I believe when you are being your unique and full expression of
you, it encourages others to do the same. Imagine a place where you are
fully acceptable. There is harmony and encouragement, certainty and
safety, variety and significance, connection and love, growth, and contribution.
A friend of mine shared a theory with me, that humans have six needs.
As I wrote them down on an electronic sticky note, I defined what each
means to me. If you define them for yourself, your descriptions may be
different than mine. How beautiful a place when we get curious about each
other’s definitions and live lovingly.
When we get to the identity of our core, we find who we
“say” we are. With that clarity, our true desires unfold like a
rose opening itself up in the sun. Its fragrance is blissful on a warm sunny day
if you happen to be downwind. Or, you need to lean over and place your
nose up-close and personal. By exploring your own identity, you may produce
a metaphor of what fragrance you are.
Diving into your own identity is a remarkable experience. Learning to value who I am, get curious about other people’s identity, and be the person I was created to be is freedom. Freedom prevails when I am living out my full expression of love. And living out my full expression of love hopefully encourages you to do the same! What is “living out your full expression of love” like for you?
Your feelings can help you navigate boundaries. When you are feeling violated, your throat may get tight and may be signaling to you of a boundary issue. Spend time searching for answers about your feelings. Find answers when you are unsure of what to do. This is my discovery of a situation.
I turned to friends asking them about my character. I searched in my Bible, read a book by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud. Boundaries: Updated and Expanded Edition. One idea struck me of how the Bible commands us to humble ourselves. They write that “If you do what you are able – confess, believe, and ask for help – God will do what you are unable to do – bring about change. (1 John 1:9; James 4:7-10; Matt.5:3, 6).”
My heart has been heavy with a situation I know needs changed. After a few days of processing how to deal with this situation, I heard the words in my mind, “Die to sin.” Initially I was thinking it related to jealousy. That didn’t feel quite right but it was the only thing I could come up with at the time that made sense. Later, after much more reading about boundaries I came up with my truth that I wasn’t jealous; I had exercised poor boundaries. When we are not equipping ourselves with knowledge around how to navigate this world, we fail ourselves and others. Natural instincts and learned behavior regarding boundaries can only take you so far in your growth and maturity for Christ-like character and holy living.
I am rejecting a place where I feel so much animosity. I am searching to find out how to protect myself in these kinds of experiences. I want to learn more about my character development. I acknowledge my intentions are not to hurt. And I am praying that God will reveal to me what I need to know and do, so that I honor my values. I do not want to hurt anyone and somehow I feel like I am. We can’t expect our character or other’s to be like Christ’s but we can strive for it to be, forgiving ourselves and others of our shortfalls.
Much of what I am reading relates to what I am experiencing. I am uncomfortable thinking that I was judging someone and confirm that it is rather discernment and is so crucial to our well-being so that we are not lead to sin. What I discovered in 2 Peter 3:18 “….they lure back those into sin, those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception.” This struck a chord with me. As I strive to be without sin, I need to have places I am learning in to be nurturing. We can all be sinners and you can choose to be with groups that are respectful. If they are not, it is okay to leave.
I discovered that in this environment I was feeling enmity. That was the first word that came to mind. I looked it up and enmity which in the dictionary I used says it is a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism. Animosity is what actually describes how I was feeling in this situation. Animosity is a feeling of strong dislike, ill will, or enmity that tends to display itself in action: a deep-seated animosity between two sisters; animosity against one’s neighbor.”
Well, I don’t want to have that feeling or do I like that feeling! So what I learned in boundaries is that you have to remove yourself from it. I was not comfortable talking with this person. I don’t trust them and I fear that they would try and twist my truth or tell me they are sorry and continue with the behavior. I had removed myself for a few years in this situation and felt discord thinking I would never go back.
I went back. When I did, I felt the same way again. 2 Peter 2 also tells us that you are a slave to whatever controls you. I won’t be controlled by feelings that leave me distraught. I can’t change the person causing me this pain, so I leave. I feel like I have the skills now to carry forward in this type of situation. This is where one can feel joy except in this case, I don’t yet because I have another lesson to learn. I am joyful in that I have learned how to confront the issue next time I have this experience with someone. But in this situation I have no trust. That is the part that I need God to reveal to me next. I now need to know how to leave someone without ever feeling guilty because I didn’t give them a chance to hear how and why what they did caused me animosity. But….I do believe in my heart that they do know. And I will never be sure. But I do know that God will reveal to me what I need to do. Forgiveness has always been there and much love for this person. I just can’t take this hardship any more. There were many times they crossed boundaries. Had I had the skills and knowledge to exercise my boundaries in a constructive way I would have. But frankly, I felt like I was already up against a defiant person.
So then I go on to read 2 Peter 2 and it says that when we “get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, we are worse off than before. It would be better to have never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the proof of this proverb, “A dog returns to its vomit. Proverbs 26:11 and another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” I was feeling the same feelings over again. I could not handle it! So the best thing for me to do was to leave. Clearly things had not changed.
I encourage all of us to ask for help! Understand that we are all sinners and that we all have a responsibility in our conduct. I am not perfect and I am trying to change my ways. The point here is that if ever any of you are feeling like you are being mistreated or in a situation that is causing you to sin – leave. Young readers, ask an adult to help you. Find someone you can trust and tell them!!! I am thankful that as I seek God’s instructions that he leads me in such a way that he does not want me to condemn anyone rather know the truth and follow his commands to help yourself from committing sin. That is where you can find freedom that is also referred to in 2 Peter.
There is a full reading in the Holy Bible. Anything you need to know about living out this life as a Christian is in there. We can only be perfect in our maturity level. Christ calls all of us believers to excel, rise above mediocrity and to mature in every way to become like him. I encourage you to be patient in learning what you are curious about. We can’t expect others to be perfect but we can recognize when environments are not healthy for us. Pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven!
May you find helpful information here and if I have misconstrued any of God’s Word, I pray that He will be your teacher in setting you straight or me straight. When we seek to understand His commands, we really do find freedom. I pray that I don’t trip anyone up from being a Christian. I confess that my behavior does not reflect that in which I strive to be like. I have much more to learn. I also know that I can walk beside this person that I have strife with and I vow that I would support them if ever they asked me to. Time does heal all wounds. I have been through many excruciating acts of forgiveness and this one is different from the others. I actually am thankful for this lesson and strife because I know it is only purifying my heart. But I encourage those with my story to be overcome with the truth so that you may at least try to live your life out according to which we are to conduct ourselves.
God will take care of us if we allow him to. I love the discipline I receive from him. I really do experience the freedom when I do. I hope that you are able to go in peace to love and serve the Lord! ~ Susan Husa