Boundaries, written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, is a fantastic read on personal relationships. It’s full of examples and knowledge of real life issues that can relate to anyone. Better yet, it is filled with references to God’s holy Bible to help cement God’s view on personal boundaries. The first item I learned is I must not make an idol out of will.
An idol out of will
You make an idol out of will when you say to yourself, “I will never…” Consider the case when a person has an internal struggle such as overeating, overspending, or any compulsive and destructive habit. Just saying to yourself “I will never” or “I promise to myself that…” does not work. We are flawed human beings. We cannot keep those promises. This is called “will worship”. We think we can handle it but it is impossible. If will worship worked then we would not need Christ as a savior. We could just will ourselves to be flawless before God. Instead we must accept the boundary that we need help, we need pray and ask close family and friends to help us. Next, we need to use boundaries with all relationships.
Boundaries are about relationships
A wonderful gift from God is a relationship with Him. We are given relationships with our family and friends. However, there are clear lines that separate us. My realization is that God wants to have a conversation with me. A conversation is a discussion between more than one person. It’s not a one way talk. Being able to talk respectfully to the Creator is empowering and terrifying. A down to earth example is a conversation with my son, or when I talked with my father. The dad has the final say but a healthy relationship is one where both people can change their minds based on the conversation. This empowers the son to mature and think of how he should act. This can also be our relationship with God. Knowing He has the final say, a clear boundary, we converse with Him. Finally, this leads me to the best boundary.
The best boundary
The best boundary is to live a full and meaningful life. This means we invest our time in meaningful, enjoyable relationships and activities. We all have the same amount of time. How we choose to spend our time is up to us. It is healthy to say no to manage it. When we live a full and meaningful life we have time for what is important. I choose to spend more time with God, my wife, kids, close friends, church and relatives. I know when my job starts and ends. My time is better spent working on selected relationships and avoiding activities that bear rotten fruit.
Boundaries is an excellent book full of biblical life advice for everyone. I highly recommend this read because you will learn and grow by reading it. Check out my previous blog post here. You can find yourself a copy of Boundaries here.
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God bless you!