Why are boundaries so important?

Boundaries… Eek

When someone hears the word boundaries they have a few different reactions.

“What’s that?”

“I don’t want to live my life with limits!”

“I need to work on that…”

When I hear boundaries, I light up! My response is, “Let’s talk!”

I am by no means a master of boundaries, but I have been learning more each year while counseling.

Boundaries is one of those topics that makes people feel out of control or less than.

But, why?

When someone tells you that you need to improve an aspect of yourself what is your response?  “Oh wonderful!  I wanted to know how imperfect I was today!” Probably not.  We are all different.  Some people stray away from healthy criticism and others lean towards it.

The thing about boundaries is it takes someone who has boundaries to realize that you do not.  So with that said, there are many out there who will still believe that you are “perfect”.  But for the others who pursue personal growth you may have to work harder to convince them.  You may even have to create some boundaries to continue your illusion.

So back to our topic question, why are boundaries important?  Boundaries have two main functions.

First, they define who we are.  Boundaries show what we are and what we are not, what we agree on and what we do not agree on.  It also shows a clear example of what we love and what we hate.

Secondly, boundaries protect us.  We set boundaries so that we can keep good things in and bad things out.  When our limits are not clear and direct we expose ourselves to unhealthy, toxic experiences and people.

So…do you have bad boundaries?  Let’s take a quick quiz.

Question 1: Do you go against personal values or rights in order to please others?

Question 2: Do you let others define who you are?

Question 3: Do you expect others to fulfill your needs?

Question 4: Do you feel guilty when you say “NO”?

Question 5: Do you hesitate to speak up if you disagree with someone or something?

Question 6: Do you stand up for yourself if you are being treated poorly?

Question 7: Do you share too much too soon?

Question 8: Do you rush getting to know someone?

Question 9: Are you afraid of people leaving you?

Answer Key: Yes = Y No = N

Bad boundaries: 1. Y  2. Y  3. Y  4. Y  5. Y  6. N  7. Y  8. Y  9. Y

Good boundaries: 1. N  2. N  3. N  4. N  5. N  6. Y  7. N  8. N  9. N

How’d you do?  Despite whatever category you ended up in, we can all use some work.

Here are some helpful guidelines for setting boundaries.

1. Boundaries are for you and only you!  You can not impose your boundaries on others, or force others to set their own boundaries.

2. Boundaries are meant to be a positive addition not a negative one.

3. Boundaries should be clear and direct.

4. Boundaries should be flexible, and they can be different for each level of relationships. (stranger, acquaintance, friends, coworkers, family, best friends, and spouses)

5. Boundaries should be balanced and realistic, not extreme and unattainable.

6. You must stand up for your boundaries because no one else will!

Here’s to a wonderful 2014.

Be Blessed and Happy Boundary Setting!

Saying Thank You

Have you ever received a compliment, and thought; “Oh they are just being nice”? How do you respond when someone tells you that you look nice?  “What?  This is just something I threw together”. Why is it so hard to respond with, “Thank You”? This goes deeper than just a simple communication error. It is bigger than a missed opportunity.

We do not say, “Thank You” because we do not believe what the other person is saying. By saying “Thank You”, you accept the compliment, and agree to it.  But we don’t. We don’t accept it or agree. When we meet a compliment with misdirection, or a push off comment, we reduce the likelihood of a future compliment. Have you ever tried to compliment someone who will just not accept it? It can be very frustrating. We might even think; “Why can’t they just say thank you, and move on”. This is something that is very easily seen in others; but we tend to overlook this mentality towards ourselves. As humans we are naturally hypocrites, so this is no surprise.

So where is the root? Where does this begin, and how do we fix it? The refusal to accept compliments stems from low self-esteem. I know, this is a hot button to push, and we tend to avoid it. But, looking at ourselves through rose-colored glasses isn’t going to help us reach a deeper level of personal growth. We are flawed, blemished, and imperfect. But, we still attempt to view ourselves in the best possible light. Facing constructive criticism, or coming face-to-face with our weaknesses, is not our idea of a good time. But the truth of the matter pulses through every avoided compliment.

        If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t believe it when someone else does. 

When we look for the escape route within a compliment we are not only telling the world that we do not affirm ourselves; but that if you do not agree with their opinion you will not hear them. You may listen but you will not truly hear the words that are being said.

The belief that we are good enough, or pretty enough, starts with us.  We have to put faith into ourselves, and enter into a realm of self-acceptance. This is not something that anyone can do for you. It is a choice.  It is a choice that each, and every one of us needs to make for ourselves. It starts with us, with our thoughts, beliefs, and actions towards our own reflection. We need to be our own best friend. We cannot radically change our thinking over night; it is a process. But if we don’t start today…when will we?


Trust is a Belief

If you live long enough you will find reasons to not trust.
People are people.
We are all imperfect and flawed.
People will always let you down and eventually we all have reasons to not trust.
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Trust is so important. 
“We can never obtain peace with the outer world until we make peace with ourselves” – Dalai Lama
The same is true for trust.  We will never be able to trust others if we can not trust ourselves.
We get hurt and we develop scars to cover up the wounds and we block it off and say “I’m never trusting again, I’m never doing this or that – this will never happen to me again”.
Which really just says that I am choosing protection over love, faith, hope and belief.
If you have to be 100% certain about who to trust then you will never find anyone to trust, not even yourself.
It’s not so much about trusting others.  The question we should be asking is, Can I trust myself to handle things no matter what happens?
We have strength coming from within all of us, we just have to use it.  No matter how great we are or someone else is, we are still only human.  We will always be let down or let someone down.  The difference is that we can choose to get back up again – if we believe that we can.
If you’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to go wrong – then it will and it will drop louder because you were waiting for it.  And once it happens after you waited for it you will feel justified in containing those scars and saying, “see what happens when I trust people”?
Life is beautiful when lived with eyes of grace and love.  Open up again, the good most definitely out weighs the bad.
Trust Quotes

Baggage Fees

How long do the people in our life presently have to pay for the wounds of our past relationships?  It doesn’t have to be intimate relationships, but friendships as well.  How long will we hold people at arms length because someone from our past has hurt us deeply?

We all have to pay baggage fees even if it’s not our baggage.

Bags don’t fly free.

Southwest claims that bags fly free on their airline but they are not the cheapest airline anymore.  It seems like they have higher ticket prices and tell you that bags fly free.  Essentially it’s as if you are paying for a check bag even if you don’t have one.

Whether its our baggage or not in a relationship; friendship or intimate, both parties end up paying “baggage fee’s”.


At what point do we let the people in our present off the hook?

Have you ever been disappointed?  Have you ever been betrayed?  What about lied to?  These are common transgressions that create trust issues.  I think that as human beings we all have trust issues.  We do however, have a choice.  We choose to keep our relationships at arms length or to open ourselves up again.  Granted, we could be opening up just to get hurt again but that is a risk that every one takes.

Life is about taking risks.  If we play it safe all of the time we will miss out on all the adventure!

As Jon Acuff says, “If someone hasn’t told you that your dream or big idea or risk in life is crazy, then it’s not big enough”.

Have you ever heard the saying to win big you have to risk big?

It’s TRUE!

Life is one big risk.

Jesus was a huge fan of taking risks.  In fact, He challenged people to risk everything to follow Him.

Could you do it?  Could you risk everything you have worked for?  All for a tremendous adventure?  And if you said no, would you be so jealous and wish you had once seeing Facebook pictures of said adventure?

Just imagine if Facebook had been around when Jesus was walking the earth.  The people who didn’t want to give up everything who said, I can’t.  Imagine what their feelings would be when they saw pictures of feeding the 5,000.  Or what if Jesus checked in on Facebook to Lazarus’ funeral and then it quickly changed to, just kidding it’s a birthday party he’s alive!!!

We are missing so much adventure.  We are saying that my baggage and my past wounds are more important than taking a risk on you.  Is that what we want to say to our friends or possible partners?

We all have baggage but we choose what to do with it.  We choose to use it for “good” or “evil”.

One of my favorite quotes ever is, “Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you”.

So what are you going to do with your baggage?

Me and my baggage, we are going on many adventures!

Got baggae

How do you get to know yourself?

How do you get to know yourself and what do you do if you don’t like who you find?

Who you are, just is.  There is no good, or bad.  There is no right, or wrong.  When we judge ourselves and compare ourselves to others we begin to stress out.
What would it take for you to wake up every day liking who you are?

First, let’s figure out who “we” even are.
1.  Create your own timeline – Connect the dots

Draw it out on a white board, sheet of paper or on your cell phone.  This is so that you connect with your life.  So often we feel disconnected like we are just going through the motions of living.  We need to connect to our past, successes and failures, we need to feel like it is our journey.

2.  Distinguish between your thoughts and others’ thoughts

The world around us is constantly trying to tell us who we are, what we like and don’t like and how we feel about the things happening in life.  The media, news stations, radio, friends, and family members are constantly trying to influence us in one way or another.  We need to keep a realistic perspective that each of us have our own thoughts, beliefs and feelings.  We need to grab on to our own and be an individual.  

3.  Start relying on yourself – Be Independent

It’s hard to like who you are when you are constantly relying on other people to function and get through your day.  We need to start trusting ourselves to make decisions.  We have many choices, clothes, food, friends, ideas, beliefs and feelings.  We need to trust our instincts and start relying on ourselves.

4.  Give yourself a clean slate

Mulligan!  Sometimes we need do overs.  It doesn’t mean that we need to forget about our past, both the good and the bad, but we need to walk away from the mistakes and failures of our past.  If we have done our best to make amends for them then it’s time to walk away.  it’s time for a clean slate.
5.  Make a list of the things that you are thankful for in your life.
Appreciation goes a long way.  Saying thank you or enjoying what you have instead of lusting after the latest technology or fashion statement can greatly improve your self satisfaction.  There are so many things that we have, so make a list.

6.  Make a list of your strengths vs weaknesses.

Looking at what you are bad at is not my idea of a fun evening however if I do not know what my struggles are then how will I ever get better at them?  We need to know what our strengths and weaknesses are so that we can have perspective.

7.  Pick something off of your weaknesses list and work on it.

Don’t like something about yourself?  Change it!  We have the power to change our personality or characteristics if we so choose.  We are not placed inside of a box that we can not deviate from.  Don’t let those weaknesses label you, we can change!

8.  Honor who you are

Honor:  honesty, fairness, integrity, credit, distinction, high respect, merit, rank, respect, high public esteem, fame, glory, favor.  We have to honor who we are.  We have to treat ourselves like a best friend.  Be kind, understanding and full of grace.  We aren’t perfect and we need to monitor the expectations that we place on ourselves.  Give grace and love to yourself.

9.  Make a Bucket List – Set Goals

Come up with 100 things that you would want to do in your life time.  Go on, I dare you!  It’s harder than you think.  We need goals in life.  If we don’t have something to look forward to or something to push us we feel bored and stagnant.  Let’s be driven and goal oriented!  Plus, it feels really good to cross things off of your bucket list!!

Let’s all be awesome together!

Stop being calm and start being awesome instead 3
Weird is just a side effect of being awesome

Second Chances Are Never Ending

Whether you believe that everyone deserves a second chance is null and void.  No one deserves a second chance.  There is very little in this life that we actually deserve.  Deserve…it’s such an entitled word.

Deserve verb

1. To merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to because of actions, qualities, or situation.

2.  To be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense etc.

When I think of the word deserve what easily comes to my mind is someone saying, “He deserved it, or she deserved that” but not in a positive light; but in reference to “karma” or misfortune.  Every now and then you might hear someone saying “good for her, she deserved that promotion” or “he deserved to be happy”.  


Who are we to determine whether or not someone deserves a second chance?  Have you been hurt by people?  Has your heart been broken?  Have you been disappointed, lied to or let down?  Have you let yourself be vulnerable only for something bad to happen?  Me too, but guess what?  So has everyone else.  That doesn’t make us special or unique it makes us all in this thing called life together.

No one is perfect no matter what mask we attempt to wear.  We all make mistakes and we all need to ask for forgiveness.  The thing that I have been learning within the last year or so is that even if you do not think that what you did merits an apology if you hurt someone else or their feelings then it “deserves” an apology.  Not a quick, sorry either.  A whole hearted from the gut apology.  We are all granted the right to have our own thoughts and feelings about anything and everything but that also means that we are less likely to agree.  Life would be boring if everyone agreed all the time.  Let’s stir it up, make it interesting!

Giving someone a second chance after they mess up doesn’t necessarily mean that the out come is going to be any more in your favor however it does mean that it can end better than it would have.  It’s not always about fixing things but altering them to end on the best terms as possible.


So who “deserves” a second chance?  No one and every one.

If God can forgive us for the magnitude of sins that we commit against Him then surely we can forgive people for hurting our feelings or breaking our heart.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men and their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”.

Matthew 18: 21-23 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sings against me?  Up to seven times?  Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’.  ‘Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants”.

We all get a second chance every single day.  Last I checked there were 365 days in a year…366 on leap year.  That’s way more than 77 chances isn’t it?  Let’s embrace our second chances by returning the favor.

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Busyness – The Modern Day Idol


I’m busy y’all.  No seriously.. I’m like really busy.  I might just be the busiest person that I know.  I don’t know when to quit, I can always squeeze something else in.  You want to meet up for dinner, talk about what is happening in your life at a coffee shop, wanna go for a bike ride, go for a run, come watch a movie, catch up over the phone, have voxer battles, video chat, text all night long?  I got time for that.  I will make time for that.  

So what do I struggle making time for?  Being Still.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”

Be Still.

It does not say, schedule yourself 24/7 and never stop until your head hits the pillow.  However, I do believe in living your life to the fullest I also believe that we need to stop and listen.

Have you ever been talking to someone and you can tell that they are not paying attention?  Once you realize that they are only going through the motions of listening and not really listening, do you keep talking to them?  If you like hearing yourself talk maybe you might but my guess is that most people would get their feelings hurt, stop talking and just let the conversation die or call them out.

What do you think God does when we go through the motions of listening?  Maybe he’s trying to tell you something really important, or wants to have an intimate conversation with you but you won’t stop moving around and doing other things.  

Should we have to schedule time in the calendar on our phone to dedicate to God?  At least we know it will get done if we set aside distinct time for it right?  But if you’re like me, you don’t schedule it – you just keep saying that you will get around to it.  

The problem is that if I get any free time that opens up – I quickly fill it.  I need to stop scheduling all my free time and remember that there’s this thing called listening that I need to do more often.  Not just listening to people, because I kind of get paid to do that – but listening to God, his whispers and his callings on my life.

Be Still.  

Okay – I am on my couch watching my DVR – does that count?


Be Still.  

Okay I am sitting on my bed doing my daily devotional, how about now?

Warmer but no.

Be Still.

Okay, here I am God.  Open hands, open heart.

Walk with me.


I think that we can understand the Be Still, but what does it mean to know that He is God?

For me knowing that He is God means knowing that He can move my mountains, that He lives in me, that I am His beloved, that I am His daughter, His prize, that He is my Father, my Creator, and my Heart.  It’s knowing God in a way that His name’s bring power and peace into your life.  He is Jehovah Rapha the God of Healing.  He is Jehovah Shalom the God of Peace.  He is El-Olam, the everlasting God.  He is Yahweh.  He is Mine.

Be Still, and KNOW that He is God.  

Don’t just go through the motions.  Don’t just know the right words.  Live it.  Soak it in.  Let it mold your heart and break your comfort zones.

This is a supreme challenge for me and I have a feeling that I am not alone.

Let’s be still.

Be Open, and Listen.



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