Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Setting Up Godly Boundaries

I do not for one minute believe that God wants us as Christians to be push overs, walk upon's, targets, wimps and he certainly doesn't want us to be stepped on, kicked or taken advantage of. I believe that God not only desires for us to set Godly boundaries, He expects us to do so.

When I teach, I always place my arm out, hand up and tell the students, this is my boundary, my space, you can come and talk to me, but you must respect my space and I let them know it is okay for them to have their space as well. I also do an end of the day walk about where I tell each student what I liked about them so they are leaving school on a positive note. However, prior to placing my hand on their head or shoulder, I always ask them for their permission so they can set their boundaries.

A boundary is nothing more than a dividing line between property as illustrated by the fence. My neighbors know where their boundaries are even though I don't have a fence. However, their dogs don't have a clue!
I know where my husbands boundaries are in terms of his space, his mood, his office, his tools, etc. and he knows mine. Boundaries are where one person stops and another begins.

Jesus set boundaries, when He went to pray in the garden, didn't He ask his disciples to stay awake and watch out for him? Matthew 26:36 states, 'Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane and He said to them, 'sit here, while I go over there and pray.' Jesus didn't say, come with me, He set a boundary and told them to sit here.

Again, in Mark 1:35, the Bible tells us that 'Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, went to a solitary place, where He prayed.' It didn't say He woke the entire house or His disciples to say come with me or let them know where He was going, because the verse ends this way, 'Simon and his companions went to look for Him and when they found Him, they exclaimed, 'Everyone is looking for you!'

If we don't set our boundaries, we become cranky, onery, sad, hurt, depressed. Why? Because God love us and He lives within us and the Holy Spirit lives within us and when we hurt, our heart breaks, our gifts, abilities, feelings of worth or love all live within our heart and if we allow people to cross boundaries or do not set boundaries, our spirit will die.

Some of us don't set boundaries out of fear. If I don't do this, my husband will be angry, my mom will get mad, my pastor will think less of me and the biggest reason to not set boundaries?? I might get fired! I know because I didn't always set boundaries and some days I felt like a walking mat, all tramped on and worn out!

Still, others are afraid if we set boundaries and say no, we are going against Jesus command to help others, love one another or turn the other cheek. I say we can't be there all the time for everyone who wants us and saying NO is perfectly fine at times. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15, 'speak the truth in love (for work, I would say respect), and we will grow to become the mature body of Him which is Christ.'

I believe in giving 100% of my talents and being when I am working for an employer. I do my best to give my best, but does that give my boss the right to cross my boundaries and dump all of their projects on me? To tell me I don't like beef, so you can't eat a hamburger during lunch? To bring me their laundry and tell me during my lunch time to take it to the cleaners? To clean their house, write out their bills, mow their lawn?

NO! Just as an employer has the right to tell me when to come to work, what to do and what time to go home, I have the same rights to set boundaries and tell them what I am capable of and what I can't do. In other words, if I am working on a project and the boss gives it to someone else to complete and they miss the deadline and turn the entire project into chaos, it is okay for me to tell the boss when he brings it back for repairs, 'I am not responsible for fixing the problem.'

You can also say, 'I am sorry, I was working on that when you gave it to Joe Smith to complete, now that it is messed up you come to me for repairs and telling me how much you need me...I am not going to be manipulated, I'm sorry, but I can't fix the problem, it is beyond my control.'

Sometimes you just need to sit down and say, this is what my job description is and it doesn't include this, this or that. However, this is what I will do and this is what I won't do.'

As an HR professional, I was responsible for enforcing policy and procedures. I was responsible for seeing employee evaluations were completed and were completed in a timely manner and fairly. However, being as I do not work in direct contact with many of the workers, I certainly could not evaluate the job they do or how well they do it. We had run into being past the deadline for two evaluations. I asked the owner of the company how he would like the matter handled.

He advised me, 'you write them.' This caused a huge ruckus because I told him, 'that is not in my job description, I am more than willing to work with the persons lead or supervisor and give them some guidance, but I don't know what kind of a worker that person is.' The owner began screaming and hollering, his face turned red as he tried to provoke and demean me into writing those evaluations. I stood my ground.

Finally, I believe out of fear that the owner would have a heart attack, the manager that had been sitting there the entire time, looked over at the lead who had also been sitting there the entire time and asked him, 'do you know how to do these? Yes,' came the reply and within 3 hours, I had both evaluations on my desk for review and comments.

Boundaries must be set and they must be kept. You can remain calm and say yes, no or state your point and it is okay to say, I am sorry, someone else needs to be responsible for this or that as I have no knowledge, experience, etc. in this area. You don't need to be everything to everyone and matter of fact if you do, you will become stressed and physically and emotionally drained!

When setting boundaries always remember no matter what, you are loved, forgiven, accepted and watched over by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and He doesn't want us to be miserable or unhappy. He loves us and wants us to rejoice daily.

Here are simple boundaries you can set for the day:
1- I will make all my phone calls during the day that are important by 11:00 so I can be off the phone the rest of the day.
2-I will take 30 minutes a day for me and no one else
3-Today when my friend comes over who doesn't know when to leave, I will tell her I am sorry, but I don't have time for a long visit today, I can sit for 10 minutes (set the timer) and have her leave or tell her you will schedule a day to have lunch somewhere.
4-I will do my crafting, quilting, volunteering for 1 hour and one hour only.
5-When my boss brings another project for me to do, I will tell him/her I am sorry, I have 5 already and 3 have a deadline fast approaching, I really can't take on anything else.
6-No, I can't stay late to help you wrap a birthday gift, my family really needs me at home.

Setting boundaries is essential not only to our health, but to our heart and if we don't protect it, trust me, no one else is going to!

Have a blessed day!


Bethany said...

Thank you. Your words mean a lot.

Had to laugh about the dogs not having a clue since this is my newest problem. I may have overstepped my boundaries handling that situation, but I did get my point across.

What people don't also realize is that if your personal boundaries are too big or too strict, you shut everyone out out of your life. When you can't reach out to others or let people in, you lose out on so many blessings.

Thank you again for you post.

Quiltingranny said...

You are so right Bethany!

Scrappy quilter said...

I agree, setting boundaries is really important and something so many of us don't do. Hugs