Friday, February 19, 2016

#weread2016: Boundaries Book Review

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This year, I decided that I would read one book a month. My first book of 2016 was Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. I chose to read this book because the Lord has shown me a lot about myself in the last year, and it hasn't all been pretty. Shocker, I know. There are many lies I have been believing and many wrong ways of thinking that have been holding me back from making healthy choices, whether internally or externally.

Why I Recommend It

It is increasingly evident that within our culture, and even within our Church families, we have expectations regarding our responsibilities. Within our families and other close relationships, we have expectations about how we should be treated and how we will treat others. And some of us really don't like to say no. Many of us spend our time and energy thinking about how to impress people who aren't thinking about us at all. Some of us have trouble with saying no and managing our time wisely. There are so many places where boundary lines can be blurred and misunderstood or simply unstated and nonexistent. 

Before reading this book, I believed many of the common misconceptions about boundaries. I thought that to have boundaries was to be selfish, to hurt others, and to live in guilt. But boundaries are a God-given means of protection for our hearts. To set boundaries is to truly believe that "I am loved and valued by God, and I will love myself by placing a boundary." (kudos to my sweet Bible study leader, Margo, for dropping that truth bomb)

Boundaries are important in our relationships, our workplaces, and within our own hearts. In Exodus, Moses was trying to be all things to all people as he led the Israelites to the promised land. However, his wise father-in-law, Jethro, said:

"What you are doing is not good. You and the people will with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice, and I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God...Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace."
 -Exodus 17:17b-19,22b-23

Jethro told Moses to look to God to be His help and to recognize that he had a say in how he interacted with the world around him. I can completely relate to Moses-feeling as though you are responsible for the well-being of others around you. I don't want to waste time trying to please others at the expense of my health and obedience to Christ. My ultimate calling is to please God. I want to take Him at His word. 

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What I Want to Remember

"God designed our personal boundaries to have gates. We should have the freedom to enjoy safe relationships and to avoid destructive ones."

"A strong strand throughout the Bible stresses that you are to give to needs and put limits on sin. Boundaries help you do just that." 

"We are responsible to others and for ourselves. 'Carry each other's burdens,' says Galatians 6:2, "and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.' This verse shows our responsibility to one another...Everyone has responsibilities that only he or she can carry. These things are our own particular "load" that we need to take daily responsibility for and work out. No one can do certain things for us. We have to take ownership of certain aspects of life that are our own "load."

"God's discipline teaches, not punishes."

"God is interested in people loving others, and you can't love others unless you have received love inside yourself."

This book truly was one that I will go back and reference for years to come, and I cannot recommend it enough. What have you learned about boundaries?

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I agree, boundaries are so important, and so tricky! I have struggled for a long time, especially with my family, about where the boundaries should be. I feel guilty if I'm not around them, but have truly found that a little space sometimes, truly makes such a big difference in the way we all relate to one another. It's a lesson I'm still trying to teach to my kiddos :)

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    1. Yes I think that the ones who are closest to us are the ones that we have trouble communicating clearly with because there is so much on the line! How wonderful that you are trying to impart these truths to your kids. Thank you so much for reading, Meg!

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