Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Boundaries “When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life”
Examples of Boundaries
In summary of our definition in “Part 1”, we have seen that; boundaries are anything that helps to differentiate us from other people, or shows where we begin and end. Let’s check some examples of boundaries given by Dr. Henry and Dr, John.
Skin: You can agree with me that what defines and differentiate us with others is our physical skin; therefore, it’s our basic boundary. “The skin boundary keeps the good in and the bad out. It protects your blood and bones, holding them on the inside and all together. It also keeps germs outside, protecting you from infection. At the same time skin has openings that let the “good” in, like food, and the “bad” out, like waste products.” (p. 31)
Words: This example can fall under ‘spiritual boundaries’ – “in the spiritual world, fences are invisible. Nevertheless, you can create good protective fences with your words.” (p. 32) Your words also define your property for others as you communicate your feelings, intentions, or dislikes. It is difficult for people to know where you stand when you do not use words to define your property. God does this when he says, “I like this and I hate that.” Or, “I will do this, and I will not do that.” Your words let people know where you stand and thus give them a sense of the “edges” that help identify you. (pp. 32 – 33)
Truth: I was wondering how (Truth) could be a boundary that someone needs to create until I read this book. Here is what Henry and John say: “Knowing the truth about God and his property puts limits on you and shows you his boundaries. Realizing the truth of his unchangeable reality helps you to define yourself in relation to him.” (33)
Geographical Distance: This is essential to everyone facing difficulty in creating his/her boundaries. Proverbs 22:3 says that “the prudent man sees evil and hides himself.” It is very important sometimes to physically remove yourself from a situation; as the authors say; “it will help maintain boundaries. You can do this to replenish yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually after you have given in to your limit, as Jesus often did.” (33)
Time: Some old situations cannot allow us to create boundaries for our lives – growing with our parents or living under someone for a long time. Henry and John are advising us to take some time off from a person, or a project, it can be a way of regaining ownership over some out-of-control aspect of our life where boundaries need to be set. (34)
Emotional Distance: This is one of the difficult and the most important examples of boundaries, it is difficult because it is emotional, it is important because it deals with the HEART. This is what Henry and John have to say; “Emotional distance is a temporary boundary to give your heart the space it needs to be safe; it is never a permanent way of living. People who have been in abusive relationships need to find a safe place to begin to “thaw out” emotionally. Sometimes in abusive marriages the abused spouse needs to keep emotional distance until the abusive partner begins to face his or her problems and become trustworthy.” (34)
Saved by Grace
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