Thursday, June 12, 2014
At the retreat, we enjoyed a breakout session on boundaries led by yours truly. And while an hour is not nearly enough time on such an important topic, it was a start.
For me personally, boundaries have been a struggle over the years. I don't feel like I got a good grasp on them growing up at home. I certainly didn't know how to draw lines in high school or college. It was only after I got out and away on my own that I really started realizing that I was in charge of myself. No one else was going to take care of me. It was hard when I started saying 'no' and doing my own thing. But it has been well worth it.
So where do boundaries come from? and how do we learn them? According to the book Boundaries (Cloud and Townsend, 1992) that I referenced in the breakout session, the very foundation of our boundaries is actually rooted in bonding. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, individuals need to belong. The need is so strong, in fact, that we see it in children who continue to cling to parents who abuse them.
God created us for connection. And many times when we draw a boundary, it can feel as though we are being 'mean' when in fact we are simply caring for ourselves. In order to have good boundaries, we need to have strong, healthy relationships that will support us in our quest for health. So stated simply, we cannot develop or set boundaries apart from supportive relationships with God and others.
So I challenge you to think through your family and friends. Who among those is truly supportive of your need to develop and maintain boundaries? Who among those is dead set on getting their way and making you do what they want you to do? Starting to recognize the difference is the first step towards change.