Tuesday Tea Chat No. 33 ~ Setting Boundaries Graciously

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Tuesday Tea Chat No. 33 ~ Setting Boundaries Graciously

Good Morning friends...and Welcome to our 33rd Tuesday Tea Chat.  It's so nice to be back again! I've had a very productive break from blogging but am still working on the taxes. At least I've gotten started which is the hardest part, don't you think?  One set is finished and the other is in progress. I got a little sidetracked by my efforts to get healthy and lose weight by juicing which made it hard to focus on the work I had planned.

But this last week was the perfect time to get 'decaffeinated' and get used to juice fasting. (Picture me laying on the couch feeling very sleepy, nursing a substantial headache, and all the while thinking about the many things I needed to do. Stressful!  ) Somehow, I talked myself into not quitting..LoL!

I do hope you will grab your cup and join us for a little chat over tea.  What are you drinking today?  Please feel free to link up here if you would like to share a tea post or photos of your own.  :o)

Today, I am sipping my Wedding Tea from Harney and Sons. Amy of Tea Girl in a Coffee World mentioned their newest tea a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't wait to try it.


It is delicious..no doubt about that!  Just take a look at the ingredients and you will see why: Chinese Mutan White Tea buds, rose petals, cornflowers, marigolds, and coconut and almond oils. The taste is just heavenly! Rich..and almost nutty but with a lot of subtle flavors.

It's a perfect tea to savor in the early morning during quiet times.  I'd like to chat with you about a life-changing concept I've learned from a  new book that a friend loaned to me two weeks ago. It's called Boundaries by Dr.Cloud and Townsend.  How I wish I had found it years ago!

For those of us for whom childhood and home life were difficult, this book is incredibly helpful. Sometimes it's just very hard for one parent or another to recognize the 'person-hood' of their children. It's usually because the same thing happened to them. That was certainly the case for me and my siblings.


What do I mean by boundaries?  As an example, imagine that your neighbor has a problem respecting people's boundaries. So when he needs a lawn mower, he comes over and takes it right out of your garage...without asking. He is ignoring your 'boundary' which in this case is your property line.
An example of people who don't respect boundaries would be... A co-worker who often asks you to bail them out when they have too much work to do.  Friends or family who ask for loans and get upset when you don't give them... People who expect you to do jobs or favors without recompensing you in any way and do so habitually.  Adult children who won't get a job or leave home....inappropriate touching of a child by an adult..... In-laws who pressure adult children to do what they want or else. Guilt trips and manipulation of any kind--all of these examples are covered in the book.

Boundaries of many kinds were simply not allowed for my sisters and I. Naturally, I've always had a very difficult time saying 'No'.   The results for any one in this situation are obvious: over-commitment, enabling others to be selfish, bitterness (at times) , discouragement, low self esteem, and even procrastination.  


Have you ever had trouble with this?  If you do, you certainly have my heartfelt sympathy!

It's not that those who overstep others boundaries are 'evil' or intentionally hurtful. They simply don't understand what is appropriate and what isn't.

It's up to us to set boundaries

so others know what is OK with us and what isn't.

I have had the unpleasant task of seeing my parenting through 'new eyes' this last two weeks. How easy it is to overstep the bounds of propriety with children moving from the childhood to adulthood! How hard it is to trust God sometimes with our children--to step back and let them fail--to have faith in them and God when we are looking at their 'human-ness".

I truly wish I could turn the clock back, and do it all over again. I know my kids could hear from God just fine, and I knew it then, but it was hard to back out of the 'mommy-mode' as they got older  and trust them to our Heavenly Father's care.At least I do get a second chance with the three who are still home. I have been doing much better at letting go with them. :o)

The authors remind us.....that we can't control others

but we can control ourselves.

We can remove ourselves from situations, refuse to listen to inappropriate communication, and we can say NO. 

I've found myself on both sides of the fence as I've read this book. I can hardly describe how eye-opening this was.  That was a very humbling thing to discover for sure.  It's sure surprising to realize what was at the root of many a tense moment with Dear Hubby.  Too many times, over the years,  I've found myself expressing my fears or hurt feelings 'through the back door' so to speak with pouting, anger, or a cold shoulder.

But thanks to this book,  and some research, I've learned how to simply communicate those concerns in a kind way without any expectations of change.  Gone are the 'hints of accusation' that I'm occasionally characterized my comments.  I'm so grateful that the Lord answered my prayers about some of the struggles going on in relationships in our home. It's as easy now to communicate kindly, as it was to be unkind.

The new found freedom to say NO when I should is another great discovery and has allowed me to say YES to the right things and get my priorities in order.              

Are we a perfect family? Not even close!  But we love each other, and the Lord..so we want to work through our problems and do so regularly.  This book helped me understand how best to encourage genuine respect and communication amongst all of us. 

The first week, I felt like a child learning how to talk and walk all over again. It was all so foreign to me. I was surprised how much I let even business people take advantage of me. Lack of boundaries or lack of respect for them affects all of your relationships to one degree or another.

The second week, I felt so happy and hopeful as we have all began to understand each other better. Part of me felt selfish saying No, but I'm certain that was not true now.  As the bible says, we each have to bear our own burdens (daily loads), which is different from 'bearing one anothers' burdens (unusually heavy load).

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible  Submitting - one to another - Let no man be so tenacious of his own will or his opinion in matters indifferent, as to disturb the peace of the Church; in all such matters give way to each other, and let love rule.

The one thing that we are all learning, at our house,  is that, though the Lord wants us to obey those in authority over us and to defer to those under us, everyone deserves respect and a certain 'personal space' and relationship with God as individuals.  Ultimately, we all answer to God first, then to each other.  Leadership does not equal the right to total control nor does submission mean a call to total surrender. It's all about genuine and mutual love and respect for each other. 

I Corinthians 13 4-7 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud,  doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not easily provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Our children are as much 'sisters and brothers' in Christ as we are. The older they get..the more we need to allow them to relate to and respond to God for their decisions and to be responsible for their own mistakes.  'Letting Go should be a very natural transition that we as parents need to cooperate with.

By the time our kids have left home to begin their adult lives, they should no longer feel the need to 'answer' to us for anything.  For those who are married, that's what 'leaving and cleaving' is all about. The bible clearly describes the breaking of the parental bonds here.  A new relationship is formed which allows for the liberty of the newly married children to be their own 'heads of the home'.  We, as parents, move into a new season of life...I like to think of it as a chance to give more time to 'spiritual parenting' of the body of Christ..and growing closer over the years as a couple.

When we, as adults or children,  feel that someone is truly going 'beyond' what is appropriate..we need to be able to say so and expect that NO to be respected.

  It's not the defiant NO of a two year old. Our 'Nos'  need to be gracious.  It's easier to teach this to our kids through modeling than anything else.

Well, I've gone on long enough about this topic, I'm sure! :o) If you see yourself in either position..certainly know that neither I nor God is criticizing you for that. (I'm as guilty of this as the next gal.)  The point is that we can LEARN how to treat each other in a way that leaves no one feeling like either a 'door mat' or a 'tyrant'.  

Now that our family is learning how to 'set boundaries graciously', we are more able to communicate our genuine feelings..even negative ones,  in a kinder and more constructive way rather than feeling 'stuck' in a hopeless situation. We are learning to understand how each of us looks at life and to care more for others perspectives and opinions.

If you are feeling like your boundaries are being overrun..or you find people reacting a lot to your 'leadership' or way of 'getting things done'...perhaps this book can help give you a new perspective and some tools for rebuilding proper relationships in your life and the lives of those you love, as much as it is in your power of course. 

We can't and shouldn't try to 'fix' people, but we can remove ourselves from their behavior in a loving, respectful way.
 This gives God a chance to work in their lives..instead of making others feel criticized or rejected by us.

Today, I invite you to join me in a little self-examination here as we share tea together. If we want our families to be healthy and happy,  both emotionally and spiritually,  we will need to be able to set appropriate boundaries and respect those of others.   

Have you ever had trouble with this issue?  Is it difficult for you to say NO? Or is it hard to accept other people's "NOs"?   Let's chat. :o)

Linking with these lovely ladies' Tea Parties..and Sites..
Photo Credit: All the nature photos were taken by my son, Christian. The rest were mine.


Trudy said...

This was a great post, Donna, really good food for thought.

Needled Mom said...

It sounds like a great book, Donna.

It is so tough to step back from that mothering role - no matter how old they are. I think we are just trying to keep them on the easier path since we have walked it.

Glad that you are getting so much done on your break.

Amy said...

I read that book at one point. . . but I must say it's the type and substance I need to read again! Glad you reminded me. Also, it is good for me to consider as my girls are growing up.
Makes me smile to think we're sipping the same tea. . . wish it were at the same table chatting. At least we have blogging:)

Rae said...

Hello sweet friend!
Yes and deedy boundaries are GOOD!
Gotta have them.
One of my friends is reading this book now, I know it will help her.
Enjoy your day dear one!

Lorraine said...

Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not easily provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is one of my fav quotes. I think it is often difficult as women and mums to be assertive and to say NO...sometimes we have to put our needs first and be firm and fair..its not easy being a mum..oh well I am now going to set the boundaries here as its bed time for the kids always a test especially in the light summer nights!! wish me luck..lol!

Anonymous said...

Your posts are so "meaty" and I always feel blessed after reading. The paragraph below struck me in a big way.

"The authors remind us regularly that we can't control others but we can control ourselves. We can remove ourselves from situations, refuse to listen to inappropriate communication, and we can say no."

Rather trying to control others, we should first look at ourselves. He's stating the obvious but I find myself failing so often.

Thanks so much for this post. It spoke to me in so many ways.


herbal tea said...

Wedding tea is elegant blend created for that special event. Harney & Sons Wedding Tea is an elegant and beautiful blend of flavors. I enjoyed the two tins of Harney & Sons earl grey tea I received from a friend in England.

Lorraine said...

hello again Donna just had a thought you know when you have finished your tea drop a bit of lace and fabric in there..that is how I dye a lot of my fabric bits to get the vintage look and how I got the look on the vintage piece on my blog at the moment:)

Anonymous said...

Donna! Wonderful post! I just finished the Boundaries book. Really a great resource for not being a 'Christian doormat'. And that china pattern looks a lot like ours... Is it Sweet Lelani?

Kathy said...

Terrific post Donna! I find myself volunteering for things and then realizing I am not suited or the group was not what I expected - just want to help-have learned to be more selective and to find out exactly what God has in mind for me to do!
Thank you for sharing your insightful post with A Return to Loveliness! Welcome back! Hope all goes well,

Natasha in Oz said...

Hello my dear Donna! I'm so sorry I haven't been by for so long but I spent the last 3 weeks with the kids on their school holidays...oh yeah, I was also really sick with the flu! I guess you have been busy too? Isn't life fun! Well, I'm sure I'll be back real soon to catch up and hopefully I will try to post a tea post in the next week or so.

Take care and best wishes for a wonderful week!
Natasha @ 5 Minutes Just for Me

A Primitive Homestead said...

After reading your post the other day I am back again to say thanks for sharing. I reserved his book at my local library. Blessings!

Donna said...

I'm so glad you liked the post Lara. I think it will be a big help to you. I remember some of the trials you've faced. :o)

Natasha, I miss you too. We've had company all week and this weekend is our anniversary, my son, Jacob's birthday and two of my daughter's friends just left this afternoon to go back to Dallas.

What a week! I'll be posting later tomorrow morning. :o)


Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

it was a great day , now many yrs ago, when i too found this book!
good for you for posting this, Donna ") glad you're back!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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