Good Boundaries and Goodbyes | Lysa TerKeurst

Summary of: Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are
By: Lysa TerKeurst

Introduction

Discover the secret to balancing love and self-preservation through Lysa TerKeurst’s insightful book, ‘Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are.’ Learn about the importance of understanding your own worth and cultivating your relationship with God in order to set healthy boundaries. As you delve into this summary, you’ll learn to identify damaging relationships, set effective boundaries, and handle the pain of saying goodbye, all while remaining true to your Christian beliefs.

Discovering Your Boundaries

To establish healthy boundaries, you must first truly understand who you are. Contemplate God’s purpose in creating the unique individual that is you. Acknowledging your worthiness of God’s love is crucial, just as others are deserving of the same love. If you’re sacrificing too much in relationships believing it’s the right thing as a Christian, you’re misunderstanding Christ’s message. Strengthen your connection with God and focus on self-improvement to prevent bad relationships. Realize that the void within you cannot be filled by others, only God can provide that fulfillment. Build a strong relationship with yourself and with God to form the foundation of any positive relationship in your life.

Spotting Damaging Relationships

Life is an ongoing process where the goal is to strengthen your relationship with yourself and God before seeking out new connections. Identifying damaging relationships can be challenging, but essential. These relationships exist when one party avoids resolving their dysfunctions. Signs include feeling diminished self-worth, making excuses, unsteady love based on moods, and walking on eggshells. Establishing boundaries is crucial in such scenarios, and the next step involves determining access.

In our journey through life, we strive to grow stronger connections with both ourselves and higher powers before cultivating new relationships. One challenge lies in recognizing when we’re entangled in damaging relationships, wherein one individual evades addressing their personal issues.

Take Lysa’s experience—her hot water heater hinged on keeping floodlights on due to a peculiar electrical issue. Instead of resolving the problem, she invited guests to adapt to it. Inviting others to accommodate to dysfunction without attempting to resolve it is a clear warning sign.

Damaging relationships reveal themselves through various indicators; you may feel a reduced sense of self-worth, find yourself justifying their actions, question your sanity, experience fluctuating love based on moods, or constantly tiptoe around them.

Identifying these signals ultimately leads to the crucial step of setting boundaries, with the subsequent action being defining access within the relationship.

Balancing Love with Boundaries

Establishing boundaries isn’t about withholding love or forgiveness; it’s about determining the level of access someone has to your heart based on their responsibility. When someone proves to be irresponsible, like Adam and Eve losing access to God, it’s crucial to adjust these boundaries. Though it may be challenging, reflecting on and understanding the reasons behind your hesitations to set boundaries can lead to healthier relationships and greater self-awareness.

When you set boundaries, love remains unconditional but access varies depending on the responsibility shown by those around you. Consider when Adam and Eve lost their unrestricted access to God due to their disobedience; their responsibility had shifted, and so did the level of access they were granted.

For example, if you give your child a credit card for gas because they’ve earned your trust, you’re granting them access. However, if they misuse the card and make irresponsible decisions, it’s necessary to reduce their access.

Admittedly, setting boundaries with money is easier than with emotions. People might feel hesitant to establish emotional boundaries as they fear being seen as un-Christian, changing others’ perceptions or feeling lonely due to a weaker connection with God. Reflecting on these reasons and working on them leads to healthier relationships and self-awareness. Remember, boundaries arising from such thoughts don’t come from God.

Consequences Strengthen Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial for healthy relationships, but they’re only effective when paired with consequences. Whether it’s with a friend or partner, one must be clear and consistent about the consequences for crossing established boundaries. Although it’s natural to feel guilt or uncertainty, it’s essential to stand firm and communicate the boundaries without over-explaining or defending them. A mature individual will respect and adjust their behavior accordingly, ultimately strengthening the relationship.

Boundaries are essential in maintaining healthy relationships, but for them to be effective, they must come with consequences. The key is to be firm and clear about the potential consequence, ensuring it is not perceived as a threat, punishment, or ultimatum but rather a natural outcome of disregarding the boundary.

Consistency is crucial, as failing to follow through on a stated consequence invites the impression of an empty threat. While some might argue that you’re overly serious or accuse you of being heartless, remember that it’s common to feel guilty or self-conscious in such situations.

Many individuals place too much emphasis on being perceived as kind-hearted and empathetic, attributing any conflict to their flaws. However, it is essential to remember that boundaries exist to protect oneself and preserve healthy relationships. When feeling doubtful or conflicted, take a moment to seek guidance through prayer or reflection to reaffirm your commitment to those boundaries.

Expressing your boundaries needn’t be a debate – simply present them as unapologetic facts. Examples include:

– “If you’re not in the car by 7:45 a.m., I will leave for work without you.”
– “If our conversation becomes disrespectful, I will walk away and return when we both feel calm.”
– “Should you bring drugs or alcohol into this house, I will dispose of them immediately.”

An emotionally mature individual who values the relationship will respect your boundaries and modify their behavior. However, if the person continues to disregard the boundaries you’ve set, it may be time to reassess the relationship and potentially say goodbye.

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