Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

It’s Alright to Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

 

I’m no stranger to online recovery forums. I find many people write in wondering how to set boundaries with their loved ones.  Whether their loved one is an addict, alcoholic, selfish, unavailable emotionally, etc., they’re just not sure what to do.

Most of the time, my answer is, “It depends” – because it does.

However, there are some common factors associated with setting boundaries and today, I’ll touch upon them.

Boundaries are very helpful in relationships of any kind.  Whether it’s your partner, child, parent, boss, friend, etc., being able to set and keep a boundary is important. If you’re not that great at it, don’t fret. Know that you’re not alone and boundary setting is a skill.  With practice, you’ll get better!

What you want and need matters

Say this with me:

“What I want and need matters.”

This sentence is a power-packed statement.  Why? Because what you want and need DOES matter. Because YOU matter, dear one!

Knowing what you want and need matters, so if you’re not sure, take some time to sit with this.  In your relationships, what do you want and need?

Trust? Respect? Unconditional love? Honesty? Affection? Security? Peace? Affirmation?

What DON’T you want?

Jealousy? Accusation? To be ignored, ridiculed, belittled, rejected, abused, substance abuse issues?

1. Tune in to your feelings

Asking yourself those questions will help you begin tapping into your feelings. This will help you learn what brings discomfort or uneasiness. Or just plain drama!  If his consistent emotional unavailability makes you feel ignored and rejected, those feelings do matter, because you matter, so it’s alright to have a conversation around this area, stating your wants and needs, and thus, setting your boundaries.

2. Be clear

When you’re setting your boundaries, be clear. Be direct.  Come from a kind heart, and not like, “Well, you better do this and this or else I’ll…..”  That sort of tone and intent might not go over very well.  For example, if you want and need some time with your friends regularly (without getting a cold shoulder or accused of cheating), go to your partner and simply state your needs and let him/her know how much you appreciate the support.  Be confident in your ability to express this want and need, because it is important to you, and YOU MATTER.

3. Say, “I deserve this.”

Give yourself permission to have boundaries.  I don’t mean that you have to have rigid rules all over the place, but you do deserve to have a relationship that has mutual boundaries that are set in a spirit of love.  If your partner is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, for example, you have permission to set some boundaries around that.  I see far too many men and women sweep things under the carpet in such situations, rather than tuning into what they want and need in a relationship (sobriety being one thing), and live in misery. 

If you’re stressed to the core because your partner is doing something that brings chaos or drama, give yourself permission to stand in your truth and speak your truth.

4. Consider the past

Did you grow up in a home where boundary setting was non-existent? Where no one talked about anything?  Did you grow up in a home where alcoholism or drug addiction was present? Many times, in such cases people grow up taking on the role of “caretaker” or people pleaser.  They let their own needs and wants go and “over-care” for others. This gets exhausting. They don’t value the principle of reciprocity, giving and giving, but not allowing themselves to receive.

What has been your past experience? What was modeled to you growing up? Take this into consideration as you learn how to tune into your needs and set boundaries in your life.

5. Allow yourself to care for yourself

Many people struggling from codependency have a tough time caring for themselves.  They’ll place others’ needs before their own, and oftentimes never get around to doing the things they would like to do. Or, they don’t even know what they like to do or need to do, because they are so wrapped up in other peoples’ worlds.  Make self-care a priority.

6. Ask for help

You may need some help when it comes to setting and keeping boundaries.  No shame in that. There are counselors, books, and support groups that are valuable.  Al-Anon, Nar-Anon and Codependents Anonymous are great support groups that will help in learning how to set boundaries.

7. Practice

Being assertive with boundary setting takes practice. Start small, and go from there. Don’t expect perfection or that it will all go as planned. In fact, you may experience some flack from others when you go to them and set a boundary. After all, they’re probably used to you NOT standing in your truth or perhaps even enabling them.  Be persistent and don’t take the flack personal. In the Bible, it says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in God’s mighty power!”  It’s alright to lean on the power of God or Universe!

Relationships need boundaries, so my hope is that you’ll continue to learn about setting and keeping boundaries with your loved ones.  It’s a process, but I assure you that you’ll get better as you practice! 

Are you struggling with boundary setting?  In what way? 

Embrace The Beauty Of A Scar

Embrace The Beauty Of A Scar

Embrace The Beauty Of A Scar

 

Everyone experiences pain in life at various time.  We all get hurt. We all go through some pretty rough times. In fact, some of you may be struggling with something painful right now.

Do you have any scars on your body?  A wound that ultimately healed up and left a scar?

If so, then you understand that despite deep cuts, healing can occur, sometimes leaving that mark or blemish.

Physically, most of us have dealt with some bloody wounds, perhaps from falling down, an accident, or surgery. I know I’ve used plenty of band aids throughout my life!

Emotional wounds

Emotionally, we’ve got some invisible scars too, right?  Emotional wounds are caused by all sorts of things, from a break up or divorce to an illness to mistakes made to losing loved ones, and more. But over time, many of those inner wounds heal up too.

It’s those emotional scars I’d like to talk about for a few minutes today. Those invisible scars that we tend to be ashamed of. Those scars that we think make us weak or failures. Those scars that hold us back from fulfilling our potential in God.

Scars as a reminder

However, I encourage you to begin to look at your scars from a new perspective.  View your scars as the reality of God’s grace and mercy to bring us through the tough times.  View them as a victory in yourself and in God.

See, life is painful at times.  We’re going to get cut more than once, and sometimes that pain is going to cause us to writhe in agony.  I’ve found myself in the fetal position writing in emotional agony more than once on this life’s journey.

And, I could have stayed there in that emotional pain. I could have allowed it to swallow me up, become bitter, angry, or hopeless. And at times, I did for longer than I wanted to!

But ultimately, I chose to “do the inner healing work”, trusting that God’s love and grace (unmerited favor) could help me get through.  That God’s goodness could ultimately heal that wound, leaving a scar to remind me of God’s faithfulness.

Just look at holy texts and read the stories of men and women of God who went through some horrific times. Some of them failed big time in the eyes of man. Some of them were lacking faith. Some betrayed their loved ones. Some suffered physical harm.

They could have gotten into self-pity and stopped in their tracks.  Rather, they sought God for healing and restoration. They hit the floor and began praying. Or maybe they meditated. Or sought counseling. Regardless, they allowed that pain to fuel their faith in God and in themselves.

And, so can we.

Pain as a pathway to joy

Whatever your past has been or whatever kind of trial or tribulation you’re going through right now, choose to view your pain as a pathway toward experiencing more of God’s grace and mercy.  More of God’s divine love. Pain as a pathway to healing, and ultimately, authentic vulnerability and joy.

I understand emotional pain, including things like regret, guilt, shame, hopelessness, anger, agonizing loneliness, abandonment, victimhood, and more.

I also understand better God’s will to help us heal, no matter how deep the wound.  Will it take time?

Yes.

Will it be easy?

Probably not.

But it will be worth you making the effort, because wounds and scars can remind you of God’s unfailing love and mercy for you, and THAT is something, dear one.  That is definitely a blessing.

People need you, wounds, scars and all.  If you stay stuck in your woundedness, you will miss out on opportunities to connect and share with others.  To impact others with your presence, your gifts, your unconditional love.

Because that’s what we all want, right? Unconditional love?

Ooooh, look at this scar!

Listen friends, God can take any wound and turn it into a beautiful scar.

My stretch marks? Ah, a beautiful reminder of carrying my angels in my womb.

My emotional scars? Ah, beautiful reminders of God’s unending love, grace, and mercy for me, even when I abandoned God. Even when I made poor choices. I blew it, but God redeemed me! Restored me! Not so I can boast, but so I can now turn around and help others!

What about you?  Are you letting wounds fester and keep you in misery?  The divorce? The addiction? The loss of your loved one? The job loss? The mistakes made? Those people that hurt you?

Turn it all over to God. To Love. To Mercy.

Allow God to help you THROUGH the pain.  As many have said before, pain is going to occur, but suffering is optional.  This means you can choose to work with God toward healing, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

You do your part, and God will do the rest.

If you need help, reach out. There are counselors, support groups, life coaches, pastors, spiritual directors, etc. that are more than willing to assist you in healing.

You simply have to take that step.

You’re worthy, dear one, of healing. And, healing on all levels is my prayer for you.

Allow your scars to encourage others who are hurting, so that they can heal.

 

{Need a healing?  Here’s some wonderful affirmative prayers to pray!}

 

Are You Abiding In Peace?

Are You Abiding In Peace?

 

Are You Abiding In Peace?

 

When I think that God can love me despite my flaws, my mistakes, my forsaking my faith so many times…. I am overwhelmed with emotion.

When I allow myself to sit in silence, to just inhale peace, it is there that all is well.  There’s no struggle and I am free. It’s there that grace finds me and I feel Spirit’s love for me – a kind of love I cannot even give myself.  A kind of love that sees me for who I really am underneath so many darn layers of ego. Of regrets. Of pain.

“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation…and in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 32:18

7+ billion people on the planet. How many are resting in a peaceful habitation? Resting at all?  The carnal nature has a bent toward doing, striving, mind-racing, producing more, and more, and more. That will not produce peace. That produces high levels of stress, anxiety, and a gap in our relationship with Spirit.

And I get it because I’ve been there. It’s a constant balancing act.  Committing to a life marked by sitting in silence (meditation, sacred time with God), prayer (actively thinking and speaking to God), and listening. How many of us are doing this throughout the day?  How many find it challenging to sit quietly for 1 minute a day?

I love to research and experiment, and prayer and faith are two things I put to the test more and more. I’m here to tell you if you’ll put the time in to just sit in silent prayer, focusing on your breath, on the divinity of God, you’re going to begin to experience some inner changes.  You’re going to begin to get some revelation of God’s will and ways. You don’t have to speak long prayers… you don’t have to “know how to pray”.  Just be quiet for now. 

Be quiet and reverent and go within.

And yes, surely pray out loud at times with passion and zeal. Dance ecstatically under Spirit’s influence with shouts of praise. Emotionally infused prayers are like sweet incense to God, so go for it! Ask for what you desire, affirm that it’s manifesting as you believe. Just do your best to ask from your spirit man and not your ego man. Ego wants a lot, but is usually not in sync with Spirit.

How will you know the difference? You might not always know, but I believe as you cultivate a more intimate relationship with God, you’ll just know.

I want more of God’s divine presence in my life. I want to tap into Christ consciousness more each day, and in order to do so, I must be consistent with my spiritual discipline.  I must make time to become more acquainted with my inner life. This spaciousness in my mind and spirit. The Kingdom of God that Jesus talked about. A more enlightened understanding of the Mystery.

This is my commitment. I hope you’ll join me.

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

Matthew 6:13 MSG

 

 

How Do You Fight Your Battles?

How Do You Fight Your Battles?

 

How Do You Fight Your Battles?

 

I love worship music – all different kinds.  Music that points my focus in the direction of an awe-inspiring Creator simply moves me. In fact, music makes me FEEL more deeply than many things. It’s part of my therapy regimen. 😉 

I’m listening to one of my newest favorites – Fight My Battles by Josh Baldwin at Bethel Church. It’s a simple mantra, and I’m lost in it. I’m letting it penetrate every particle in my body. It helps me keep right in the forefront of my mind that perspective matters.  

Who’s perspective do I have? Mine? Or God? Spirit? Love?

“It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You….. This is how I fight my battles.”

I’m not into fighting, not in the sense of violence. I’m a peacemaker to the T.  

I believe we can address most “issues” in life without anger or violence – or passive aggressiveness.

How can we fight our battles?

Battles like conflict, grief, anxiety, relationship issues, health issues, worldly craziness, the lusts of the flesh, finance issues, substance abuse, etc.

How can we fight?

“It might look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.”

THIS KNOWLEDGE.

THIS REVELATION.

This is how I fight my battles, knowing that the POWER that backs everything is surrounding me…is before me, behind me, beside me, inside me, working in me, through me, flowing, breezing, working, molding, equipping, moving….

Spirit, supernatural presence available to me simply by my recognizing that this is surrounding me. God in me. Me in God. Love in me. Me in Love.

And, of course, faith.

Faith is believing what we cannot see with these natural eyes. Faith is believing there’s something greater. Some omnipresent “something”. Some living force that my consciousness can tap into. Some power that I can grab hold of and trust that I am supported…That the Universe supports me even when all hell is breaking out…when arrows are flying toward my head, toward my heart…. I am supported.  

And in the grand scheme of things, I am well. It is well with my soul.

This is how I fight my battles.

Closing my eyes. Tapping into the living Christ conscious kingdom there. Choosing to believe in something greater than my “self”. Remembering to see with eyes of faith. Trusting that I don’t have to do it all alone.  That I’m part of something bigger.

I may not understand it all, but that’s alright.

Life’s a mystery, ya’ll, and maybe we should just be alright with that.

What are you battling dear one? How are you fighting?

Be still in God, my loves. Know that you are indeed surrounded. 

I am made in the likeness of Divine Being (God) and therefore, I will reflect this loving presence in this world, consecrating my thoughts, actions, and desires to this incredible power. 

 

Seek the Light – Devotional

Seek the Light – Devotional

In Gratitude: Seek The Light

What you seek, you will find. Well, for the most part.

Today is Thanksgiving and I’m certainly grateful for so many things – the good and not so good. I find myself this morning looking for the good. The Light. The things that truly warm my heart, make me feel loved, and make me feel meaningful and blessed.

The world’s in some pretty tough times in some spots, but that’s nothing new.  If we’re just looking for what’s wrong with the world, that’s pretty much all we’re going to focus on.  It was the same thousands of years ago. Wars. Famine. Selfish leaders who did not have the general public’s best interests at heart.

But you know what Jesus did? He spent many days looking for opportunity to bless others. He was led by compassion and light, connecting deeply with those who were struggling.

Like when he saw the blind men. It says Jesus “had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”

When Jesus was out and about teaching, he had compassion on those that were sick and healed them.

Notice that Jesus noticed people in every way, shape, and form. He lived and breathed compassion. Why? Because he was that connected to the Power that backed him: God.

I’ll admit I spend far too much time absorbed in my own life; My will. My desires. My fears or worries or whatever.  There’s more I could be noticing out there. There’s more compassion that could be flowing through me.

And, yes, I’m committing to becoming more like Jesus on that end. Granted, maybe if I knew that if I laid hands on people, they’d immediately heal, I’d be out there healing people more often. However, I’ll admit my faith level is not quite there….

Yet.

Jesus was the compassion King. He responded to people, rather than reacting harshly. He was gentle. Loving. Kind. Oh, for that kind of revival to sweep the planet!

Today, I’m in gratitude for all that is great in my life. I’m also grateful for the many lessons learned in the dark times. I’m grateful that the God in me…the God behind me is always working in me, molding me to be more like Jesus.  More loving. More compassionate. More willing to notice those in need and actually do something about it.

Compassion is the light that will illuminate darkness. May we go deep inside and dig it up – that bright light – and light up the world.