You awake before the alarm sounds and lay there basking in the silence of early morning. Soon the stillness is broken by the jarring sound of the forgotten alarm and you realize your few moments of stolen reflection are gone. Your day has begun. Not the day you want, but the day you committed to yesterday. The events of which you have neither energy nor desire to tackle. The things that have entangled you like weeds creeping around your ankles and up your legs dragging you down and filling you with dread. Why did you say “Yes” when you wanted to say “No”?
I am no better than you. I too grapple with the desire to please, to take on more than I want, need or can handle; to “prove” that I am capable. But whom am I trying to please? What is the value of taking a burden that is not mine to bear? Have I not noticed that there are mental, physical and spiritual boundaries which when defied cause me to experience unnecessary stress? But wait, it was that stress that I was trying to avoid by saying “Yes” when I should have said “No”.
The simple yet profound words “Yes” and “No” are freeing. They express the choices we make in determining what and who we allow to influence us as well as our influence on others (Matthew 5:7). Jesus used these words very effectively; particularly in times when he needed to refresh himself (Luke 4). It is in setting physical, emotional and mental boundaries (just as Jesus did) that we project ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others. When we communicate our thoughts and feelings directly and honestly with others we open the door to developing authentic relationships and preserving our integrity.
There are times when saying “No” can be one of the best ways to express self-love, such as when it violates our boundaries. Saying” No” alert others that they have been or are about to be disrespectful or act inappropriately. This powerful word allows you to be yourself without subjecting yourself to the will of others. Having boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others.
As you carve a few moments out of your day to reflect, focus on this thought:
If boundaries are important to God who made you with a unique identity, values, gifts and talents, shouldn’t they also be important to you?