I've been running into the idea of "boundaries" quite a bit lately.
I was listening to some old Hearts at Home workshop CDs and happened to listen to one on Boundaries (from the book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend).
As I listened, I realized I don't always have very good boundaries in my life. Two people in the last month or so have mentioned something about me having to "get a backbone." (I was scared to ask them what they meant by that)
I know other people think I do way too much, even though I feel like I'm never doing enough for others.
Then I watched a sappy Christmas movie one night on Netflix.
|"Merry Kissmas" was a sweet, funny movie.|
I was intrigued by a scene about one hour into the film.
Kayla arrives bearing catering gifts for Dustin and his cousin Kim. She made 200 postcards to advertise their catering business and sent some emails to her press contacts to promote an event they were doing.
While Kim is enthusiastic, Dustin doesn't seem as thrilled.
"What about the nutcracker artist?" he asks. "Didn't you work on the story?"
"Umm, no, not yet," Kayla admits.
Dustin then asks, "What do we owe you for the postcards and your time?"
"Nothing!" Kayla answers. "I did this as a thank you for all you've given me."
"But your time is valuable and I'd like to pay you for it."
"No, I don't want your money."
"And I don't want you doing free work."
"I'm sorry if I crossed a boundary?" Kayla offers weakly.
Dustin explains, "It's not that you crossed a boundary. It's that you should have set a boundary."
I can't remember hearing characters talk about boundaries in a movie before.
I feel like God is bringing this topic to my attention over and over lately because He wants to teach me more about setting healthy boundaries.
Maybe I shouldn't be writing about this until after I've learned my lessons...but I thought I'd use it as our focus this week in case anyone else needs to work on it, too.
I do many things for lots of people. Usually I enjoy doing those things, but sometimes I do those things because I don't want someone to get mad. Or I do them because it's easier than asking someone else. Or I do them because I think people will like me more if I don't say "no." Or I do them because...oh, there are so many reasons. Sometimes I don't even know why I do the things I do.
It's time to take a good look at the boundaries in my life and make sure they're healthy.
Here's a good graphic I found from Kristi Holl's blog that illustrates healthy and unhealthy boundaries:
I'm going to keep learning how to be most like the picture on the left, if that's okay with you.
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age," (Titus 2:11-12 NIV)
Do you have any problems with boundaries? How can focusing on God help you to set healthy boundaries that allow you to care for others while taking care of yourself, too?
*If you want to read more about this topic, I found a great article about boundaries here: