Enabling or Helping

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself.
Enabling is doing for someone what he could and should be doing for himself.

Enabling is all about boundary issues. It’s natural to want to protect those we love, to help them when they’re down and to offer our assistance.  When is it enough?

Women experience frustration when they attempt to live many lives - their own, their children’s, their spouses’, their coworkers’, their friends’, their aging parents’. We overlook enabling gestures by saying, “But I’m only trying to help.” We make excuses like these:
·         “It’s just so hard for kids today.”
·         “If I don’t help, who will?”
·         “It makes me feel good to do those things.”
·         “No one understands my son like I do.”
·         “He just hasn’t found himself yet.”

What should we do?
We need to develop discernment to help us know the difference between helping and enabling
Realize that God expects us to be good managers of his resources.
It is irresponsible to endlessly give without requiring accountability.

Let God work.
We often limit God when we continue to rescue others or intervene in their lives. We learn by suffering from the consequences of our decisions so when enablers intervene, they allow others to by-pass this learning process. When people are too comfortable, they don’t have a motivation to change and the enabling cycle continues.

 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way”. Hebrews 12:11

Practice tough love. Grow a backbone.
It all comes down to saying “no” when we find ourselves doing things for someone who could and should be doing it for himself.  Saying “no” is hard, but setting boundaries is healthy for both the enabler and the enabled. Just say, “no!”

God’s Discernment
God expects us to help others but he wants us to be wise. We can pray for
God’s discernment when it comes to how much and how often to help someone. Discernment in how much to help is finding the balance in Paul’s words:

For each will have to bear his own load. Galatians 6:5

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Galatians 6:2-3

While the Bible doesn’t use the word “enabler,” it has much to say about personal responsibility.

 “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

 “…if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Let us pray for God’s wisdom about our own personal responsibility and not interfering with other’s personal responsibility.

Communicating Boundaries

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Authors of Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend tell us boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out.  

Cloud and Townsend remind us that God sets the boundaries of his “yard.” We know what he permits in the “yard.” He tells us what he allows and doesn’t allow, what he likes and doesn’t like. We were created in God’s own image. God wants us to develop our own boundaries so that we can live in peace and fellowship with him and with others. Boundaries are our property lines in all areas of our life:  physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Setting boundaries brings health to our relationships. When we have mature boundaries, we can move steadily and peacefully in our faith walk.

Consider these questions to determine if you have some boundary issues.
Are there people in your life who consistently call upon you to do things they should do for themselves? Does the bad behavior of others have a negative effect on your feelings and your own behavior? Do you allow others’ moods to dictate your level of happiness, sadness, etc.? Do you sacrifice your plans in order to please others? Do you allow others to blame you when their plans don’t work out?

Having boundaries helps us to cultivate a healthy self-image, maintain balance, and develop appropriate intimate relationships. Unhealthy boundaries cause us deep emotional pain, affect our self-worth, and cause us to become resentful of others.

It’s never too late to set boundaries, but we need to become introspective about what we will and will not allow in our relationships. God will give us the wisdom to deal with our boundaries when we seek him.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

The most basic boundary-setting word is NO and the Bible is clear about using this word.

Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

It is important to communicate with people the boundaries you have set without making blaming statements. We tend to resort to statements such as, “You make me so mad,” “You never consider my feelings,” “You drive me crazy.” These statements are intended to shame and make the other person look bad and usually end up in a blaming game. Consider using the tried and true formula below when you need to communicate how another person’s behavior affects you and what you intend to do to set healthy boundaries. It is helpful in a variety of circumstances from a child baiting you into an argument or an adult abusing your generosity.

Formula for Communicating Boundaries
First, it is very important for us to learn to communicate about how another person's behavior is affecting us - without making blaming "you" type of statements.  We communicate how we feel with these 3 statements.

When you . . . . .
I feel . . . . .
I want . . . .
Next, set the boundary. This is vital to learning to love our self, and to communicating to others that we have worth.
There are basically three parts to a boundary.  The first two are setting the boundary - the third is what we will do to defend that boundary.
If you - a description of the behavior you find unacceptable (again being as descriptive as possible.)
I will - a description of what action you will take to protect and take care of yourself in the event the other person violates the boundary.
If you continue this behavior - a description of what steps you will take to protect the boundary that you have set.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The purpose of Sabbath is not simply to renew ourselves so that we can be more productive during the rest of the week. It is a time set aside to enjoy God and the life he has given us. It is a time when we are set free from anything that keeps us bound up—or maybe I should say wound up!

Working in ministry means that Sunday is rarely a Sabbath day of rest for me. However, Sunday afternoons are the highlight of my week. It is the time my extended family sets aside to have Sunday lunch and to visit with each other. It’s also important for me to make time during the week to escape from work responsibilities and relax thanking God for the many blessings I have.

At Sabbath rest we don’t simply rest the body, we also rest our minds and souls.
Psalm 91: 1&2 tells us He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

For quality Sabbath rest for our mind, body, and soul we need to experience quiet.  Where can we find privacy and silence?

England’s Kind George V was asked what he would do if he could do anything he pleased. “He replied that he would take his biggest car and drive and drive as far as it would take him. There he would find a little farmhouse, and in the farmhouse there would be a small, clean whitewashed room, furnished only with a bed and an open fire. He would lie down on the bed, and lying so, alone in the small, clean room, he would look at the glowing coals of the fire, and the flames playing blue about them –and so he would rest. For once in a royal lifetime he would rest.”

Where do you go to find the peace and quiet that will allow you to fully experience Sabbath rest?

The Sabbath rest is an opportunity to rest our souls. Jesus urges us to come to him, the Lord of Rest, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).

In this passage we see that Jesus draws us to him so that he can carry for us the assaults of the world. When we feel weary, tired, put upon, frustrated, sad, stressed, he is there to give us rest. He wants us to find time in the week to just rest in him because he knows how we struggle throughout the week. Corrie ten Boom described this rest, “Don’t wrestle, just nestle.”

The Sabbath rest is an opportunity for us to contemplate. We consider the things that keep us from moving forward in our faith, the issues that keep us from having full communion with our Heavenly Father. Fractured relationships are often the greatest detractor from rest. Poor relationships in the home, with friends, at work, at church, in the neighborhood, or with God keep us from experiencing God fully. When strife enters, rest flees. We need to deal with unresolved conflicts in order to experience emotional rest. The Sabbath is a good time to consider forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Sabbath rest is a time to experience joy.  After creating the world, God looked around and saw that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God did not just cease from his labor; he stopped and enjoyed what he had made. Isn’t it joyful to take time to savor our lives, to enjoy the fruits of our labors? The whole point of Sabbath is to enjoy what God has done in us, through us, and for us.
Sabbath rest doesn’t have to be filled with time spent in total silence. Relaxation and freedom from work can mean a lot of different things. How can you experience joy and praise God?  We can take a nap, visit with family, enjoy a meal, take a walk, read a book.

Another purpose of Sabbath is to recharge us. What recharges you? If you are an introverted, task-oriented person, you may be drained from encounters with people throughout the week. You might find it relaxing and energizing to spend time alone. If you are an extroverted, people person, you may have spent all of your energy in doing task oriented, draining details. You will want to spend time building relationships.
 Your personality traits will give you clues about what refreshes your spirit. Remember to live in those strengths.

What is favorite way to enjoy the Sabbath?

Frameworks for Prayer

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Frameworks for Prayer
Prayer can’t be reduced to a formula. However, frameworks for prayer can be very helpful as guidelines and reminders to pray.
Breath Prayers
Breath prayers are those sayings, verses, or sentence prayers of just a few syllables that have great meaning to us. These are short prayers that we breathe throughout the day to fit whatever circumstance we encounter. One of her favorites is “Into thy hands.” For example, when you are afraid of an upcoming surgery, pray “Into thy hands.”  When you don’t want a  family member to suffer, pray, “Into thy hands.” When faced with an unpleasant co-worker, pray “Show me this person’s heart.”  In doing daily chores, pray “This task is for you, Lord.”

These are not “vain repetitions” that Jesus warned about in Matthew 6:7. Breath prayers are the groanings of the heart. Breath prayers don’t replace our time of prayer and devotion, but they are quick ways to keep connected to our Heavenly Father through the day. Other prayers -
“Turn her/his heart toward you.”
“Turn my heart toward her/him.”
“Bless ___________through me.”
“Here I am, Lord.”
An old southern favorite I’ve prayed for years, “Lord, have mercy,” could work in just about any situation!

Flash Prayers
In his book, Prayer, the Mightiest Power in the World, Frank Lauback, wrote that he had a habit of “shooting” prayers at people as he passed them. He called them “flash prayers” and bombarded passers-by with prayers of love and good will. He proudly swished love and prayers all over the place. These flash prayers send out positive power and good will that passes between humans.
Birthday Prayers
Pray for your children or other family members whenever their birthdays come around the clock. For example, if your son’s birthday is February 6, say a quick prayer for him if you glance up and notice the clock says 2:06.

Picture Prayers
A simple photograph can be a great reminder to pray for others. When your eyes land on a photo, take a moment to pray.

Stick to It
Place a sticky note on a mirror or any strategic place as a prayer reminder.

Five Finger Prayer
Thumb – Pray for those nearest you such as your spouse, children, siblings, family, friends and co-workers.
Pointing Finger -  Pray for those who instruct, heal and minister such as teachers, health care professionals, pastors and church workers.
Middle/Highest Finger – Pray for leaders - locally, nationally and internationally
Fourth/Weakest Finger – Pray for those sick and in need.
Fifth/Smallest Finger – Pray for your needs.

ACTS Prayer
A – Adoration. We begin a prayer by acknowledging and praising God as the all-knowing, all-powerful God. He is the Good Shepherd, King of Kings, Holy One, Lord of Lords, Creator. On and on we can go. Showing our adoration brings us joy and honors God.
C – Confession. After thinking of God’s greatness, we focus on our own weaknesses and frailties. We confess our sin and ask forgiveness. Yes, we name them and ask him to make us aware of our sins.
T – Thanksgiving. Jesus willingly gave his life as payment for my sin. Now it’s time to thank him for the many blessings of life: family, friends, health, job, salvation, church, etc. A thankful heart transforms us and changes our attitude as we face the challenges of the day.
S – Supplication. After thanking God for all of our blessings, we then turn to praying for the needs of those around us, our world, and the outer world.

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