Summer Book Review #4: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

BoundariesI actually read this book over a decade ago and I really didn’t have ears to hear what it had to say to me.  But as I reread it this time, it spoke to me much more.  It may be that I am still in a place now where I can’t take in all of its principles. I will probably read this again in a few years and get a little more out of it still.

I am a very busy person.  I have six children, grandchildren, a home to keep, a business to run and I’m still homeschooling my youngest two.  I recently stepped down from Crossroads Christian Academy, a homeschool high school that we helped to establish back in 2005. There I was the director, registrar and taught many literature classes. I’m also a precinct leader for the GOP and do many things at my church.  My husband is also a ministry leader and I do lots and lots of administrative and other things to help him. So finding things to fill my time has never been an issue for me.

When I say “Yes” to something – or initiate a plan – it is almost always because I feel led by God to do so and I usually am very passionate about it. And because of this I very rarely feel anger or bitter about all of the things that I am doing. But, as one can imagine, there isn’t a lot of margin in my life. Because I love what I do so much, I tend to overdue a lot. So balance is, by far, my biggest issue. And having good boundaries should help promote the balance that my soul craves.

One of my biggest takeaways from this book was something from the Word of God. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “carry each other’s burdens”.  I’m really good at identifying someone who needs help and walking alongside that person.  This gives me great joy. But I often overlook what is said just a couple sentences later in 6:5, “each one should carry their own load.”

I know that I don’t spend enough time analyzing if I am helping someone with a burden or helping someone with an individual load that they should be carrying themselves.  Since I’ve read this, I’ve really started to examine my actions.  I know that I especially shouldn’t carry the loads of those I love the most, my family members. It is my honor to walk with them when they have burdens but I actually am harming them if I do very much load carrying.

I guess I am learning boundaries bit by bit. But the more I grow in this area, the more I understand my need to master this. Hopefully, with God’ help and amazing grace, this will one day cease to be an issue in my life.

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