Today I am writing about boundaries.  There are two contexts in which I present them.  The first was based on a wonderful service given at church by an engineer. The way he framed and asked where your boundary is with regard to your faith established a wonderful platform to discuss boundaries.  After the service, my beau and I were discussing where our boundaries are as far as how far spread the Lord’s reach is.  He believes that about 1% of things are random.  I was very engaged at the thought.  As far as my faith, I believe nothing is random; there is no luck; there is no karma…..everything in the past, present, and the future God knows and either allows or is part of.  This then begs the question, how could He allow AIDS, ALS, Ebola, natural disasters, plane crashes, etc.?  The way I frame it is that I think there’s more to it in the large scale of things that we couldn’t possibly understand. I don’t understand a sick child or the death of a child and it pains me beyond comprehension.  However, I have to believe that child is with the Lord, in a much better place and I pray for the comfort of those around the family suffering.  So by saying that I do not believe in randomness…is not to say that I do not feel for those suffering.   I want to be clear about that and have you in my heart in prayer.

However, what I did learn is that my border doesn’t exist when it comes to the Lord; where my beau’s is 1% less than infinity.  Learning about our perspectives and faith definitely helps me to understand where we differ when we speak of or discuss our faith.  It was inspiring to think about how I think about the Lord and whether or not there are either limitations or anything that is not in His control.

The second context of boundaries is setting them in relationships. I believe this is also related to the rescuer behavior and bursts of anger but I’ll explain that towards the conclusion.

I have had several friends talk to me about being ‘offended’ by people in their lives. Our Pastor speaks about never letting anything come between you and another Christian.  Let things go and don’t be offended or hold a grudge.  I believe that and it struck me deeply.

I will use myself as an example related to setting boundaries.  I have a friend who has been ‘saved’ for decades, unlike me, the newbie, not even three years yet.  The two of us have a lot in common.  She is quite gabby which I believe comes from unhealed emotional wounds, but I digress.  When we get together we tend to be very close and intense and then in a mater of anywhere from two weeks to three months, we blow up.  After a couple of episodes of this, I’ve observed that if I take a step back when I feel the relationship getting really close again…it resets things back to where we’re excited to see each other and happy.  I now set very clear boundaries around this friendship and I’m able to love her more consistently and stronger and be a better support to her in her life and faith.  She is a lovely person whom I pray heals her wounds of many years.

This is not the first time I’ve had to set boundaries with people in my life and I find I have more peace and love in my life since I’ve observed and made changes.

Enough about me……Observations:  I have one friend who has been a very supportive and loving friend to another woman who is much younger. That younger friend is, well, let’s just say, running back to the flame that burned her already for four years.  Now that she’s running back to that flame, she doesn’t want to hear about what’s best for her because she knows it, yet hasn’t grown or matured enough to make better decisions for herself.  As you can imagine, she’s suddenly distant to the woman who has listened and supported her for years related to this same issue.  So there are at least two frustrations if I put myself in my friend’s shoes. First, she’s listened and supported this friend for years yet after a hopeful few months of separation, she’s drinking from the poisoned well again.  Second, the blatant and quick separation makes my friend wonder if she was ever really her ‘friend’.  The other woman is younger and rebelling.  She’s never had a mom figure in her life before so my friend is the mom she’s rebelling against, I think.  My friend is intelligent, beautiful, faithful, and would guide anyone on a virtuous and healthy path, like a mom would.  So what now?  What is there to learn from this?  Observing this behavior, I recommend my friend create a little distance and not just jump back into the ‘mom’ role which I know she won’t.  Rather than becoming offended, look at it as a learning experience.  Think about where to set boundaries with this relationship so you can consistently love this person, be supportive, but not be offended when she needs distance.  The most important learning here, I think, is understanding the dynamic and how to manage it so you don’t own other people’s actions.  Some people are blessed and can give and give and give a lot of themselves and are mature Christians to understand never to own other people’s actions.  Then there’s the rest of us…learning one step at a time how to be solid no matter what is going on around us.  Everyone has his/her journey and to respect that is a beautiful thing.

Now to circle back to the rescuer mentality and bursts of anger. The rescuer is the person that wants to help another and will be supportive.  Some rescuers do this to the point of overwhelming the subject they’re rescuing and some have a toned down version they exhibit.  However, the rescuer almost always gets offended, hurt, and angry when their subject does something different than their instruction or falls back into the same situation because they are personally invested in the act of saving the subject.  If they took their personal investment out of it, then the offense doesn’t happen or not for long, and they’re likely not surprised the moth has flown back to the flame now that it’s not personal.  They can observe the subject’s patterns.

So where does the anger come from?  Whether you’re a rescuer or not, when you allow people to treat you badly, is it really them that you’re angry with?  Or are you truly angry at yourself for not setting healthy boundaries to not allow people to treat you badly?  I know I’ve written on this subject a few times so I won’t go deeply into it…but I invite you to consider this as food for thought.

Big deal, so what? Boundaries?  I was inspired to write this because when I experience the same topic surfacing through relationships repeatedly, then it inspires me to help others that might struggle with this same topic.  I only wrote about one friend but honestly, I’ve had at least five friends tell me about similar circumstances in the past two weeks.  Is there a call to action for everyone?  Maybe.  Do you have a relationship that is trying or where you may not have harmony?  If you set a healthy boundary, could you then maintain a better, more consistent relationship with that person, even if it means some distance here and there, or even frequently?

I hope this helps someone and I pray for your happiness, health, and faith!
May every day be filled with laughter and joy!!

God bless,
CD1

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