Do you or someone you know have a hard time saying no?
A lot of us tend to say “yes” to everything and continually overextend ourselves. The fact that we are Christians makes us even more vulnerable to being “yes people” because we don’t want to be seen as unloving toward people’s needs. Popular Christian Psychologist Henry Cloud would call this a Boundary Problem, which he explains in the following video.
A boundary, according to Cloud, is a property line. We can easily understand this by thinking of one’s property, which defines what is yours, and what is not yours. A boundary then simply defines ownership. Knowing the scope of ownership is important because whoever owns something controls it, and is thereby responsible for it. In the material world boundaries are easily defined by such things as walls or fences, but in the immaterial world, such as human relationships, boundaries are harder to see.
We can tell we have weak boundaries in relationships when other peoples’ problems always become your own. Of course we can help people but we are healthiest in helping them when others take ownership, control, and responsibility for their problems. In short, boundaries serve to keep good things in and bad stuff out. This concept may seem somewhat mechanical in regards to relationships but a helpful passage that addresses this principle is found in Proverbs 4:23:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Watch the full video and use it to engage in a discussion with others. This topic could make a helpful small group lesson. You can find Cloud’s book on Boundaries here.