Skip to main content

Boundaries

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
-Gal. 6:2-5 (NLT)

I did too much this weekend and I am starting this week tired.  The same thing happened last week.  This got me thinking about boundaries.  This passage in Galatians six, is the first one I turn to for wisdom on boundaries.

What are boundaries?  They are limits, personal limits.  God designed humans with boundaries.  Getting tired, needing rest as well as needing food and water to live, are examples.

A mentor in my life once observed and commented that I had a sort of 'superman' thing going on, where I forgot my humanity, and would get stressed out, tired, depressed, or grouchy; just because I was tired.  I did not know that we can and should stay home and rest, when we have reached our limit.  Instead, I kept and sometimes still do keep going, with bad consequences.  I don't enjoy myself and I am not really a joy to be with, when my tank is on empty.

I am still learning this.  When there is an event and some people are absent, it often is because they are tired or have limits on how many activities they can attend.  Introverts, who make up 16-50% of the population, depending on the study you look at, have to be really careful about how many activities or events that they can be involved in per day or per week.

The scripture passage above can be condensed down to, "bear one another's burdens, but each one shall bear their own load".  Loving people, encouraging them, giving to them, and praying for and with them; is different than taking responsibility for them  The former is godly and Christlike, while the latter is destructive and is what is called enabling.

For example, you can help someone find a job, give them some money or clothes for work, and you can encourage them and support them when they go through the search process.  You can even give someone a job.  All that is good.  The not-good is to do someone's work for them or to pay them for not working.

Personal boundaries are when you know your limits with people and with your self.  I was at a brother's house, talking in the kitchen, and we shared a 2 liter bottle of Coke.  It tasted so good and I was not used to having sugary soft drinks.  My friend said, "we'll pay for this tomorrow", and he was probably right.

We were in a gathering that had been enjoying fellowship time together over food, and some of us discovered that we had food allergies.  Because after an enjoyable dinner together, some would go to bed sick.  I have become one of these people.

I had dinner a few years ago, with some older people, and I shared about this issue with food sensitivities, and they said that it is common and unfortunate that, in their experience, as we age, our digestive systems are less tolerant.

What does this have to do with boundaries?  I believe that more people than we imagine, perhaps even the majority, but for sure a sizable portion, have food sensitivities.  Much of our fellowship or interpersonal times involve food.  For me, and we who are sensitive, or need to watch out in a big way, because of issues like diabetes and heart disease, boundaries play a role in the fellowship of food.

We have to learn boundaries with food, because we need to eat to live.  Here is something to think about:  Do you live to eat or eat to live?  We also are free to ignore boundaries with food, and as my friend said, we might pay the price.

Some people are happy, but somewhat sick, living with heart disease or diabetes, or mental illness; while, on the other hand, there are 'healthy people' who are unhappy.  

I am the steward of our my life.  I am accountable for it.  While, at the same time, I am joined to others, meaning loving in action, supporting others; while not taking responsibility for them.

To quote Kenny Rogers, "you have to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them."  That's boundaries.  If you were raised in a chaotic home, your boundaries might have been violated or confused.  As an adult, we need to learn boundaries, to have a joyous life, with ourselves and with others.

Love others, not being conceited.  Be a careful steward of the life allotted to you, running your own race, not getting distracted by other's lives.  Take personal responsibility.

_____________________________________________
I found the photo above here.
For further study on this topic:

Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend
When I Say No I Feel Guilty, by Smith
The Hidden Link Between Adrenaline and Stress, by Hart

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Two Disciples and The Two Donkeys

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task.  He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away.  Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said,  Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.”  The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.
-Matthew 21:1-7

On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. But, he had two disciples get two donkeys: a mother donkey and her colt. Jesus rode the young male who had never been ridden before. In his carefulness and perhaps kindness towards these two donkeys, he had th…

God Will Always Bless Your Rest, by Graham Cooke

Graham Cooke:

"So in Genesis 2, by the seventh day, God completed his work which he had done and he rested on the 7th day from all his work he had done, and then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

God will always bless your rest.

Always.

Since I learned rest, there has never been a time when God has not blessed that rest and honored that rest and sanctified my rest.

In other words, set aside peace for me; set aside rest for me.

So, for me, therefore, when God blesses something and sanctifies it and sets it apart; what that means is rest is always available as an absolute essential for life.

So, every circumstance you encounter already has rest in the issue.

No matter how hard, no matter how harsh, no matter how difficult, no matter how awful; every single circumstance has rest, because it's the one thing that God has blessed and sanctified, in terms of his relationship with you.

So, it'…

God's Secret, Hidden People

(The children) of Elam 1,254.  -Ezra 2:7

Do you feel hidden?

The name Elam means secret or hidden.  Do you feel like you are on the shelf, not being used by God?  Maybe you are part of God's secret agents.

God has people who are in secret.

I have this idea that God has His attention on secret people.   I believe that God has rewards for secret people coming.  You may feel on the shelf, but you are actually hidden for a special purpose.  God has you in reserve.

The number one thousand, two-hundred, and fifty-four; tells us God's plan for his hidden, secret, and in reserve children

One thousand speaks of recompense.

Recompense means that you will be compensated or made amends to, due to harm or loss you suffered. In Genesis 20:16 is the story of Abimelech recompensing Abraham and Sarah.

Two speaks of fellowship, partnership, and co-laboring (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

There are hidden people who have felt like they are "going it alone", who are about to be joined by someone.  …