Choosing your battles is not always an easy task. Some people just want to argue. Some are addicted to drama. Some are jealous. Some people enjoy creating chaos. Remember Pigpen and the little cloud of dust that followed him? Leaving a dust trail wherever he went. A little here, a little there – you knew where he had been. You could see the trail!
I am writing this to remind myself today. I am feeling drained. Too many obligations, not enough time, waiting on this, waiting on that, and the first week of kids home from school. Life just feels so disorganized today. Do you ever have days like that? Does this mean I am talking to myself, lol?
How do you deal with people who try to rob your peace? Here are a few of my ideas – learned the hard way of course!
7 ways to Keep Your Peace
1. Refuse to attend every argument you are invited to. Just because someone thinks differently than you doesn’t mean it’s a contest to see who is right. Let us let go of our desire to prove ourselves with every person who comes along. As God’s kids we are already accepted in Him. Our identity comes from who He says we are, not about who others say. It’s ok if we don’t agree with everybody all the time.
2. Let’s give ourselves permission to not always have the last word. Conversation is a two way street. Half of the time is listening. Let us be better listeners.
3. How about we let go of being The Savior? Jesus is the Savior, not us. Let us give ourselves permission NOT to rescue everyone. We are NOT responsible for their choices, only our own. Love them enough to let them be fully responsible for their own actions.
4. Let us let go of criticizing and condemning other people’s behaviors. Nobody likes condemnation. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people. There is no condemning of anyone. We don’t choose who goes to Heaven or Hell – Jesus does. Our job is to preach the Word – in season and out. We are not the Holy Spirit. Others might welcome it, or not. What they do with it really is up to them.
5. Let’s give ourselves permission to be wrong. None of us is perfect in our own strength. It’s ok, we are still human. Let’s be willing to admit when we make a mistake. Let’s forgive, as we have been forgiven as well. Let it go already!
6. Let us Guard our hearts and protect our peace. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to give yourself some distance from a person. It is ok not to answer every text, every email, every phone call. Let’s use our boundaries. Not everything or everyone gets to come into our yard, or our house, or our minds whenever they want. That is healthy. Let us give ourselves the same respect and honor we give to others.
7. Know how to refill your body, mind, and spirit with Living Water – Jesus. Whether we read the Word, listen to the Word, listen to a Message, listen to music, just unplug, or whatever. Garbage in – garbage out, as they say. Let us learn to honor our bodies and minds with good things. Let’s take walks, enjoy nature, take baths, and go smell the flowers! Let us give ourselves time and space to rest in Him. It’s ok, He really does have this all worked out!
More from “Boundaries”. This lesson was the one that did it for me. After reading/hearing this lesson, I finally understood what I was doing that attracted the “thieves, robbers, and abusers”. But, there is hope, thank you God, I can be taught! Today I can say NO, today I can enforce consequences and protect myself! Today I know what to look for, and what to avoid, thank you Jesus!
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. NKJV
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. NLT
Keep your heart pure for out of it are the important things of life. (NLV)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV)
4 TYPES OF BOUNDARY PROBLEMS
1. COMPLIANTS – SAYING YES TO THE BAD
The inability to say NO to the BAD is pervasive. Not only does it keep us from refusing evil in our lives, it often keeps us from recognizing evil. Many complaint people realize too late that they’re in a dangerous or abusive relationship. Their spiritual and emotional “radar” is broken; they have no ability to guard their hearts. (Proverbs 4:23)
This type of boundary problem paralyzes people’s “NO” muscles. Whenever they need to protect themselves by saying NO, the word catches in their throats. This happens for a number of different reasons:
Fear of hurting the other person’s feelings
Fear of abandonment and separateness
A wish to be totally dependent on another
Fear of someone else’s anger
Fear of being shamed
Fear of being seen as bad or selfish
Fear of being unspiritual
Fear ones one’s overstrict, critical conscience (God will never forgive me…)
This las fear is actually experienced as GUILT. People who have overstrict, critical consciences will condemn themselves for things God himself doesn’t condemn them for. When we give in to guilt feelings, we are complying with a harsh conscience. This fear of disobeying the harsh conscience translates into an inability to confront others – a saying YES TO THE BAD because it would cause more guilt.
2. AVOIDANTS – SAYING NO TO THE GOOD
This boundary problem is called avoidance – saying no to the good. It’s the inability to ask for help, to recognize one’s own needs, to let others in. Avoidants withdraw when they are in need; they do not ask for the support of others.
Why is avoidance a boundary problem? At the heart of the struggle is a confusion of boundaries as walls. Boundaries are supposed to be able to “breathe”, to be like fences with a gate that can let the good in and the bad out. Individuals with walls for boundaries can let in neither bad nor good. No one touches them.
God designed our personal boundaries to have gates. We should have the freedom to enjoy safe relationships and to avoid destructive ones. God even allows us the freedom to let him in or to close him off.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come inand eat with that person, and they with me. (Revealtion 3:20 NIV)
God has no interest in violating our boundaries so that he can relate to us. He understands that this would cause injuries of trust. It is our responsibility to open up to him in need and repentance. Yet, for avoidants, opening up to both God and people is almost impossible.
The impermeable boundaries of avoidants cause rigidity toward their God-given needs. They experience their problems and legitimate wants as something bad, destructive, or shameful.
Complain avoidants suffer from what is called ‘REVERSED BOUNDARIES”. They have no boundaries where they need them, and they have boundaries where they shouldn’t have them.
3. CONTROLLERS – NOT RESPECTING OTHER’S BOUNDARIES
Controllers believe the old jokes about training top sales people: no means maybe, and maybe means yes. While this may be productive in learning to sell a product, it can wreak havoc in a relationship. Controllers are perceived as bullies, manipulative and aggressive.
The primary problem of individuals who can’t hear NO – which is different from being not able to say NO – is that they tend to project responsibility for their lives onto others. They use various means of control to motivate others to carry the load intended by God to be theirs alone.
Controllers come in two types:
AGGRESSIVE CONTROLLERS – These people clearly don’t listen to other’s boundaries. They run over other people’s fences like a tank. They are sometimes verbally abusive, sometimes physically abusive. Most of the time they aren’t aware that others even have boundaries. It’s as if they live in a world of YES. There’s no place for someone else’s NO. They attempt to get others to change, to make the world fit for their idea of the way life should be. They neglect their own responsibility to accept others as they are.
MANIPULATIVE CONTROLLERS – Less honest than the aggressive controllers, manipulators try to persuade people out of their boundaries. They talk others into YES. They indirectly manipulate circumstances to get their way. They seduce others into carrying their burdens. They use guilt messages.
4. NONRESPONSIVES – NOT HEARING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
Termed ‘nonresponsives’ because of their lack of attention to the responsibilities of love, these individuals exhibit the opposite of the pattern exhorted in Proverbs 3:27 NIV: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
Nonresponsives fall into one of two groups:
Those with a critical spirit towards others’ needs – a projection of our own hatred of our needs onto others. They hate being incomplete in themselves. As a result they ignore the needs of others.
Those who are so absorbed in their own desires and needs they exclude others – a form of narcissism.
CONTROLLERS AND NONREPONSIVES have a hard time looking past themselves. They see others as responsible for their struggles and are on the lookout for someone to take care of them. They gravitate toward someone with blurry boundaries, who will naturally take on too many responsibilities in the relationship and who won’t complain about it. It’s like the old joke about relationships:
“What happens when a rescuing, enabling person meets a controlling, insensitive person?
So, you wonder, if you used to live in abuse and domestic violence, how did you get out Ms. D? Funny you should ask. I recently came across a book/teaching/bible study that was planted in me about 10 years ago. This particular way of looking at things helped me learn how to build healthy boundaries and have healthy relationships. I didn’t know what healthy looked like. I did not have any boundaries – I said yes to everything and everyone. And I got buried. This series will focus on the book:
“BOUNDARIES- WHEN TO SAY YES AND WHEN TO SAY NO” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
What Does a Boundary Look Like?
In the physical world, boundaries are easy to see. Fences, signs, walls, moats with alligators, manicured lawns, or hedges are all physical boundaries. In their differing appearances, they give the same message: THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS. The owner of the property is legally responsible for what happens on his or her property. Non-owners are not responsible for the property. And if it’s not yours – leave it alone.
In the Spiritual world, boundaries are just as real, but often harder to see. The goal of this lesson is to help you determine your intangible boundaries and to recognize them as an ever-present reality that can increase your love and save your life. In reality, these boundaries define your soul, and they help you guard it and maintain it.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NIV)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.:” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Me and Not Me
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.
Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. If I know where my yard begins and ends, I am free to do with it what I like. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. However, if I do not “own” my life, my choices and options become very limited.
Think how confusing it would be if someone told you to “guard this property diligently, because I will hold you responsible for what happens here,” and then did not tell you the boundaries of the property. Or they did not give you the means with which to protect the property? This would be not only confusing but also potentially dangerous.
This is exactly what happens to us emotionally and spiritually, however. God designed a world where we all live “within” ourselves; that is, we inhabit our own souls, and we are responsible for the things that make up “us”.
The Bible tells us clearly what our parameters are and how to protect them, but often our family, or other past relationships, confuses us about our parameters. For example, if you were raised in a home where you were always berated and put-down, you many not have any boundaries; you might not be able to say no to anything. Or, you just have walls — to make sure no one is coming in.
In addition to showing us what we are responsible for, boundaries help us to define what is not on our property and what we are not responsible for. We are not, for example, responsible for other people. We are not responsible for what others do or don’t do with their things either. Nowhere are we commanded to have “other-control”; although we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get it!
TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR Part 2 – “To and For” and “Good In, Bad Out”