10 Feb Creating Boundaries
“Every human being must have boundaries in order to have successful relationships or a successful performance in life.” ~ Henry Cloud
It’s 11:20 PM and Christina sits down for what feels like the first time all day. She should be climbing into bed because she can hardly keep her eyes open, but she promised herself she would price her inventory tonight if it killed her. She’s beginning to wonder if it just might. Part of her wants to just give up on this little business that she finally decided to start but sheer determination won’t let her.
She grabs the markers and tags to start her late-night project but realizes she can’t find her master price list. She takes a deep breath, lets out a heavy sigh and makes her way across the room to the kitchen counter and sees the price list amidst the household paperwork, upside down with a note scribbled on the back:
Mom, I told Briana we could meet her and her mom at school early tomorrow to talk about the band trip schedule. xo
She closes her eyes and her head drops down in defeat. She planned to bring her merchandise to the new store who agreed to carry it after dropping the kids at school in the morning. The band meeting would set her back by at least a half an hour. She hated to be late for this first meeting with a new venue.
Great! She thinks to herself I’m already behind, and it isn’t even tomorrow yet.
If she hadn’t gotten stuck talking to a friend in crisis (who is perpetually in crisis) after the volunteer meeting she would have been home before the kids went to bed and could have headed off the schedule conflict. Her husband wouldn’t have been annoyed that she was late and she could have started on her project when she still had some energy. But what could she do? Her friend Jill needed her and she knows how to encourage her. She likes to help but it always seems to be at the most inconvenient times.
She begins to wonder why it is that the only time she has to herself is 40 mins before the day ends!?
I know I have been the main character of similar scenarios as the one above many times over.
Spread thin. Strung out. Feeling sorry for myself and if I’m honest…a little resentful.
Just for the heck of it I googled “spread thin” and the definitions at the Free Dictionary of Idioms, were telling:
spread (oneself) thin
1. To take on too many tasks or responsibilities.
2. To work on too many projects: overextend oneself.
I have been guilty of both of those things and almost without exception, it’s a result of having weak or no boundaries.
I woke up one day last summer with this verse from Psalms running like a ticker tape across my brain.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. – Psalm 16:6
I pondered it for weeks, wondering what significance it had in my life. I had no idea at the time, but it marked the beginning of a year and a half of establishing boundaries in my life.
Establishing boundaries is a lot of work if you’re starting from scratch.
Just think about how difficult it would be to build a fence around your entire yard with your own sweat and elbow grease. That’s kind of how it feels to establish boundaries, but once they are established you have a clear delineation of what is within your scope of responsibility and what is not.
Dr. Henry Cloud who co-wrote the best-selling book, Boundaries, says, “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”
If you feel out of control because of over committing and/or taking on responsibilities that other people should be owning, chances are a change is needed. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then we need to stop the madness!
For the next 3 weeks we’re going to delve into how to set boundaries in friendship, family, and business. In the meantime—we want to hear from you!
Here’s to regaining your life to be free to do the things you’re called to do.
Leave a comment if you struggle in this area. We would love to address specific questions you may have on setting boundaries. If you’re hesitant to tell us your issues, disguise it by “asking for a friend.” 😉