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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boundaries, Blessings and Blessed Holidays

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -- Gal 1:10

Books: BOUNDARIES by Cloud and Townsend; CHANGES THAT HEAL by Henry Cloud

Holidays bring excitement and many family gatherings. Before being swept away with the flurry of activities, be sure to set some boundaries.

What does this mean? A boundary is a limit placed on what we will and will not do or accept with regard to our relationships. People need boundaries for numerous reasons.

God wants us to maintain appropriate limits. Boundaries allow us to take responsibility for our choices.

The inability to say no and overextending oneself are some of the most common symptoms of a lack of boundaries. People-pleasing behaviors such as not communicating true feelings, desires or needs are also common when boundaries are not in place.

People who try to please others at all costs often find themselves feeling resentful, helpless, and out of control. Setting boundaries in advance helps us avoid these negative feelings.

When we have appropriate boundaries, we can choose to do what’s best for God, which will be best for us. We can express our needs, feelings, and thoughts to loved ones without guilt.

Boundaries keep us from blaming others or accepting blame from others. Boundaries allow us to respect ourselves and others, which is another biblical principal.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep boundaries. Do we fill our own needs or try to please others? What about personal sacrifice? Isn’t that a Christian concept?

Sacrifice to the point of sickness is not what God had in mind. We’re called to serve, but we don’t have to fill everyone’s needs. Pray about it. Follow God’s lead. Keep things simple.

God never said, “Hurry up.” He actually said, “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalm 46:9)

Are we so busy, we neglect our moments of stillness before God?
We can’t fill all those outside needs and we shouldn’t expect others to fill all ours.

Remember this when others aren’t doing what you want them to do.
Before getting mad or taking things personally, realize the other person is doing the best he or she can. Don’t take on hurt feelings, anger, or resentment.

Tis the season to set boundaries… and respect those of others. Keep connected to God. That is the one relationship which should know no boundaries.