I grew up a good Dutch Reformed girl in the lovely town of Pella, where people are expected to be well-put-together, responsible, hardworking, God-fearing and independent. I never got in trouble. People liked me (at the least most seemed to like me). And I genuinely loved God and desired to follow His commands. So, imagine my shock and dismay, when three years into my doctoral degree, my psychologist told me that I had problems with healthy boundaries.
It was true!
I carried tons of extra stuff on my shoulders like keeping other people happy, succeeding in everything I did, knowing the right answers, and not making mistakes. I worried constantly, planned obsessively, and struggled with a good deal of shame and “not-good-enoughness”.
Developing a healthy concept of Boundaries was critical to my own well-being, and I find it to be a missing piece for almost every client who walks through the door. What do healthy boundaries look like in your life?
Basics of Healthy Boundaries
(some concepts taken from Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend)
- You can only be responsible FOR one person: you. And you can only be responsible FOR you in one time frame: NOW.
- God has given you three FAB-ulous treasures to manage moment by moment:
- Feelings or emotions (listening to and managing them)
- Attitudes or thoughts (directing or redirecting them)
- Behaviors (choosing and acting with them)
- You are not responsible FOR others’ FAB-ulous treasures. Rather, you are responsible TO others by “speaking the Truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
- You are NOT responsible FOR the 3 O’s: Others, Outcomes or Old Stuff.
We naturally let the three O’s into our minds and dupe ourselves into believing that we can control them. Focusing on the “O’s” of others, outcomes and old stuff, and trying to change or control them is a losing battle. Instead, catch yourself when you are in the “O” zone, commit your “O’s” to prayer, and focus on managing your own Feelings, Attitudes, and Behaviors one moment at a time. As we manage our own FAB-ulous treasures, we are energized to connect well with others. We are able to live and give freely.