A few things happened in a pretty short period of time that exposed & uncovered thoughts, beliefs, & mindsets – maybe that I’d not articulated before – or ever owned up to.
What came up were thoughts about what it means to be ‘nice’ – be a ‘good Christian’ – to ‘respect & honor’ others…
The lie that was exposed (ala theophostic before I knew what theophostic was)
to say “no” to someone, even if I really wanted to, is un-Christian
Think about that.
It will pop up with total strangers, door-to-door religion salesmen, close friends, extended & nuclear family… & it centers on living for the approval of others (&/or for the absence of real/perceived conflict) while violating (sinning against) myself.
Functioning with few/no boundaries is like having no fence in the yard around my property. And then having friends, neighbors, strangers, consistently utilize our area, our yard, our driveway to park their cars, clutter, garbage, dog poop in my space… And to say anything about it, to say, this isn’t ok, is to be thought of, in reality or in our own minds as being “not nice.” Selfish. Un-Christian.
SIDE NOTE: This can end up sounding a lot like a series of “Sabbath” posts. That’s ok – as drawing a line (boundary), saying Yes & No congruently with our heart, embracing limits – is a bit of what goes into the Sabbath, & what I know in retrospect that God used these experiences to kick start the response in me to the leading of the Holy Spirit – & His reminders about entering His Rest.
A part of boundaries is knowing me – really knowing who I am; my identity, personality, strengths & weaknesses; what I want – my hopes, dreams, & desires – & what I don’t – meaninglessness, loneliness, lack of fulfillment… It’s knowing & choosing to live for God’s purpose in & for my life. Boundaries reminded me that I’m accountable for how I ‘steward’ – utilize – the time I’m given; this means living with purpose & determination, even in seemingly small things.
I can’t do everything – I can’t please everyone – I can understand that I have limits. And embrace them – not as a character flaw but as a part of being human.
Because if I don’t live this way, someone else will come up with a purpose or plan for me – maybe not intentionally destructive – something that uses me for their purpose or plan. If/when this is happening enough, the resulting chaos, self-loathing, relational conflicts, & discouragement are deadly to self & to close relationships.
So, the question: How can I have, nurture, maintain my relationship with my wife & close friends if I’m consistently not honoring myself or those relationships because I either won’t establish any clear boundaries, or won’t ‘enforce them?’ Is my marriage worth prioritizing as the primary relationship on the planet? For me, yes. And, it takes two to tango…:)
More to come…