Tag Archives: bible study

Book Review – Boundaries

22 Sep

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

“When to Say Yes

When to Say No

To Take Control of Your Life”

 

bkrvwboundaries

Photo by Nick Tiemeyer on Unsplash

My OH had been suggesting, off and on, that I read this book since we first met. And finally, after some things happened, I decided that I really could benefit from it. It took me a few months to get through – as most books like this do since I tend to read them during breakfast. I feel like I gained so much from this book, as the authors take you step-by-step through why people act the way they do. As well as how to set up boundaries in the different areas of your life – such as family, friends, work and God.  I learned so much in the sections about how we form boundaries in our childhood through what was said and what was not said from those around us.

Here are a few sections that stood out to me :

“Boundaries help us to distinguish our property so that we can take care of it… We need to keep things that will nurture us inside our fences and keep things that will harm us outside. In short, boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. They guard our treasures so that people will not steal them… Sometimes, we have bad on the inside and good on the outside. In these instances, we need to be able to open up our boundaries to let the good in and the bad out. In other words, our fences need gates in them.” Page 31

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Do not try to get to freedom without owning your reactive period and feelings. You do not need to act this out, but you do need to express the feelings. You need to practice and gain assertiveness. You need to get far enough away from abusive people to be able to fence your property against further invasion. And then you need to own the treasures you find in your soul. But do not stay there. Spiritual adulthood has higher goals than “finding yourself” “. Page 96

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“... Because of unexpressed boundaries, the relationships suffered. An important thing to remember about boundaries is that they exist, and they will affect us, whether or not we communicate them... If our boundaries are not communicated and exposed directly, they will be communicated indirectly or through manipulation. The Bible speaks to this issue in many places. Listen to the words of Paul: “therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’ : do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Eph.4:25-26) The biblical mandate is be honest and be in the light.” Page 101

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“Anger tells us that our boundaries have been violated. Much like a nation’s radar defense system, angry feelings serve as an “early warning system”, telling us we are in danger of being injured or controlled.” Page 112

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“The more biblical our boundaries are, the less anger we experience! Individuals with mature boundaries are the least angry people in the world. While those who are just beginning boundary work see their anger increase, this passes as boundaries grow and develop… The old saying ‘don’t get mad. Just get even’ isn’t accurate. It’s far better to say, ‘don’t get mad. Set a limit!” Page 115

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“You can imagine how well not taking ownership over our lives will come across the Lord then: ‘but I had a dysfunctional family.’ ‘But I was lonely.’ ‘But I didn’t have much energy.’ The rationalizing “buts” will have as much impact as excuses of the service in the parable of the talents did. This isn’t to say that we are deeply influenced for better or worse by our backgrounds and our various stressors. We certainly are. But we are ultimately responsible for what we do with our injured, immature souls.” Page 178

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I especially liked the analogy of ‘fences make good neighbors’ – just make sure to ‘have a gate’. Our fences aren’t walls to keep everyone and everything out.

Like I said, these are just a few of the sections that stood out to me as I read this book. I feel like from the day I started reading it, I was recommending it. To my doctor, friends, family etc. This will most likely be a yearly read for me.

I have also read another of their books, Boundaries in Marriage, and it was equally good. I have plans to get it from the library and read it again, since it’s been four years since I read it. (I did a mini-review of it here)

I definitely recommend this book for anyone and everyone! Whether you realize that you need to set better boundaries – with yourself or those around you – or not, I know you’ll learn a lot from it.

~Laura

 

July 2017 Book Review

1 Aug

Hello hello! I read quite a bit this month – which always makes me happy. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a good book is there?

july2017bkrvw

 

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – While set in a sleepy town in Virginia, the events that take place in Scout Finch’s childhood, rock the residents of the town.

– I hadn’t read this book since high school and since I seem to be on a classic kick this year, I pulled it off the shelf! I feel like opinions on this novel are very divided – either it’s loved or hated. Well. I’m on the loved it side – I do not know why it took over 10 years for me to read it again! I enjoyed  Lee’s descriptions – the sleepy street, the moonlight on the trees, the rabid dog making its way down the street – they were so vivid I could see them. I think everyone should read this book at least once.  (Now I want to read Go Set a Watchman)

Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson – A full review of this great trilogy will be coming next month! (I promise. the wait will be worth it.)

Seasons of the Heart series by Janette Oke – Watch for a full review of this in the next few weeks!

When God Doesn’t Fix it by Laura Story

Currently Reading:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Anathema by Colleen Coble

On my To-Read List:

One Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – I finally picked up my own copy of this book. I’m excited to read it (I’ve been doing an audio version) and finally finish it!

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

 

Striving for a Virtuous Life – Authenticity

5 Jun

I sat down to study on how to change things on my blog – a slightly daunting task at 8 in the morning – and then at 10 I realized I should be writing a Virtue post! Yikes! So here I am, changing my focus for the time being and getting into study mode!  I hope you’ll join me as we study Authenticity.

strivingforavirtuouslife

Now, I know that in the Christian set, and others as well, that this can be a bit of a ‘buzz’ word right now. But I want to challenge you to put aside the emotions all that might have created and let the idea settle into your heart and mind. We have been called to be real. We have been called to live life without masks – be they literal ones or affectations. Masks hide who is behind them and show only what others want to see. But the real story, the real treasure, is just beneath if only we have the courage and faith to step out and throw down our masks.

We have been called to not apologize for who we are – but to apologize when we stumble and hurt someone. To be real, to be authentic we need to be able to see our gifts and successes just as well as our failures.

Over the years I have wondered if I was being really me. Or was I being the version of me that I thought those people wanted? For a while I got so caught up in this question that it became a fear for me and I started hesitating on saying what I thought; doing something with someone etc. And then one night, after dinner with a friend we wandered to a bridge over the river and just looked at the stars, the inky flowing water and I realized that I needed to let go of the idea of finding myself and just letting me be. It was one of those very rare times when I felt a burden lift off my shoulders. I realized that it was okay to be silly with one friend and serious with another. Different people bring out different attributes in you. Since then I have asked myself that same question, kind of as a barometer on how I am doing. And as a way to see where I really am emotionally. But through it all, I feel like I have learned that while the outside forces want us to be/look/act in certain ways, we need to keep our eyes set on what our Lord has asked of us – vibrant living in authentic ways.

If you would like, feel free to check out the other studies – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.  There is no specific order for this study! A few ‘boring’ things before we get started – I will get all my meanings from dictionary.reference.com unless otherwise stated. For my verses, I will be using my Complete Jewish Bible, unless otherwise stated.

Authenticity –

  • quality of being authentic, genuine

for the purpose of a better understanding, here’s the meaning of Authentic –

  • not false or copied

synonyms-  “genuine, real, veritable share the sense of actuality and lack of falsehood or misrepresentation. Authentic carries a connotation of authoritative certification that an object is what it is claimed to be: an authentic Rembrandt sketch. Genuine refers to objects or persons having the characteristics or source claimed or implied: a genuine ivory carving.” 

 Col. 3:5-10 – “Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); for it is because of these things that God’s anger is coming on those who disobey him.True enough, you used to practice these things in the life you once lived; but now, put them all away – anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk. Never lie to one another; because you have stripped away the old self, with its ways, and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator.”
2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!”
1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him; because all the things of the world – the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life – are not from the Father but from the world. And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.”
Most of us have heard these verses before. The old us is gone and now we are new! I want to add to that idea in the sense that, in being new, we have help in laying down our human desire of pride – trying to cover up any failures we think we see in how we look or in our personalities. Our new selves are to grow ever closer to Messiah.
2 Thes. 1:11-12 – “With this in view, we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill by his power every good purpose of yours and every action stemming from your trust. In this way, the name of our Lord Yeshua will be glorified in you, and you in him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”
Rom. 12:2 – “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”
Phil 1:27 – ” Only conduct your lives in a way worthy of the Good News of the Messiah; so that whether I come and see you or I hear about you from a distance, you stand firm, united in spirit, fighting with one accord for the faith of the Good News,”
 James 5:12 – “Above all, brothers, stop swearing oaths – not “By heaven,” not “By the earth,” and not by any other formula; rather, let your “Yes” be simply “Yes” and your “No” simply “No,” so that you won’t fall under condemnation.”
Once we put off our old selves – the one that wants to lie to get out of a task at work; the one that nags her family; the one that constantly wants more clothes/shoes/etc – it’s gone completely right? We are free of those selfish desires! HA! I truly wish so, but no, it is really a daily laying down of the selfish pride and a daily choosing to follow Him who has ‘every good purpose for you’ and can transform us so we know the truth of God’s love and guiding us.
Praise Him that we are not alone in this daily struggle! Right there in Philippians, Paul exhorts the people to stand together and in one accord for the faith.
1 Peter 3:3-4- “Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear;  rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.”
Ahhh, this verse. Raise your hand if you’ve heard teachings about this verse from both sides. One side says women should not wear anything fancy – and the other…. I had some friends who  were not allowed to cut their hair, wear jeans, makeup etc. The problem in that came that they weren’t taught proper modesty – it was forced on them is such a strong way. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes with this verse, it just makes me sad to see the second part of the verse basically disregarded because the focus is on the first part! It is to be our spirit that we are to spend time on, for that is what God sees as valuable.  Tending to our hearts is of greater import than our hair or makeup.
Prov. 31:30 – ” Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.”
And in that tending, we will be preparing ourselves for the rest of our life! My red curly hair will eventually turn gray, in fact it already has started. My eyes will grow weak  and my strength will be limited, not that it’s not right now (!) but if i tend the ‘garden of my heart’ regularly,  I shall still be worthy of praise.
Matt. 10:29-31 – “Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
You know that feeling when you get in the midst of a crowd? That little nagging feeling that you could disappear and no one would notice? Perhaps you get that feeling even when you’re alone -but you know the wonderful truth? God knows exactly where you are. He knows what you’re going through and how many hairs are on your head. amazing.
Eph. 2:10 – “For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.”
Ps. 27:1-4- “By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple.”
I LOVE these verse. All David is focused on is living in the house of Adonai. Seeing Adonai. Visiting his temple. He is not afraid of outside forces coming to do him harm because he knows the Lord will protect him.
Here are some extra verses for further study:
Ps. 34:1-22 ; Joshua 1:1-18 ; John 16 ; 1 Cor. 12:12-27
Of course, being authentic is not an easy thing! But what’s the saying of nothing worth having comes easy? Authenticity comes from knowing who you are in Him and being confident and secure in that knowledge.  Have you been around someone who is quietly secure in who they are? I am blessed to know several ladies who fit that description and just by knowing them I have been able to ‘grow’ in who I am. Not only does God use His word to teach us, but He graciously puts people in our lives as well! Just by knowing these ladies more, I have thought more and more on being an authentic wife, daughter, sister and friend. I challenge you to do the same! And if you don’t have a friend who encourages you to be authentic, I suggest you become that friend for others!
And here’s a little printable for you friends
blogauthenticity
 I hope you have enjoyed this study with me and as I said above, do check out the other studies in this series – Virtue , Hope , faithfulness and hospitality.
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