We hear a bit about boundaries, we even started this book about boundaries. We have our internal perception of boundaries and in reality, we experience boundaries every day. Good ones, bad ones and of course the results of boundaries.
Chapter 2 of the book opened up with the story of some parents that were having a struggle with their adult son (pg 29-30). They declared “he had a problem”, but after reading the section it was clarified, “he did not have a problem. they did”.
The book used the analogy of watering your yard and the neighbor benefiting. Your water bill is high, their grass is green. They don’t seem to think their is a problem, until you fix your sprinkler. Then your bill goes down and their lawn turns brown.
Where are you watering someone else’s yard? While your grass withers or you spend money on things that are not yours and neglect things you should be taking care of?
Are there areas in your life where you are letting others water your yard?
Physical Boundaries and Spiritual Boundaries
It is easier to recognize and discuss physical boundaries, but spiritual boundaries may be a new concept to many. Each of us deal with spiritual boundaries, but they are more reactive and many times we feel conviction, shame and a victim of spiritual boundary violations, but in reality, we did not have a healthy spiritual boundary. (pg. 31)
What is your experience of spiritual boundaries and your approach to them?
Me and Not Me
On page 31, we begin the discussion around who we are and how we define us. Where we define ourselves and others really sets the stage for how we feel, respond and live in life.
What is your thoughts on the statement: “Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom”
To and For
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ – Galatians 6:2
The book expounds a lot on the thought of “load”. It also declares that we need to take responsibility and ownership of certain aspects of life that are our own “load”. In our life we can feel like the world is weighing us down, like we are overwhelmed. We even think biblically about Galatians 6:2, that we need to carry our rocks and those rocks of others that we love and care about.
Where have you acted as if your “boulders/rocks” are your daily load and have refused help? Where are you doing this today?
When have you acted as if your “daily load” is a boulder that you shouldn’t have to carry? Where are you doing this today?
God and Boundaries
The boundary concept and God was very insightful. Many times the world tells us that boundaries are selfish, but this chapter shows clearly how God does have boundaries, he declares them and even defends them.
What are some basic boundaries that God has? How are they defined and maintained?
God also acknowledges limits and boundaries within the Trinity. They are distinct in nature, and have their own roles and responsibilities. We need to learn and develop boundaries like God.
God defines who he is. He differentiates himself from his creation and limits what he will allow.
People with poor boundaries struggle with saying no to the control, pressure, demands, and sometimes the real needs of others. They feel that if they say no to someone, they will endanger their relationship with that person, so they passively comply and inwardly resent. It is difficult for people to know where we stand when we don not use words to define our property.
Consequences and Responsibility
It is probably easy to say and agree that we have been learning this more and more as we get older. We have always had them in our life, but a lot of our struggles and challenges in life had to do with dealing with consequences and responsibility. Realistically, it is probably the most powerful way we learn.
Just as the Bible sets consequences for certain behaviors, we need to back up our boundaries with consequences. God does not enable irresponsible behavior.
What has been your life lesson with consequences and responsibility? How have they been changing over the years? What has been the latest learning or change to consequences and responsibility in your life lately?
Biblical Examples of Boundaries
The book uses a couple Biblical examples of boundaries, (pg. 40) The Samaritan and the man in need, Luke 10:29.
Have you ever looked at the example in view of the boundaries set by the Good Samaritan?
Do you have an example where you attempted to set some boundaries and someone came along and challenged you about not being a good Christian?
What are some other Biblical examples you can think of where boundaries are defined, exercised or experienced?
Feelings, Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviors
We learn that feelings should neither be ignored or put in charge. Feelings come from the heart and can tell us the state of our relationships. We have to fully understand that our feelings are our responsibility.
What do you tend to do with your feelings – ignore them or let them be in charge? Why do you think you respond the way you do?
What do you tend to do with feelings of anger?
We typically do not see an attitude or belief as the source of discomfort in our life. But many of us do know that if we focus on an attitude of gratitude, it dramatically impacts our life. We need to own our attitudes and convictions because they fall within our property line, inside our walls.
People with boundary problems usually have distorted attitudes about responsibility. They feel that to hold people responsible for their feelings, choices and behaviors is mean.
Do you tend to feel responsible for other people’s feelings, choices, and behaviors? In what ares of your life or for which people in your life do you do this? What will you do to gain a better understanding of what you really are responsible for?
Challenge for the week
Let’s take some time this week to capture some situations where we are experiencing our own boundary issues, or even where we notice it in others. Take the time to look through this valuable chapter on the valuable areas of “us” that we do have control over and how we approach life and others.
Read chapter 3 this week, and capture some of your own examples of boundary problems.