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Thursday, November 17, 2005

We all need boundaries

We talked about boundaries in our marriage class last night.

Gary Smalley writes, "healthy boundaries can help you to protect yourself from being mistreated by other people - your marriage partner, your children, and your friends. They also can protect your own family from others."

You know it's time to build your own fence when you are angry, he writes. When you feel threatened or fearful.

You want to rise up and says, "Hey, I'm an individual. My feelings are important! I'm a person! I want to build my fence."

Smalley writes, "when you build that fence, you will find that these negative emotions begin to drop off."

We all need boundaries. We all need to spend our time building our own fences and letting people know where we being and where we end.

Years ago, we had an older man in the church, who for a season, called me at 7:30 A.M. every morning, as I was getting ready to go to work.

Finally, after a time of this, I had to share with him, "Thou shalt not call me at 7:30 A.M. every morning."


What are your boundaries today?

Debbie and I have a phrase that we use with one another - sometimes we get "peopled-out" where we desire to spend the evening together at home - alone. Those feelings bring us to the point of saying, "we need to put our boundaries up." "We're getting maxed out."

That's hard, especially for care-givers. It can lead to feelings of guilt. But it is necessary for a fulfilling life long ministry.

Remember - boundaries aren't used to necessarily keep people out - but to keep your emotional balance within.


Jon said...

Boundaries are good...when used correctly and with warning. Sometimes we just get confused because people are not consistent with their boundaries or expect us to know what they are telepathically. I need conversation to determine boundaries before I run over them. I shared last night that I have had to put boundaries on phone calls at our house in the past...thankfully, those days are over (pray forever) and we are unrestricted again. And that's how we like to be, open and inviting...but even then, we reserve the right to say, "Not tonight" or "Maybe some other time." This was really important over this summer when I had opened the boundaries wide and was getting burned out in the process. Thankfully, Kim saw what I couldn't and took some action, setting boundaries without my knowledge and then discussing them with me later. And then I could see what she had already observed...I was too accessible. I was putting myself at risk, though the reward was great, when a slower pace could achieve the same result. Well, maybe the same any case, it was a welcome respite. And we've learned from that situation and several others over the past couple of years. Now, we lean on each other and talk about the limits we set for ourselves, for our marriage, for our family, and for our home. It works much better that way.

BTW, George, did you look up "sport?" I did and everyone seems to be kind of right. I use a very large (11 x 14) Webster's Third New International Dictionary that has over that has almost 2700 pages to ensure that I get all the nuances of words...and sport has a lot of nuances. I'll list several to add to your marital discussion:

1. Something that is a source of pleasant diversion; a pleasing or amusing pastime or activity; recreation.

2. A particular play, game, or mode of amusement such as (a) a diversion of the field (hunting, fishing, racing, or any various games such as bowling, rackets, or basketball) or (b) a game or contest especially when involving individual skill or physical prowess upon which money is staked.

3. Something light, playful, or frivolous and lacking in serious intent or spirit; superior or contemptuous mirth.

4. (Archaic) To make oneself merry; divert, amuse, cheer.

5. To amuse oneself by light or playful activity (as by participation in a game or outdoor exercise); frolic, romp.

6. (Archaic) To bet habitually.

There are many other definitions, most dealing with how we deal with our fellow man than from any physical or mental contest. Hope this helps with your discussion.

Man plans, God plans better!


Youth Extreme said...

Is the glass half empty or is it half full? Boundries are just that. I set boundries around things I should not partake in. By doing so I open up incredible freedoms to do things I want to do. To many times we look at boundries or fences as a way of keeping us protected. As CHristians we use these terms as a way of saying I am protected from the world. The problem is the world looks at CHristians and say you have to many boundries, and they start listing all the things they can't do in order to be a Christian....

I like to challenge them by saying my boundries create more freedoms in my life to grow and learn. They usually come back at me with I can't drink, smoke or swear if I go to church....I remind them that these are behaviors, I choose not to participate in but they won't keep you out of heaven. Swearing is using terms that are looked on in a negative way by society, I don'
t use these terms or others such as Stupid, ugly, dumb in my every day communications as they reflect negatively on me and the person I am talking to. So I have placed a boundry in my life that allows me the freedom to be positive and uplifting in my conversations. I have seen what alcohol does in a family and to a family, ALcoholism runs in both mine and my wifes family, we have choosn not to have it in our home. But we don't condem our friends who have a glass of wine with dinner, or an occasional beer. Neither of these activities are any more harmful then drinking mutiplu cups of coffee a day. I choose to place a boundry in my life not to part take in drinking of alcohol which gives me the freedom of not experiencing the feelings of regret, pain and poor decision making thak comes from drinking in excess. Some times I feel like we "Christians" use these boundries as a way of saying we are better then others and isolating ourseleves from them. WHen we should be looking and saying the boundries in my life allow me to socialize and share God with people in a real way that relates to life. Yes we need down time, we need time to regenerate and re-energize, but lets not say we set boundries or fences up so people can't get in. But lets look at these and say I have boundries in my life that allow me the freedom to take time and focus on my life, my family my needs so that I can better serve others....