The Tabernacle

Creating 'spaces' to experience the presence of God

Boundaries, Vulnerability and Hate – The rumble with identity

September 11th, 2019

Funny how our boundaries are rarely celebrated.
Gosh they can be hard, sometimes messy work. I’m not a specialist on them, just a traveller who loves learning! 

The thing about boundaries is that we can experience push back, consequence and even that 2nd most avoided emotion we all dread, grief. 

Growth is a costly business. Doesn’t matter what is the nature of growth. It costs. Anyone is business knows that!

I’ve been pondering lately how in society it is common and somewhat “ok” to punish and shame when boundaries especially new boundaries are communicated. It confronts our entitlement and some other dysfunctions. 

When the love level in us is low, the Bible says we reach for punishment. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, so the one who is afraid is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].”

Many social scientists, civil authorities and Christian leaders have been growing more noisy in their concern around the wave of hatred crashing across the nation’s. Many saying it has increased alarmingly the last 12months. 

It’s a fearful thing to be around hate. Hate drains out love. Punishment is a management tool and it has an array of overt and subtle options from rolling the eyes to outright displays of harm. 

So what’s the blessing for a new boundary? It reveals our need for an upgrade in God’s love! 

Boundaries can define us. They are vulnerable because it shows what is really important to us. They reveal what we care about in our heart, and what we value. 

It takes courage to show up. But that is the kindest thing we can do. Clear is kind says Brene Brown. 

Being clear with our boundaries, is where I see some of our greatest challenges and growth points are currently in the Western World. And I wonder how much of that is because really we are in one huge rumble with identity?

Our boundaries are not walls we hit people with but a statement of what’s ok and what’s not around what we treasure, what we identify with. 

I have just completed uploading a training series online around living courageously. It’s ok for people to show the work to their family, colleagues, connect groups. But it’s not ok to not pay for it or take my name and website off it. 

This is a boundary. They are more than what’s not ok, they are a communication of what’s ok too! Boundaries keep value on us and on what we are doing. That’s our responsibility.

But it’s vulnerable to do that. And here is a lesson I keep learning over and over, vulnerability and learning how to do that, walk with that is so much of the story of our lives! 

So next time you see your teenager, spouse or work colleague trying to practice boundaries, celebrate their courage and get curious about who they are trying to define themselves as. 

Let’s be honest with our need for more of God’s love and turn the tide of hate. It’s not who we really are. It’s not what we want in the world we are building for our children. 

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