ramblings…you were warned

I finished Boundaries yesterday.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and learned some very practical ways of looking at situations and ways for dealing with them.  At times I felt the authors took a few things too far, such as when they seemingly interjected some of their principles into places in the Bible where I felt the real point was missed, and I didn’t particularly care for the theology in the chapter on Boundaries and God.  However, the basic principles of the other chapters were good.   I learned much on the topic of seeing myself as the source of stress rather than others.  It is up to me to set boundaries, and keep them.  I was able to distinguish ministry from friendship.  In our years overseas, there was often a blurry line with both.  You could often serve someone as a means of beginning a relationship.  If you served a Thai person, in my experiences, you often couldn’t get rid of them…not that you wanted to, but your door bell would always ring.  Attachments were formed.  Here a casserole is merely a casserole.  A service, while appreciated, isn’t neccesarily the beginning of a friendship.  That has taken some adjusting and has left some disappointments.  I’ve learned how to keep myself from saying what I don’t really mean in order to please someone else.  Many times I have taken on tasks or activities that I KNEW I didn’t have time for, but I would rework my schedule to do it anyway…because I don’t want to disappoint… and then I would not be able to do what I needed to do and would be stressed and resentful. My. fault.  I’m learning that I’m responsible TO others but not FOR others.  That in itself is very freeing.  Learning to give free from compulsion is good.  I also learned new insights about teaching my children to have boundaries.  It is important to let them say no to others.  They need to learn that saying no isn’t always disobedience and I am not referring to issues of obedience.  One example used was when a someone wants physical affection from them such as a hug or kiss.  When the child doesn’t want to give it, how often have they been told to kiss or hug someone anyway?  We don’t want them to be viewed as rude. How often have the adults when told no, sulked, guilted them, or simply rejected them for it? Fearing the loss of relationship, kids (and people in general) give in.  Too much of this can teach them that their bodies aren’t their own and that can lead to boundary problems later in life when they feel they owe someone something  simply for the asking or out of fear.   We need to let them practice their no under our care, so that their no is in place when they are outside of our influence and they can recognize manipulation.  It just seems important.  I think it is important too to point out that boundaries aren’t meant to teach selfishness.  Boundaries are about protection, gaurding, and taking care of ourselves so that we can serve in the areas where God wants us to serve rather than all the areas others pick out for us.  It is really quite simple.  I’ve already practiced this in the last few days by saying no…or even just saying a reasonable yes, when I really want to say yes, but can’t do it on the scale of the request.  It is nice to be more proactive.

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