The moment when I knew I needed to place some boundaries in my life was when I felt really angry. The anger must have been there before because I recognized it and I was even more angry because I felt it again. I don't like being angry, and I'm sure you don't either. It takes over my senses, causes me to start shaking, and my mind is a jumbled mess of confusion. Find a good friend who offers you advice while sitting on her couch drinking coffee and crying. She let me know, kindly, that reading the "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud would be a good idea in that situation I was going through.
Like any good friend, she was right! I ordered that book as soon as I left her house, probably before I backed up to leave for home, I wanted that book in my hands! I wanted to feel better, I wanted to feel and think and act in a healthy matter that benefits myself and my family. I have been able to recognize certain behavior patterns with others (Now, remember, your family is in your home, your relatives are the ones you left when you got married. There is a difference!) and like a volcano erupting, that lava spread onto everyone who was near them. Have you felt that way before? Just plain covered with that lava?
Dr. Henry Cloud gives the example of a property fence line over and over in his book. Look at this image of a pretty fence out in the country and imagine yourself on this side of the fence. You notice how there is a barrier between you and the other side, the side with the trees? That barrier is your protection from unhealthy people, relationships that aren't healthy, things, really anything that you may allow to come to your side if that barrier wasn't there. Now, imagine if that fence wasn't there. Interesting how that doesn't sound too good anymore, right?
Letting people and stuff pour in whenever they want, that doesn't sound so good anymore. That's not love. Boundaries protect love. God wants us to love others and we still can love them with boundaries, friends. It's actually the healthiest way to show love. Stepping back and allowing God to work in their hearts. Not us - let's stop trying to control others.
Okay, back to the fence illustration. That fence was WORK to put up. I mean, it was you out there with all the boards and the posts and the nails and all the equipment and tools needed to make it happen. You spent days and weeks, maybe even months depending on how much fence you needed. The fence is up, and boy that was some good tedious work, now you have to maintain it. A board falls down after a storm, the post starts leaning after a certain animal rubs against it, and nails need to be re-tapped in. Maintaining your boundaries will take courage on your end. To say what is needed, time and time again, and to protect your family, even if it isn't well received.
When I mentally (and sort of physically) placed that fence up, I felt such a relief. I looked around and noticed how healthy we would become because of it. My life has been fuller and the relationships that can be labeled"difficult", I have let go (and let God).
All the really hard stuff in life shapes us into something beautiful anyways, if we let it.
Thinking about purchasing the book? I have a great offer for the months of May/June!
Included with a copy of the book, will be a lined journal. I found that journaling down my thoughts about what I read impacted how much I remembered and put into action. It also helped me process the beauty of having boundaries in my life. It will be a great tool for you to look back into when you need it.
watch my video on boundaries:
Hello friends, I'm joy. ..
I love sharing my life with you. I enjoy being vulnerable and real because it's then that I hear, "you too?". I hope reading the words from my heart encourages you. We're in this together, friends, so grab your coffee or tea and stick around!