more musings, or "It’s Monday again…"

I’m trying to get back to my Boundaries series… it will happen. Oh, yes. It will.

Can’t believe its already been 1 week since my last post… where does the time go? Maybe if I had an x-box of my own, I could totally get into Assassin’s Creed or some other sweet RPG that I could then blame for the loss of time. But I got nothin’…

After much discussion, the Bean & I are off to the Center For Spiritual Renewal to rest, receive counsel, grow together… to discover new ways to live & work together, as a team, working at this mission we’re both on. It’s kinda about church, but its mostly about us & how we’ll live out in the various contexts that life entails for us… church. Looking at 8/9 – 8/20, including travel dates. Anyone ever been to Christiansburg, VA? Shontell? Got any advice?

A good cup of coffee is hard to find. I am not pleased with my coffee maker right now. Yes, it is an inanimate object, but I am thinking of dropping it for a good French Press…

Stargate: Continuum comes out tomorrow. With Jack O’Neill. 2 L’s. I smile. Need a reminder?

Ellie G can crawl. Made it into my office even. I must remember to stock my desk with plenty of treats so that she’ll never leave. Chocolate icing seems to be the favorite. Don’t tell.

The company that almost finished our patio is nowhere to be found. No returned calls. No messages. Nothing. All we need is a ‘sealer’ for the concrete. Cause man, it’s cured by now. Amigos, where are you?

Friday, I get to be a part of a wedding ceremony… As one of my “parts” in the ceremony, I get to fulfill a dweam wiffin a dweam. I get to say a line, then lift up my right hand, out to the side, about shoulder level, palm up, & then everyone repeats after me. Ahhh. Nice. I’ll just have to remember not to do it in my Heemo-shermo voice. (Demonstrations available upon request…)

Somedays, when I feel like I do today, I just wish that I was in Disneyland. Or California Adventure. Not necessarily even on the rides. Walking Main Street. Near the Grizzly Bear mountain. Smelling the happy food smells. Watching my family enjoy themselves. Nighttime. Definitely at night time. I’d even eat ice-cream today.

On that note, the special diet is working well – I’m in the groove, though softball on Mondays & Tuesdays has really thrown a monkey wrench into the gym schedule. Trying to pace myself so I don’t run out of gas… haven’t got to weigh myself in a week, so I don’t know what the damage is… last time I was at 28 pounds. Gone. And I said, “Whoooaaahhhh…”

But I find that I am dreaming of food. Stuff like chocolate cupcakes. Fudge brownies. Pizza. Pinocchio’s wings. Claim Jumper Chocoholic Cake. Joey cakes. Hmmm. Now I’m salivating. Anybody want to make it for my berfday? Bean? Are you reading this still? Please?

I’m going to try to put the Boundaries #4 post up tomorrow… but don’t sue me if it doesn’t happen until Wednesday.


Boundaries In Marriage, #3

Boundaries are misunderstood – as though they are some sort of special ‘fix-all’ that are applied to ‘other people’ to magically change another person’s behaviors or to modify their actions.

That’s not setting boundaries – that’s try to control others… Boundaries are set on ourselves. Boundaries are about self-control. Learning to self-regulate, & take responsibility for me, my own wants, desires, choices, & actions.

Boundaries are about truth – me being truthful with myself, & with others with the choices I make; what I will do & won’t do. It might be easier to blame others for our internal dissatisfaction, &/or the situation that we’ve found ourselves in, as connected to them, but in reality, our life situation is largely (not totally – as I’m wanting to avoid blanket statements :) due to what we’ve allowed/tolerated/gone along with because of our people pleasing issues. Or our desire to avoid conflict.

Creating & applying boundaries is taking responsibility for myself in the context of relationship with others. It’s making consistent choices to affect personal change so as not to continually place myself in a hurtful, damaging, controlling situation.

Boundaries are not withdrawal from relationship either:

Boundaries are only built & established in the context of relationship. To run from a relationship as the 1st step of boundaries is not to have boundaries at all. It is a defense against developing boundaries with another person. The only place boundaries are real is in relationship with another person.

So, every relationship is affected by the boundaries I set, because the boundaries I set have to do with me. And that’s a great place to start affecting change…
To be continued…

Boundaries In Marriage, #2

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…

Boundaries In Marriage, #1

A few years ago, (ok, now that I think about it, its more than a few. About…7? 8?) I came across a book that eventually ended up transforming my life & my marriage – it was Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend (which sounds like a great name for a ’60s folk group. But I digress…) Its one of the reasons that me & the Bean are probably going to lead a small group this Fall 2008 semester called “Boundaries In Marriage.” (I ripped off the title from another book. But that’s for later.)

The high point for me was that it articulated very clearly & concisely something key for enjoying life in its fullness: we need to be able to say “Yes” & “No” – in a way that our outward declarations jive with our inner values, thoughts, feelings, emotions, & to me the most important – our relationships with the people closest to us. That a lot of us struggle with ‘people pleasing’ & end up functioning in an incongruent way – we are saying Yes to stuff we really want to say No to. And vice-versa. Because we want the approval of the one we’re speaking to. Or something like that. We’re afraid of being rejected. Minimized. Thought to be inferior in some way. Mocked. Derided. You get the idea.

I’m going to blog about this in the context of marriage, but please don’t check out on me if you’re single – the concept applies across the board for close friendships/relationships. One of the biggest issues that this exposed was the very common choice in marriage relationships for one person in the relationship to choose to say “yes” to a person not in the immediate relationship to avoid conflict (or any of the above negatives,) knowing full well that it means that the person they’re married to will have to bear the brunt of their decision. In effect, they will ‘choose’ to fight it out with their spouse etc. rather that with the person of lesser status (meaning that the spouse takes #1 spot in life. Or should.) They ‘prefer’ the person that is not the spouse over the spouse. Which stinketh, because the whole ‘leave & cleave’ part of the marriage vows have to do with the ‘preference’ of spouse relationship over all others – not rejecting other relationships, but recognizing that if we’re marrying, this relationship takes preeminence over the rest.

Hope you’re still with me – I’d never heard of Boundaries before, but I understood the concept – believing that we all need/have a set of life-guiding values that help us know what to say “Yes” & “No” to. And why. Maybe not everyone has these. The values help us to not be tossed to & fro by someone else’s ‘vision’ for our life – no matter how influential or significant the role they play (or want to play) in our life. Or have played in the past. Seems it usually pops up with extended family (parents, siblings, & others of that ilk) & close friends, but it sometimes happens elsewhere…

This isn’t a unique issue that only a few ‘weak’ people struggle with; from my experience in pre/post marriage counseling, the area of ‘preference of spouse’ & knowing, establishing, & maintaining healthy boundaries is a major, major issue for a lot of couples. And if it isn’t for one spouse, it often is for the other. Which means its a problem for both. (Kind of along the lines of “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Or something like that.)

Why did it change my life/marriage? I’ll get there. It’s dinner time – & I’ll pick up my ramblings when I get a chance. Ciao!