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Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

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Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we aren’t. Boundaries have an effect on all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us decide who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Author — Incessantly, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they put out of your mind their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Don’t seem to be boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I imagine setting boundaries?

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.
In order to call themselves good Christians, many people have drawn overly flexible boundaries (unwilling to say no, at all times accommodating others’ needs) or overly rigid boundaries (to the point of being righteous and judgmental). Psychologists and inspirational speakers Cloud and Townsend show readers how to set reasonable boundaries in order to follow the true path of Christianity. This book has become immensely popular, most likely because it makes personal boundaries easier to define and is filled with spiritual purpose. Some cautions: the format can be overly self-helpish for such a complex discussion and the authors at one point imply that judicious spankings may be an acceptable form of setting boundaries with children. On the other hand, many Christians will probably find themselves grateful for this biblical context of boundaries. –Gail Hudson

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