Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Boundaries Part 5

For this next part, I'm just going to throw a couple of quotes out there that really stood out to me from chapter 5 (The Ten Laws of Boundaries) and chapter 6 (Common Boundary Myths).

1. Biblical views of Responsibility: "[We are commanded to] 'love each other as I have loved you' (John 15:12). Anytime you are not loving others, you are not taking full responsibility for yourself; you have disowned your heart...[However], we are to love one another, not be one another....The biblical mandate for our own personal growth is 'Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose' (Phil. 2:12-13). You are responsible for yourself. I am responsible for myself...[I am] responsible to give to [your] needs and to put limits on [your] sin. Boundaries help you do just that."

2. Biblical view of Respect: "We fear that others will not respect our boundaries. We focus on others and lose clarity about ourselves...We judge the boundary decisions of others, thinking that we know best how they 'ought' to give, and usually, that means 'they ought to give to me the way I want them to!' But the Bible says whenever we judge, we will be judged....If we condemn others' boundaries, we expect them to condemn ours. This sets up a fear cycle inside that makes us afraid to set the boundaries that we need to set...'So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you' (Matt. 7:12). We need to respect the boundaries of others. We need to love the boundaries of others in order to command respect for our own. We need to treat their boundaries the way we want them to treat ours."

3. On evaluating the effects of boundaries on others: "You need to evaluate the effect of setting boundaries and be responsible to the other person, but that does not mean you should avoid setting boundaries become someone respond with hurt or anger. To have boundaries...is to love a purposeful life...We need to evaluate the pain caused by our making choices and empathize with it." (But that doesn't mean we change our boundaries because of it--it just means not walking blindly through life disregarding how other's might feel because of our boundaries that we've set.

4. On being proactive in life (ontologizing!) and the power that comes with that: "Proactive people show you what they love, what they want, what they purpose, and what they stand for. These people are very different from those who are known by what they hate, what they don't like, what they stand against, and what they will not do...Power is not something you demand or deserve, it is something you express. The ultimate expression of power is love; it is the ability not to express power, but to restrain it."

5. On being active (or purposeful - again ontology!): "Human beings are responders and initiators. Many times we have boundary problems because we lack initiative - the God-given ability to propel ourselves into life...Passivity never pays off. God will match our efforts, but he will never do our work for us. That would be an invasion of our boundaries. He wants us to be assertive and active, seeking and knocking on the door to life...The sin God rebukes is not trying and failing but failing to try. Trying, failing, and trying again is called learning. Failing to try will have no good results; evil with triumph."

6. On being honest about our boundaries: "...boundaries need to be made visible to others and communicated to them in relationship. We have many boundary problems because of relational fears...Because of [our] fears, we try to have secret boundaries. We withdraw passively and quietly instead of communicating an honest no to someone we love...The Bible continually speaks or our being in the light and of the light as the only place where we have access to God and others. But, because of our fears, we hide aspects of ourselves in the darkness, where the devil has an opportunity. When our boundaries are in the light, that is, are communicated openly, our personalities begin to integrate for the first time. They become 'visible'...and then they become light."

7. On Stewardship vs. selfishness: "We are our own responsibility...We are to develop our lives, abilities, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Our spiritual and emotional growth is God's 'interest' on his investment in us. When we say no to people and activities that are hurtful to us, we are protecting God's investment."

8. On obeidence and not being bound by fear: "The Bible tells us how to be obedient: 'Each of you must give us you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver' (2 Cor. 9:7). ...God has no interest in our obeying out of fear [fear of a real person of a guilty conscience] ...God wants a response of love. Are boundaries a sign of Disobedience? They can be. We can say no to good things for wrong reasons. But having a 'no' helps us to clarify, to be honest, to tell the truth about our motives; then we can allow God to work in us. This process cannot be accomplished in a fearful heart."

9. On identifying good relationships: "Boundaries are a 'litmus test' for the quality of our relationships. Those people in our lives who can respect our boundaries love our will, our opinions, our seperatesness. Those who can't respect our boundaries are telling us that they don't love our no. They only love our yes, our compliance."

10. On the role of boundaries: "Boundaries are a defensive tool. Appropriate boundaries don't control, attack, or hurt anyone. They simply prevent your treasures from being taken at the wrong time. Saying no to adults, who are responsible for getting their own needs met, may cause some discomfort. They may have to look elsewhere. But it doesn't cause injury."

11. On boundaries and the legitimate needs of others: "Even when someone has a valid problem, there are times when we can't sacrifice for some reason or another. Jesus left the multitudes, for example, to be alone with his father (Matt. 14:22-23). In these instances, we have to allow others to take responsibility for their 'knapsacks' (Gal 6:5) and to look elsewhere to get their needs met."

12. Boundaries and "owing" others: "One of the major obstancles to setting boundaries with others in our lives is our feeling of obligation...The idea is that became we have received something, we owe something. The problem is the nonexistent debt. The love we receive, or money, or time--or anthing which causes us to feel obligated--should be accepted as a gift. 'Gift' implies no strings attached. All that's really needed is gratitude. The giver has no second thought that the present will provide a return. It was simply provided become someone loved someone and wanted to do something for him or her. Period....What do we owe those who are kind to us, who have genuinly cared for us? We owe them thanks. And from our greatful hearts, we should go out and help others...We need to distinguish between those who 'give to get' and those who truly give selflessly."

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