Boundaries are fences, not walls, and a room of your own

Picture that each of us is a house.  Imagine a quaint neighborhood with a road dividing the sidewalks, and each cozy cottage is edged with a low fence.  You can determine how close to the public views your house sits, and you choose how you’ll maintain appearances.  People are always passing down the road, and walking on their way.  Maybe you’ll say “hello” to some of them as they pass, maybe someone will stop to visit.  Some of your visitors are a joy to know.  You’ll invite them to ‘set a spell’ on the front porch and get to know each other better.  There are a few whom you’ll even bring inside as you share opinions and experiences.

Family comes barging in, as they will.  Even if you try to lock some of them out, the more persistent ones will tap on the windows until you respond.  Most of them know which particular buttons to push.

Sometimes, you’ll welcome a person to come inside, and you’ll share marvelous times together, but this is mixed with the quirks that come with shared relationship.  This person you admire will have no qualms about rearranging your furniture and maybe even changing the time on your clock.  That’s easy enough to shrug off, who knows but maybe the couch is hideous after all… I liked it, but if you don’t, then…. But after a time, the warm feelings dim and you tend to neglect your hospitality.  Maybe you can see how persistently you’ve tried to get him to sort his socks, and haven’t you put some of his toys away for him sometimes, then wondered why he didn’t thank-you for it?

Kicking this JoySucker right out the door may seem like the obvious answer, but it’s not.  Rather, it’s a chance to prove YHWH’s transforming power.  Maybe you can see how you’ve tried to get him to clean up his house the way you’d expect it should be.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t step back from a dangerous relationship in order to recuperate.  Deliberate destruction of another must not be allowed!  Be strong and courageous. It’s time to get your own house in order again.

Boundaries should be fences, not walls.

There is one room in your house into which no one is invited.  It’s not the bedroom, although that’s a place of intimacy, but even then it’s not your most private space.  In this house, you have a bathroom.  This bathroom is the source of soul refreshment.  Consider it your divine spa!  Let your mind’s eye decorate it however you like, but be aware that it is lined with mirrors.  These mirrors are necessary to help you locate the dirt in your life, the stains and the wounds.  If you can’t see the damage, how can you be sure it’s gone?

This is the center, the resting place of your soul.  You can come to the Living Water here.  This is the joy of Psalm 51.

Your journal is a mirror.  It’s for your eyes only.  You can stand naked and unashamed here.  Know that and write knowing that.  Respect yourself by not showing your ephemeros to anyone.  It is here that you must begin to love yourself for who you really are.  Ask God to be your mirror.  Accept no substitutes!

[the study begins here]


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