs left over from how we were raised in our family of origin, or how we ourselves have simply gotten used to doing things when we should be renewing our minds to God's way of doing things and putting on God's character and habits.  Jesus referred to this in Mark 7:9 when He said, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)." and Matthew 15:3 "He replied to them, And also do you transgress and violate the commandment of God for the sake of the rules handed down to you by your forefathers?" During the course of the day, these little things may not be that big of a deal, but if we don't learn how to set limits and take responsibility in the little things, eventually bigger situations and our relationships with people in life will be affected. We have to learn a new way of doing things. God's way.

Proverbs continually tells us that setting limits and taking responsibility will save lives. Proverbs 13:18 "Poverty and shame come to him who refuses instruction and correction, but he who heeds reproof is honored." vs. 24 says "He who spares his rod (of discipline) hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early." Thankfully, it's never to late to learn.

Our behaviors and choices are our responsibility and come with consequences. Some small, some big, some very damaging that eventually affect our lives in ways we would never choose.

Galations 5:23 tells us of the fruit of the spirit that should be working in our lives through Jesus in us. That fruit is LOVE and that love is displayed with joy (gladness) , peace, patience (an even temper), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (humility) and self-control (self-restraint).

Galations 6: 7-8 tells us that "we will reap what we sow", but when boundaries are confused and not set properly and firmly, too many times, we allow ourselves to reap the consequences (pain or hurt) of what someone else has sown by their actions and words. One person is irresponsible and happy and the other is responsible and unhappy. If you really love someone, you will  let them feel consequences so that they can hopefully learn a better way. When we don't, it can end up with us being resentful and our relationships become and stay unhealthy. When we do set limits with others and take responsibility for ourselves we will be so much happier and live that victorious, abundant, blessed life that God promised us.

If we are really brave, we will take time to get quiet before God, and read all of Galations Chapter 6 and let Him show us what needs to be done differently in our lives and in the way we relate to those around us.

Oh, and by the way.....I can STILL taste the Splenda and the coffee in my cup is COLD.....;)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Boundaries - Our Feelings

First, let me say Isaac and Trevor did a fantastic "show" last night.  I was so excited to be there with them! They had 15 minutes and did 4 songs which were all received well! A bit disappointed though that after we left to go eat with our friends, the owner asked them to play more and they gave another hours performance. Oh, well, I will catch them again next time!

For The Rabbits

Bean's Books &Beliefs Coffee Shop
Open Mic night

                                   So...back to boundaries:
Yesterday I wrote about the different things we are responsible for.  One of which is our feelings. God tells us in so many places that we can choose how we feel and respond to life and those around us.

Philippians 4:6-7 " DO NOT fret or have anxiety about anything...."
Psalm 42:5 "Why are you downcast oh my soul...hope in the Lord..."
Psalm 37:1 "Fret not yourself...."
Psalm 9:2 "I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits....."
Proverbs 16:9 "A man's mind plans his way..."
Proverbs 4:23 Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life."

We can't ignore our feelings, but we can't let them be in charge either.  We are told to capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5)

"Feelings come from your heart and can tell you the state of your relationships. They can tell you if things are going well or there's a problem. If you feel close and loving things are probably going well.  If you feel angry, you have a problem that needs to be addressed. But the point is, 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." (Excerpt from Boundaries by Cloud/Townsend)

If we allow someone to get us angry or sad, it is because we have allowed them to have "power" over us and we are in bondage to them. We need to deal with WHY we are allowing them to affect us in that way, instead of only relying on Jesus to give us our approval. So that also means that we don't allow others to hold us responsible for how THEY feel and once we get a hold of that concept, it is very freeing indeed! Does this give us the right to treat people however we choose? Oh course not! But, if we continue to harm them, they may set up boundaries to protect themselves from us and likewise we have the responsibility to put boundaries around our lives to protect ourselves from harm. Will setting boundaries in our relationships HURT someone"s feelings?  Perhaps, and most likely, yes, but it won't HARM them. And therein lies the  difference.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Boundaries - When Compassion Becomes Guilt

So, exciting news for today! Isaac and his friend Trevor will be playing at their first "Open Mic" at a local cook store/coffee shop tonight! Got a sitter arranged for the girlies and Rick and I get to have a date! We'll be meeting some there with some of our friends too! They have their first EP out with 3 songs on it too.
They are currently in the top 3 of unnassigned Folk musicians.....:)

So, I'll share a little more on this boundary thing today. You know in the story of the Good Samaritan how basically the guy helps the guy that's been beaten and robbed and takes him to an inn and pays for him to stay there a few days to heal up, right? He says he has business to take care of but when he comes back he will take care of any other expenses - and then he goes on his way. End of story. Well, let's change it up a bit....what if the injured guy gets upset because the business man is leaving? Tells him he's being selfish, uncaring, unChristian-like, not acting like Jesus, and is supposed to deny himself to help others. The business man thinks maybe he is being uncaring so he postpones his trip for a few days to stay with the injured guy making sure he is happy and content. Business guy gets a message in a couple days from his business contacts that says they gave the business to someone else cause they waited as long as they could. Now, the business man is mad and resentful at the injured man because he lost a deal.

Sometimes we are moved by compassion to help someone, but then we are manipulated to give more than we want to give but we do it anyway and end up resentful and angry. Or maybe it's us who wants more from someone than they are willing to give and we want to pressure them so they will give in to us. This again, is where boundaries come in. What exactly are WE responsible for?

2 Corinthians 9:7 Let each on give as he has made up his own mind 
and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully 
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver, 
whose heart is in his giving."

Philemon 1:14 (Paul said) But is has been my wish to do nothing about it without first consulting you and getting your consent,in order that your benevolence might not seem to be the result of compulsion or of pressure, 
but might be voluntary on your part.

John 12:43 (Jesus said) For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that came from men instead of the glory that comes from God. 
They valued their credit with men more than their credit with God.

Today, I'll give you a list of what falls in our boundaries and later will add more details.

Our Feelings, Attitudes and Beliefs,
Behaviors, Choices, Values, Limits,
Talents, Thoughts, Desires, and Love.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Boundaries - What Do They Look Like?

God has continually been whispering to me how much He loves me, but so many other things in my life have been shouting so loud that it was difficult for me to hear him. I have been reminded over and over to "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God." Psalm 46:10

For me personally, God has been asking me to loosen my grip on some activities and relationships in my life that have been "distractions" and even holding me back to who God was trying to get me to be IN HIM. I'm am not saying these were not good, but I was holding on too tightly to the worth they gave me. The approval I needed. They had become little gods in my life. He wanted me to focus on Him and let HIM give me HIS love, worth and approval. One day, I believe I will get them back and they will be so much sweeter to me.

The most difficult part of trusting God is when He wants me to take a step in the direction He gives me, and I find myself in that new place and it's not familiar or comfortable at first, but God in His infinite wisdom knows what I need to be whole and healthy in my spirit, soul and body. Although it's difficult to admit, not everything and everyone in our lives contributes to our healthiness, and at times are harmful to us. It is in these circumstances that God wants us to have strong boundaries in place. "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilence and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23

Today briefly, I will share what I learned about what boundaries look like from Henry and John's book: These quotes are more intended for people who are in abusive (verbal, mental, emotional, or physical)relationships, but we can all glean so many things from them as they are all Biblical principles.

1. Skin -Your skin shows where your property begins and where others start. It’s the greatest boundary you have and the largest organ in your body. It holds you together, protects, and allows for the good and bad to be exchanged.
2. Words - Mat 5:37—You can create great protection with your words. Words set limits and prevent abuse. Mat 18:15-20, 2Cor. 2:7. Your words set the “edges” and communicate feelings, intent and dislikes.
3. Truth - John 8:32 knowing the truth sets the boundaries with God. satan is a great destroyer of truth and will try to destroy your defenses
4. Geographical—Best defense, “don’t be there” The Bible encourages us to separate ourselves from those who hurt us or situations that are harmful to us. In so doing the one causing the hurt must face life alone and take responsibility for actions and or we won't have to be around the harmful environment. 1 Corinthians. 5:11-13
5. Time - Ecc. 3: 5-6 Not everything is forever, but there is a time for everything.
6. Emotional Distance - temporary boundary, never permanent. Luke 3:8 Guard against repeat offenses for those who claim to be “better”.
7. Others - Creating boundaries always calls for a support network.
a. to provide for deep internal need for people
b. to impart wisdom
8. Consequences - 2 Thes. 3:10 Natural consequences are the “bite” that results from overstepping
boundaries. The “barbs” on a barbed wire fence.
Misinformation about and/or ignoring boundaries can cause even more problems: depression, anxiety, guilt disorders, eating disorders, shame issues, panic disorders, addictions, marital and relational disorders.

God LOVES us so much and wants the best for His children. He wants us to be whole in every way so that we can know how much He loves us, and we then can love Him back, want to please him and be equipped to do every good work that He assigns us to do!
3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and that your body may keep well, even as I know your soul (mind, will and emotion) keeps well and prospers."
Timothy 3:16-17 "Every Scripture is God breathed (given by is inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will and thought, purpose, and action). So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well, fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boundaries - What?

Don't know about anyone else, but over the last year or so it seems that God has really been calling me out to take a look at who I am getting my approval from...really. Do I base too much of my worth on what others say about me or how they respond to me? Where should I get my approval? What does walking in love really mean? Why do I have such conflicting feelings about trying to please people that are in my life? What do I "owe" people? What about what I want? Am I selfish to say "no" sometimes?

God really first starting dealing with me on this several years ago when I started attending Joyce Meyer's Ladies conferences with church friends. I began learning about freedom and what that meant in my life personally. I was shown scriptures in the Bible that told me things I had never heard or hadn't understood about how to relate to others. As the years went on, my heart began aching for a freedom from things in my life that had held me back from being "me". One of my favorite phrases after one particular conference was "I'm free to be me". I said it, and I wanted it to be so, but I didn't know how to make it be that way. When I started "being me" sometimes others around me didn't like it. They weren't used to me speaking out for what I felt or telling them that I didn't like something they were doing or that I didn't agree with them. Then, one day, a wonderful friend of mine suggested a book that she had read called Boundaries...[When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life] by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

I want to share some things I have learned from this book, which by the way, is scripturally based. I will put links on here for Henry Cloud and John Townsend so you can check them out on your own. This is what the front cover says: "Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

"A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives."

Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances.

Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thought and opinions.

Emotional boundaries help us deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others.

Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator.

Often times, Christians focus so much on being loving an unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

* Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
* What are legitimate boundaries?
* What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
* How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
* Aren't boundaries selfish?
* Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Wow, I had been asking all these very questions for years! He had my attention and I have since experienced more of the freedom I had been after by putting into practice the things I learned through this book and the scriptures that I was shown. I'm still working some things out, but I can say that I have come a long way and now I think it's important for me to share with others that may be experiencing some of the same things I have.