Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives:
— Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances
— Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions
— Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others
— Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator.
Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:
– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.
A friend recommended this book as I was having some relationship issues in my life. I’d heard of it but had never considered reading it. I’m of mixed emotions about this book.
For one thing, it’s fascinating — I had no idea people start learning and setting boundaries at such a young age. I also hadn’t really considered how many different ways there are to establish boundaries (with family, at work, with friends, and even with God). It was also interesting to see how many unhealthy relationships I have in my own life. It’s easy to identify boundary issues in others (especially when it’s not your issue), but it’s a little startling to realize you’ve allowed so many unhealthy behaviors in your own circles.
That brings up the mixed part of the emotions — it’s a little heartbreaking to realize how many people don’t relate well to each other. This book will probably point out a lot of things that you didn’t realize needed tweaking in your life (and they won’t all be easy to accept).
I most enjoyed the sections that used examples. There were a few descriptions that I couldn’t really wrap my head around, but for the most part I found the book easy to read and follow (though not always accept). This isn’t a read-it-in-a-weekend sort of book. It will make you think about your life a lot. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who’s looking for a light read, but it could definitely be good from that person who wants to establish deeper, more meaningful relationships in his/her life.