Monday, December 19, 2011

George Bailey: A Boundryless Man

The last few weeks I have been reading a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, called Boundaries.  Although I'm only one third through the book, I am beginning to really understand what these wise men are talking about.

The first week I read the book I couldn't possibly see how any of it applied to my life.  Quickly after the fact, God revealed to me how much I people-please and often let others walk over me.  Since then I have continued reading the book and I am already seeing changes in my lifestyle and relationships.  I also have seen a deep continued need for setting boundaries in my own life.

Yesterday a group of friends and I went to the local theater and watched the 1946 American classic, It's a Wonderful Life, with James Stewart and Donna Reed.  One of my favorite Christmas movies, my family has watched this film every year since the day I was born probably.  This year however, I picked up on an altogether different theme as I watched it for the thousandth time.

If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend you do.  I apologize if I refer to something you do not understand.  If this tends to be the case, check out the movie and then come reread this post.  Better yet, read the book too, then maybe my babbling will make complete sense!

About half way through George Bailey's life, (the main character of the film) I began to see exactly what Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend had been teaching me about all week.  The poor man can't say no to anyone!  George turned down EVERY desire of his in order to help others.

When he was a kid, he lost the hearing in his right ear to save his kid brother.  As a young adult, he gave his college money to his brother while he took care of his father's old loan building.  George Bailey gave money to everyone who asked, even when he didn't have it.  In fact, he even handed out the $2,000 he saved for his honeymoon!  Once again, because of his inability to say no, he never even took his wife on a honeymoon.

Time after time again, George Bailey represses his desires in exchange for the needs of the greater public.  Yes, I realize the point of the movie isn't boundaries, but this is just a clear picture of it.  As explained in Boundaries, the more we repress our own desires, thoughts, and feelings on account of other people, the more anger and bitterness we store up inside of us.  This eventually gets us to the point where our yes doesn't mean yes, and our no doesn't mean no (Matthew 5:37.)

In the movie, we watch George Bailey go throughout his entire life, never telling a single person no.  As explained, all of his resentment and anger builds itself up, until at last he explodes with anger, letting everyone he loves feel scared and belittled.

The breaking point for all of this anger, is when his business partner, Uncle Billy, misplaces $8,000 of the company's money.  Because George does not clearly understand boundaries, (where his responsibility ends and another's begins) he once again takes full blame for a mistake that would lead him to jail.  The following scene truly captures his unclear thinking in boundaries when Potter asks him, "You misplaced $8,000 dollars?"  and George replies, "yes."

Unfortunately, the director of this movie didn't read the book Boundaries, so we watch the entire movie, and despite a happy ending, George never learns to say no, nor let go of others' responsibilities.  If you have read Boundaries you probably understand where I am coming from.  Those of you who haven't read it, again I encourage you to do so, so that my point can be made for me. lol just kidding...sort of...

I will write a review for Boundaries when I finish reading, thus making this post more understandable.  Happy Monday everyone and thanks for reading!