As we come out of this year’s Christmas holiday, it is inevitable that it was different than any other.  Whether you made monumental changes in your behavior; noticed the boundary challenges of your relatives and friends; or even failed at protecting your soul, you were more aware of self and others, like no other year.

Now for a few, it was very difficult. Maybe even one of the hardest in recent memory. But one thing is sure, if you have been grasping the concepts we have been covering as we have progressed through Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend, it has been different.

We might even have experienced ourselves different than ever before as we experienced this holiday. We may have discovered new emotions, thoughts and attitudes that we did not know we had.  This year, as we begin to accept and define healthy boundaries, we begin to take in what is safe, and we observe our soul’s boundaries like never before. There are emotions about things that we never cared about before.

For others, there was noticeable differences in how things went.  We clearly saw boundary attacks and responded in ways never imaginable. We did not get upset in situations that would normally cause us to fight, flight or freeze.  We were at peace in the middle of storms. We can acknowledge: we are different.

How was your holiday season?

How do you think your soul would say this holiday season was?

Pressure and guilt

A common situation that is experienced during the holidays are the unexpected moments when we are faced with a situation that seems to call us out, to react.  Whether it is a person that pops up in front of us with the unexpected present or card, and us with nothing to respond with.  Or maybe it was someone in your life asking for something or pushing and testing our limits.  Living in America puts many material things right on top of the heap of life. Maybe it was a jabbing comment, a snide remark. A poorly timed moment when someone wanted to do something and we got “that look”.

Regardless of the challenge, it is how we responded that was our responsibility. Even if we failed and really did not respond any better than before, we were conscious and aware of a boundary conflict occurring.  Just like everything in life, the first step in changing anything is acknowledging change is necessary. That definitely is not the state we was to remain, but it is the first step.

Regardless of how well you responded, what was a significant boundary conflict that occurred this season?

Noticing others

As we continue to tend to our boundary definitions and work on repairing damages from the past and taking back what has been violated, we also get a fresh perspective of those around us.  We might be able to see where some people in our life have some expectations that have been defined without our agreement. We might have even accepted their expectations of us in the past, even if they are unreasonable.

We may have even witnessed someone others in our life that have unhealthy boundaries defined.  Maybe some have some illegitimate boundaries and others not able to defend or define their own.

What has been your experience in the past couple of months as you observe personal engagements with others? Do you see boundary definitions as well as boundary violations?

What has changed?

A few months ago when we began this introspective on our boundaries there was one thing for sure. We each had boundaries, some were tattered, some were in ruins, and frankly, some were inappropriate. Through our lessons we have been made aware of some new concepts (hurt/harm), we have learned some lies we have been told about boundaries, we have learned what nurtures good boundaries and what makes for vulnerable boundaries.

Where do you think you have improved with your boundaries?

Further Attention

With the benefits of being more conscious and aware of boundaries in our lives, comes the challenges of seeing where we still need some help. We may have even attempted to reestablish some healthy boundaries with others and it failed; maybe even miserably.  Remember the first step is the acknowledgment.

What are some areas you are struggling in or having constant challenges with your boundaries?

In the next few weeks we will hit some really big topics. It follows the pattern that we discussed two weeks ago based on Boundaries with Family:

  • Boundaries with Friends
  • Boundaries with Spouse
  • Boundaries with Children
  • Boundaries at Work/Ministry
  • Boundaries with Self
  • Boundaries with God

Okay, let’s ask that question again:

What are some areas you are struggling in or having constant challenges with your boundaries?

Let’s keep one another in prayer over these battles. Let us not grow weary of doing the next right thing.  Let’s see what God has in store for us.

Read through and take notes on chapter 8 “Boundaries with Friends”