An Uncomfortable and Necessary Journey:
“Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend- Book Review Chapter 2
So as I sat down to read this chapter I actually felt the weight of the world falling in on me. I spent the day juggling a whole bunch of stuff that really was not my priority nor did it fulfil me.
I experienced stress, anxiety, guilt, exhaustion, and physical pain in my back and shoulders as I went through my day and at the end of it I did not really get all I needed to done!
Suffice to say, I think there are some internal boundaries with myself, my time, and my priorities which need to be highlighted in my life and then need to be sorted out…
What is the saying, “It has to get worse to get better!” YUCK!
So Chapter 2 on my journey to freedom, respect, and emotional health…
(Remind you: I am a relatively integrated member of society, I am a professional, and I have good ties to my community and church- I am not a mess- I just have some muck to clean up) [WHEW: self-affirmation important here!]
So Chapter two was packed with a whole bunch of info. Again, it actually felt very heavy and did not really take me closer to freedom- it was a bunch of definitions: “The Goal of this chapter is to help you define your intangible boundaries and to recognize them as an ever present reality that can increase your love and save your life.” (Pg31)
Some relevant facts about boundaries I found out were:
- A boundary show me where I end and where someone else ends
- We need to take responsibility for what is ‘ours’
- Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out- our fences need gates in them
- God defines himself as a distinct, separate being and he is responsible for himself
- Honesty about who you are gives you the biblical value of integrity and or oneness
So here is the part that I think I needed most to hear and need to apply in my life. The authors propose 2 reasons why we need others to help with our boundaries. You see, if you are anything like me when it gets to a sensitive area of your life that you need ‘help’ in or need to make changes in, I actually pull away from others.
I tend to think, “Oh me and God; we got this one covered…”, when in actual fact God has designed us to be in relationship with Him and with others…in fact, as the authors suggest the #1 reason we need others to help us grow in boundaries is that our most basic need in life is for relationship the second reason we need others on this journey is that we need new input and teaching.
Earlier in the chapter there was a story about how a son who seemed to lack boundaries and yet it was the parents who had not put good solid boundaries in place. Now who is going to change? Would the son somehow see how his life of irresponsibility needs to change OR would the parents all of the sudden put rules into place to help this boundary-less family survive?- AND where are they going to get the insight about how to do this?- FROM OTHER PEOPLE!!!
Now I am not suggesting you take advice about boundaries from anyone- in fact, I would actually suggest you have an established relationship with a mentor, head of ministry, or a counselor who can help to speak truth into your life as well as support you when the old patters you are challenging come up and when the guilt or shame wants to haunt you to tell you, you are being selfish- when really you are finally taking a stand for what is right and what is healthy.
During this chapter I realized more clearly how my well intentioned mother actually enabled me to have unhealthy boundaries- I would say most of my life (this is not a dump on mom thing I promise) . You see my well intentioned mother protected me from natural consequences as well as knit together a boundary-less relationship with me that would FULLY qualify as co-dependant. What she did was unbiblical and has equipped me for a life of guilt, being overworked, and never trusting too quickly and then getting hurt…
So Chapter two did not really hit me with any great ah ha’s BUT I will tell you… I have started Chapter 3 and I think that is where the magic will start to happen!
Here’s to healthy relationships, less guilt, and freedom from the “must do’s” I know we all have!