I am loving this book and feel like I’m gaining lots of insight! I’m jumping right into sharing my underlines!

Pages 38-48

  • Just as the Bible sets consequences for certain behaviors, we need to back up our boundaries with consequences.
  • Consequences give some good “barbs” to fences. They let people know the seriousness of the trespass and the seriousness of our respect for ourselves. This teaches them that our commitment to living according to helpful values is something we hold dear and will fight to protect and guard.

(Section: What’s Within My Boundaries?)

Feelings

  • Feelings have gotten a bad rap in the Christian world. They have been called everything from unimportant to fleshly.
  • Feelings should neither be ignored nor placed in charge. The Bible says to “own” your feelings and be aware of them. They can often motivate you to do much good.
  • The point is, your feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to.

Attitudes and Beliefs

  • Attitudes have to do with your orientation toward something, the stance you take towards others, God, life, work, and relationships. Beliefs are anything you accept as true.
  • We are the ones who feel their effect, and the only ones who can change them.
  • 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.

Behaviors

  • Behaviors have consequences.
  • To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless.

Choices

  • Think for a moment how often we use the phrases, “I had to” or “She (he) made me” when explaining why we did or did not do something. These phrases betray our basic illusion that we are not active agents in many of our dealings.
  • We need to realize that we are in control of our choices, no matter how we feel.
  • Making decisions based on others’ approval or on guilt breeds resentment, a product of our sinful nature. We have been so trained by others on what we “should” do that we think we are being loving when we do things out of compulsion.
  • Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with.

Values

  • What we value is what we love and assign importance to. Often we do not take responsibility for what we value. We are caught up in valuing the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
  • when we confess that we have a heart that values things that will not satisfy, we can receive help from God and his people to “create a new heart” within us.
  • Boundaries help us not to deny but to own our old hurtful values so God can change them.

Limits

  • Two aspects of limits stand out when it comes to creating better boundaries.
  • The first is setting limits on others.
  • In reality, setting limits on others is a misnomer. We can’t do that. What we can do is set limits on our own exposure to people who are behaving poorly; we can’t change them or make them behave right.
  • Our model is God. He does not really “set limits” on people to “make them” behave. God sets standards, but he lets people be who they are and then separates himself from them when they misbehave, saying in effect, “You can be that way if you choose, but you cannot come into my house.” Heaven is a place for the repentant, and all are welcome. But God limits his exposure to evil, unrepentant people, as should we.
  • Separating ourselves protects love, because we are taking a stand against things that destroy love.
  • The other aspect of limits that is helpful when talking about boundaries is setting our own internal limits.
  • We need self-control without repression.
  • We need to be able to say no to ourselves. This includes both our destructive desires and some good ones that are not wise to pursue at a given time. Internal structure is a very important component of boundaries and identity, as well as ownership, responsibility, and self-control.

Talents

  • (Matt. 25:23,26-28) Our talents are clearly within our boundaries and are our responsibility. Yet taking ownership of them is often frightening and always risky.
  • It takes work, patience, learning, prayer, resources, and grace to overcome the fear of failure that the “wicked and lazy” servant gave in to. He was not chastised for being afraid; we are all afraid when trying something new and difficult. He was chastised for not confronting his fear and trying the best he could. Not confronting our fear denies the grace of God and insults both his giving of the gift and his grace to sustain us as we are learning.

Thoughts

  • We are the only creatures who are called to love God with all our mind.
  • We must own our thoughts.
  • Certainly we should listen to the thoughts of others and weigh them; but we should never “give our minds” over to anyone. We are to weigh things for ourselves in the context of relationship, “sharpening” each other as iron, but remaining separate thinkers.
  • We must grow in knowledge and expand our minds.
  • One area in which we need to grow is in knowledge of God and His word.
  • We also learn much about God by studying his creation and his work.
  • We must learn about the world that he has given us to become wise stewards
  • We must clarify disordered thinking
  • Taking ownership of our thinking in relationships requires being active in checking out where we may be wrong. As we assimilate new information, our thinking adapts and grows closer to reality.
  • We have our own thoughts, and if we want others to know them, we must tell them. (1 Cor. 2:11)

Desires

  • Many desires masquerade as the real thing.
  • We often do not actively seek our desires from God, and those desires are mixed up with things that we do not really need.
  • To know what to ask for, we have to be in touch with who we really are and what are our real motives.
  • We are also commanded to play an active role in seeking out our desires. We need to own our desires and pursue them to find fulfillment in life.

Love

  • Our ability to give and respond to love is our greatest gift.
  • Our loving heart, like our physical one, needs an inflow as well as an outflow of lifeblood.
  • We maneuver slightly to avoid responsibility in love; we need to claim our hearts as our property and work on our weaknesses in that area. It will open up life for us.

Well, I’ve read farther than this, and I was planning on going up to that point, but this is already getting long! I will just say, that out of all these things, the areas that hit closest to home for me are – values, limits, talents, and desires.

I’m not sure I can articulate what I actually value in life. There are some things I could say I value if asked, yet I behave in ways that don’t really support it. The few lines on the need for internal structure rang so true for me too. I comply well with external structure, but my own time often seems very willy-nilly and emotionally driven to me. I see many areas where God has blessed me with talents, or at least the seeds I could develop into great skills if I would work a little harder, purposefully at them. I’ve heard it said “You can be really great at a few things, or mediocre at many.” I feel like that latter when I want to be the former! Examples: piano, ballet, and voice lessons. I did all of these for a short time as a child/teen and showed potential in all of them, yet I can’t claim any real skill in them today. Drawing and painting, I have always enjoyed and yet have let private comparison with others discourage me from fully developing what I do have. I think neglecting the creative expression I feel drawn to has shortchanged me on the fulfillment I feel in life. It ties into that desires bit. What do I want and WHY and where did that desire come from? If I act on it, will it align with my values? I like that all these things are so interconnected. It makes me realize that it does take a lot of time and energy to be an integrated person.

~christy~

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