Posts tagged ‘Boundaries’

4 Margin Makers

In the interest of saving you time and margin, I want to jump right in and give you some of the margin rules that I follow and feel have been helpful in my life.

1. Learn to say “no”

You may feel guilty at first, but that’s normal. It’s always awkward to do something you’re not used to doing. And don’t feel as if you have to give a reason for not signing up to be “Room Mother” or “Den Father.” Your friends may say, “But you’ve been Room Mother for the last 5 years! How can you quit?” And you can say back, “Because I’ve been Room Mother for the last 5 years!” And leave it at that!

2. De-clutter Your Life

This goes along with learning to say “no.” You have to evaluate what is most important and trim away the excess.

For example:

  • If you have two kids and they each want to play three sports every year, then cut back to two or even one sport per child per year. Also, consider not having them play their sports all at the same time. Remember – our kids need to learn limits when they are young or they will end up like us—frazzled adults!
  • If you volunteer at your church in several areas and feel stressed, then pray about pulling back from one of the areas that is least necessary.
  • If you struggle with clutter in your home, avoid buying anything new without donating or selling something old. Remember the more you have, the more you have to keep up with and maintain!

Get the idea?

3.  Keep Regular Routines for Work and Rest

This one is more important than people realize. We all have natural rhythms that our bodies crave. When we don’t get the right amount of rest or sleep, we can’t handle even the little things in life. So keeping a specific schedule to your day, day after day is important. Allow for work times, but also allow for breaks throughout the day. Your productivity will increase if you do. And make a ritual of slowing down and doing calming activities just before bedtime—then getting in bed near to the same time each night (as well as getting up near to the same time each day).

4. Practice Contentment

There’s an irony in life, well, there are many, but the one I’m speaking of has to do with our “wanter.”

We all have a “wanter.” You would think that if you fed the “wanter,” it would be satisfied. But unfortunately, the “wanter” only gets hungrier and hungrier as it is fed–especially if it is well-fed. The way to reverse this is to focus not on our wants, but on our needs.

  • Do you really need to spend hours upon hours decorating your house for Christmas?
  • Do you really need to have your house perfectly clean for relatives who will only mess it up worse than before!
  • Do you really need to work those extra hours, so that you can buy that big screen television, so that you can watch away any margin you may have left? If this isn’t the fast track to the crazy cycle, I don’t know what is!

Christmas is all about focusing on the most important person in life—Christ. So why not use this as a time to also focus on your priorities instead of getting caught up in all the holiday hype.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6 (NIV)



6 Ways to Know if You Need More Margin in Your Life

Here we go headlong into the Christmas season and with it goes our ability to “accept the things we cannot change and the wisdom to know” when to quit! In a word, we freak! Just listening to some of friend’s Walmart Black Friday stories this past weekend made me lose my “serenity!”

And in honor of Cyber Monday, there’s one gift that you need to give yourself—the ability to know if you have enough margin in your life, and if you don’t, how to get it. So, here are some questions to determine if you’ve built enough margin into your life:

  1. Are you chronically late?
  2. Do you feel that you don’t have the time to take a break each day?
  3. Do you regularly miss making the priorities in your life a priority on your schedule?
  4. Do you feel stressed or drained nearly every day and then, even though you’re exhausted, have difficulty sleeping at night?
  5. Do you usually feel angry or extremely anxious whenever you have to wait in line, be on hold, or sit in traffic?
  6. Do you regularly feel taken for granted and unappreciated for all you do?

If you answered yes to two or more, then you need to “check out” the margin section of your life. How do you build margin in your life? Well, that’s a subject for my next post. But until then, simply meditate on this encouraging passage:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV)

Don’t you already feel better?


Who Ya Gonna Call? Boundary-Busters!

Have you ever had someone in your life who continued to hurt you over and over? Let’s say you clearly communicated your concerns, perhaps gave chance after chance, but after awhile it just kept blowing up in your face. Did you ever wish that you could find someone who could wave a magic wand over your offender and change his hurtful ways?

Allow me to rewind to the old 1984 hit movie, Ghostbusters. Do you remember it? It all began with a pesky spirit haunting your abode. According to the premise of this movie “Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!” And in a flash the Ghostbusters team would capture your Casper and send him directly to their “ectoplasmic containment box.” The only risk you might run would be getting in the way of the fleeing phantom and unfortunately—getting slimed! Yuck!

Yeah, it was a funny and crazy plot, but it seems to me that very often what haunts us is not a ghost, but a “Boundary-Buster.” Yes, a Boundary Buster is that person who continually steps over any line you may draw. So how do you know if you’re being haunted by a B-B?

Signs you have a Boundary-Buster in your life:

  • They give you excuses, excuses, excuses!
  • They avoid responsibility at all costs
  • They control your every move
  • They have extremely unrealistic expectations
  • They procrastinate like a pro
  • They argue for the sake of getting you off track
  • They use intimidation and threats
  • They manipulate you with guilt—“This is all your fault!” and “If you’d just change . . .”
  • When all else fails-–they lie

So what do you do if this person is your spouse, close family member, friend or your boss? Short of divorcing your spouse, quitting your job or living a day to day game of hide-and-please-don’t-seek with the B-B whenever you step out the door, you really can’t escape.

And unlike the comical Ghostbusters, there isn’t a Boundary-Busters . . . “Buster”—no one to trap the Boundary Buster in your life. In other words, you cannot change anyone but yourself.

However, there is someone who can not only soften and convict the heart of your Boundary-Buster, but also strengthen you as you deal with your B-B. That person is God. Turn to him and let him transform your B-B, but keep in mind that even God will not force a person to change. Your best option for change is allowing God to change you and your ability to deal with your B-B.

Suggestions for dealing with your B-B:

  • Surrender your B-B to God daily
  • Pray specifically for your B-B daily
  • Pray that God would give you guidance and patience with your B-B daily
  • Seek godly counsel and support
  • Read good books on setting boundaries*
  • Join a good support group (codependency, Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery, etc.)
  • If you don’t already go, find and attend a Bible-believing church

* Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, or Boundaries in Marriage, or How to Have that Difficult Conversation You’ve been Avoiding, or Safe People


Marriage Mistake #6 – Turned to My Mom for Comfort

Early in my married life, I made a mistake that I feel is very common for many couples who find themselves in trouble.

This is how it worked for me:

  1. My husband did something that I perceived to be wrong or hurtful.
  2. I turned to a parent, in my case, my mother to vent about the problem.
  3. I received comfort and a, “I’m so sorry that mean old husband of yours hurt you!” pep talk.
  4. I returned to my husband to eventually work things out.
  5. My mother never got to see or hear about the resolution, (because that wasn’t nearly as interesting or fun to tell her!).
  6. My mother formed a skewed perspective of my husband and my marriage.
  7. I avoided learning how to respect my husband AND didn’t learn how to work through my private conflicts with my husband—just between the two of us.

As a result, a wedge formed between me and my husband. And the foundation that we should have been building together was filled with cracks, since I had invited an intruder into the inner workings of our marriage.

After about five years or so of walking through a revolving door between my marriage and my parent-child relationship, I realized that I was not honoring my husband. I had not “left” my parents. I was not choosing to be a full-fledged adult in my marriage relationship by fully “cleaving” or committing to my husband.

Now, I’m not saying that you can never talk to your parents about your marriage. But I am saying that your parents should not be your:

  1. Emotional Rescuer
  2. Financial Rescuer
  3. Director on important issues or decisions

If you allow your marriage to be infiltrated in those ways (and more) by your parents, then you are inviting division into your marriage. When you married, you needed to become an adult, and adults do not rely upon their parents for emotional, financial or decision-making support.

In the book of Genesis it says, “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (2:22-24, NIV)

When I learned to follow this admonition, I solidified, strengthened and improved my marriage immensely. So, I hope you learn from my mistake!

Can anyone relate?

Does anyone have an example of how turning to mom and dad negatively impacted your marriage?