Boundaries - Law #1

This summer hasn't been just a summer of fun; it's also been a summer of education. I sat in a class titled "Codependency" which was very informative and also read a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend titled "BOUNDARIES".

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? The authors write from their experience and knowledge as psychologists and weave God's word into it, which is right up my alley.

This book is changing my life. How helpful this book would have been for me as a young mother, but then, I might not have listened! Page by page this book is revealing all sorts of confusion in my understanding of good boundaries. Along the way of life, my boundaries became blurry or maybe they just always were. My dearly departed Mom probably was a poster child for blurry or obscure boundaries and just didn't know it. She was left to fend or figure things out for herself and, I believe, withdrew into her own figuring out as a defense mechanism because she hadn't been able to trust most people in her early life.

Healthy boundaries are necessary in every area of our lives; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In marriage, employment, parenting and friendships we will reap what we sow.

A great chapter called "The Ten Laws of Boundaries" really opened my eyes and I thought I would share some excerpts from these laws one post at a time.

Law #1: The Law of Sowing and Reaping

When God tells us that we will reap what we sow, he is not punishing us; he's telling us how things really are......Sometimes, however, people don't reap what they sow because someone else steps in and reaps the consequences for them.

Today we call a person who continually rescues another person a codependent. In effect, codependent, boundaryless people "co-sign the note" of life for the irresponsible person. Then they end up paying the bills -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually - and the spendthrift continues out of control with no consequences. He continues to be loved, pampered, and treated nicely.

Establishing boundaries helps codependent people stop interrupting the Law of Sowing and Reaping in their loved one's life. Boundaries force the person who is doing the sowing to also do the reaping.

The authors go on to say that confronting the irresponsible person isn't enough. Confronting without setting boundaries only sounds like nagging. Confronting an irresponsible person is not painful to him; only consequences are.

I thought I was implementing a Sowing and Reaping format in my life and the life of my sons. But in honest reflection I realize that I was way off the mark and my boundaries were merely confusing to all of us. As my sons grew older, the Sowing and Reaping consequences became larger and were being pried out of my hands by the authority of the state laws. Rescuing became an even bigger reaction as I was sure that my endless love would be all my sons would need to see the light. Oh, I was so far off the mark. People caught in destructive patterns are usually not wise. They need to suffer consequences before they change their behavior.

Codependent people bring insults and pain onto themselves when they confront irresponsible people. In reality, they just need to stop interrupting the law of sowing and reaping in someones life.

Healthy Love comes with good, clear boundaries for all.

Stay tuned.

*Bolded and italicized words are from the book "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.*

All pics googled.