Sharing my faith and my life one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Boundaries

I know, I know -- for someone who reads a lot of books on Christian living, I am late in reading this classic bestseller (over 2 million copies sold) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Truthfully, the cover of the older version was so unattractive to me.

When Zondervan released an updated version with a fresh, new cover, I found myself looking forward to read it. Don't you love the how it looks today?

I have always been fascinated with behavioral patterns of people (I have an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Science) -- especially my own! This book offers an abundance of lessons in this subject matter.

I have been following Jesus Christ for about seven years. Four of those years include being married to a man who serves in ministry full-time.

This way of life can be really tricky because unlimited demands seem to be consistently attached to this choice. And in most cases, guilt seems to be the 'punishment' when a person defines limits.

Here are some personal experiences where boundaries seemed non-existent:

1) Phone calls to me and my husband very early in the morning or very late at night. While emergencies are are definitely an exception, most calls do not seem to qualify under this category.

2) Unsolicited opinions on how we do life, ministry, money, and marriage. Please don't mistake this with not wanting to be teachable, because we love being taught and mentored. I am talking about statements that seem to judge with very little basis. Example: "Everyone is having babies. You are the only couple who hasn't." -- yes, someone told me this out loud at a -- of all places -- a party.

3) Needy 'friendships' where I am sought when a 'crisis' is going on and yet never hear a word and find out how I am doing.

4) Not getting paid at work on time and expect a stellar job performance every single day.

5) Getting comments on my weight and appearance.

6) Leading life groups where the meeting time is almost never honored.

I love people. I genuinely care about relationships. With this being said, I believe it is important to set parameters lovingly in order to maintain healthy interaction with one another.

While it is easy to judge the people (we shouldn't) who crossed boundary lines in the instances I mentioned above, I wholeheartedly believe it was a result of my own lack of enforcement on what is acceptable or not. I would rather stay silent and avoid initiating tension in relationships.

I am humbled to read this book. It is pushing me to a process (which is still ongoing) to reflect on how I live my life, how much I give and when it is time to establish what is not okay.

I confess that I still struggle with it. I still retreat to being silent and just not deal with it. If I do deal with the issue and speak up, guilt still gnaws at me like a ferocious yet invisible monster.

Today, I am beginning to understand that God wants me to have wisdom in establishing boundaries because it is necessary to do so in this fallen world. This book continues to bless me and teach me. It is an uncomfortable journey but I know it's time to take it. The timing could not be any better -- we are moving to a new city next week and I look forward to finally starting a life with more defined 'boundaries.'

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tanya said...

Sounds like another great book!! I might just get myself a copy. Oh "Same Kind of Different As Me" was fab! I lent it to my MIL and she wants to get a copy of her own too. :)Keep the book reviews coming!

Samantha Johnson said...

Thank you Tanya! I am glad you loved "Same Kind of Different as Me." Hope they make a movie out of it soon!

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