Monday, April 16, 2012

Learning to Say "No"

As I have mentioned in a couple of posts prior to this one, Spring Break 2012 put a whole lot of things into perspective for me.  One of those things was the never ending lesson on boundaries.  If you remember a while back I read a book by that title, written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  The review link is here.

I highly recommend reading Boundaries if you get a chance.  My friends tell me that book has changed my life more than I know.  In January I learned to put my foot down when it comes to doing what I know is best for me, like going to bed on time and eating what I want to eat.

I thought I was getting the hang of boundaries really.  Then came March, and I was head over heels stressed, stretched, angry and tired.  I may have kept my bedtime in check, but every other minute of my life was allotted to other people who had asked for it.  Why?  Because I can't say "no."

It's sad because I thought I gave up living for people years ago when I turned to Christ, but deep down I am seeing that this is not the case at all.

Part of why I can't say no is because I honestly want to do everything.  I want to try out that new organization on campus, I want to be at your birthday party while also being at an oober-cool work event.  I want to help launch your business, and I also want to spend some time working on my blog and reading my homework for class tomorrow.
I always said the thing I hate most is missing fun.  Well Haley, sooner or later you are going to realize that you are human and you simply can't be everywhere at once, and neither can you do everything by yourself.

Many of the things--okay actually just about all of the things I want to spend my time on are good, and helpful to mostly others, and a little myself...but sometimes you have to drop good things.  Sometimes its the good things that are driving you crazy and keeping you from experiencing the real, raw, freshness of God.  I'm talking about the mysterious God I fell in love with.  The God who makes every day exciting and unexpected...if only we will give him control of our plans and allow him to do so.

After Spring Break God blessed me by allowing me to let go of a few things.  I finally dropped the class I wasn't enrolled in and didn't need for credit, but was attending anyways out of moral obligation.  I let go of a ministry that was wonderful and good, but in reality holding me back from what I really wanted to be doing.

I let go of the identity I had placed in being Southern Baptist rather than simply a God-fearing Christian.  I also let go of the church that comfortably went with that identity.

This might be confusing to you, but as I write this it is Monday, April 2nd, 2012.  I have my blogs stacked up so I won't get behind, and therefore I know you won't be reading this until the end of April, or perhaps early May. Anyhow, it is only the start of the second week back from Spring Break.

I have no idea where I'm going next or what I'm doing, but I know God is working wonders in my heart--stripping me of control (like always), plans, religion (again), and doing things just to please other people.

He is teaching me to dance with him instead of looking around at others.  He is bringing up the true and beautiful desires of my heart as I see who he really designed me to be.  How sad it is that I have come way off course do to what I feel like other people's expectations are of me.  I want to get back to that girl from American Honey, the girl whose heart and soul were painted around the earth everywhere she went.  The girl God designed me to be!

I'm still figuring all of this out--uncovering my soul and learning to be Captivating,like the first book that changed my life.  Throughout this process, God gave me the book Strong Women, Soft Hearts in February, and Blue Like Jazz in March, actually this week.  Both spoke volumes into my identity as a woman of God.

Then, today at work I was catching up on my blog reading using Google Reader, (which I highly recommend if you don't use it already) when several articles showed up that happened to apply directly to my boundary situation.  Here are the links below, I highly recommend them.

So what do you think?  How do you feel about boundaries and all that jazz?