Grateful for Boundaries in Five Area (FFF)
A boundary is an action or internalized statement that shows what I am and am not responsible for in my life. Boundaries (or lack of them) affect all areas of my life: emotionally, spiritually, physically, relationally, financially, and intellectually. They help me “develop my life, abilities, feelings, thoughts and behaviours” in a way that honors God and is healthy. (Drs. Cloud & Townsend, Boundaries, p 105).
I am rereading the Boundaries book and am pleased to see how I have grown. This week I am grateful for boundaries in five areas.
1. Work. My job feels like an active volcano with an unending lava flow of responsibilities. In fact, every job has felt that way. In past jobs I was responsible for getting it ALL done every day. I had unrealistic expectations and so did (some of) my boss(es).
BUT NOW, while I have a lot to do, I am not being asked to do more than I can do. My boss understands and stresses that I only do what is reasonable. I am grateful for his insistence that I take a day off no matter what my work plate looks like. See my post on Monday for how I will be handing this lack of good boundary enforcement.
2. Friendships. In my younger years my “friendships” were characterized by one side (me) making most of (if not all) the arrangements for our time together. My “friend” would either monopolize our time with her issues or never let me in on what was going on. That’s what I thought friendships were.
BUT NOW, I am grateful that today I have true friendships. We are balanced in our communication about likes, dislikes, hurts, and happinesses. We share the responsibility of calling one another and planning our time together.
3. Children. It was a privilege for me to be able to invest my energies into the lives of my two kiddos. It required a lot of consistency on my part in regards to discipline, schooling, and educating them in skills, relationships, etc. In short, I was training them in boundaries. However, enforcing those boundaries was the hardest thing I ever did. I wanted to be able to tell them once or even a mere 20 times and then not talk about or enforce it anymore. But that wasn’t how life went, especially with the stubborn child.
BUT NOW, I am grateful I do not have to enforce those kinds of boundaries anymore. Both “children” (now in their late 20’s) are fully functioning adults. They don’t throw food, are potty trained, and they manage their anger in appropriate ways. They are intelligent, capable of carrying on a respectful conversation, and meet the needs of others. They have marketable job skills and are valued by their employers. They care for others and they care for themselves. They turned out okay!
4. Myself. Setting boundaries here is sometimes the hardest one to deal with. But I am grateful that I am making head way with setting boundaries regarding food. While growing up food was used as a reward or bribe. It was offered for comfort, celebration, and just because. Food became a part of my identity and self-soothing techniques.
BUT NOW, I am grateful that food is becoming just food. I don’t eat three candy bars on the way home from the grocery store. I don’t wake in the middle of the night to eat a snack. I don’t binge-eat to avoid dealing with stresses in my life. I don’t go to food before going to God and other people.
5. God. Yes, I do need to have boundaries with God too. These boundaries include honesty in my feelings and thoughts toward God. But for many years I was afraid to tell God about the real me. I was afraid He’d get angry, disgusted, or turned off and then abandon me or at least severly punish me..
BUT NOW, I know it is more than okay to tell God my likes, dislikes, wishes and needs. I can and do tell God about my bad and ugly sins. Doing so does not turn God off or cause Him to ditch me as a friend or Savior. In truth, the opposite happens. God forgives and He reassures Believers (like me) that nothing can separate them (ME) from His love or salvation.
Your Turn . . .
- How good are you at boundary keeping in the five areas mentioned above?
- What area are you the best at? What needs work?
- What are your thoughts about boundaries in general?
For more information check out the book Boundaries by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.
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