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Walls and boundaries

I’m not sure what to do with the idea that a title and beginning to a blog post is one of my biggest struggles right now. Of all the things I have to write about, I’m a little confused why the beginning of this post held me in check for 10 minutes.

So much has happened over the last two weeks. Some great, some not. I’ll fill you in on some of it. I went to a conference in Southern California last week, so it wasn’t possible for me to sit down and contemplate all the things I was experiencing. Although, after talking with my counselor, that may have been exactly what I should have done.

First though, in my counseling session this week, I discovered that I don’t set up boundaries very well. I suppose I should say I don’t set up boundaries that I’m aware of. I discovered that one of the reasons I don’t react well in certain situations is because unspoken walls and boundaries have been crossed. It seems to me that I should know that…I think. When the counselor told me that this is what I’m experiencing I wanted to say duh, I know that, but I didn’t know that. I had never considered the idea that I unknowingly put up boundaries that people are not allowed to cross. Walls, yes. I get that part. The boundaries thing though, that’s different to me. Unknowingly punishing people that cross invisible lines that I’m subconsciously guarding? How bizarre is that? Apparently, though, when they do cross them, it’s going to get rough for somebody.

This idea of boundaries got me thinking about the walls that I have built up in my life, and then to wonder why I built them in the first place. It’s obvious that I have deep seated hurts in my heart. I know that. She didn’t have to tell me about those things. I can see the outlines of them when I look deep inside, not enough to know what they are exactly, just that they’re there, waiting to be discovered all over again.

I believe these hurts cause me – cause us all – to build up “anti-hurt” walls so that it never happens again. That’s natural, and sad. I regularly meet with people that have so many walls up, it’s impossible for anyone to really know who they are on the inside. The only thing anyone knows about them is the facade they allow to be seen. I recognize it because I’m good at that part.

Here’s some of what I have realized about myself and some of the people I care about: we have monster hurts in our past that live in our present. These hurts prevent us from being fully known because they remind us of the damage people are capable of doing to us. So, instead of believing that something could be better, we live in the past and regret our inability to fully open ourselves to the present that we want so badly. We see people being loved and we want that, but the fear of being hurt again is so big and so real that we turn and quietly walk away. We want to love, but allowing someone to love us back is such a scary thought. How do we recover from past hurts without the potential of being hurt again? Is that risk even worth it?

I know I need to love better. I know I need to allow myself to be loved better. It’s as simple as that. It’s as scary as that.

At the conference this week, I was most looking forward to hearing from Mike Foster. He runs an organization called People of the Second Chance. Mike spoke about this idea that, as people, we have a tendency to play negative messages about ourselves. All day long, this mixtape of insecurities and failures runs through our minds, causing us to sink deeper and deeper into a pit of depression. It prevents us from living out our calling and becoming who we are supposed to be. It resonated so big with where I am right now.

Mike made this statement about struggling – “When you are struggling, raising your hand and asking for help is one of the most courageous things you can do as a leader.” If you know me at all, you know that this is when I fell apart. I have struggled really hard with the idea that I shouldn’t tell anyone what’s going on in my life.  I debate regularly whether I should just build up the facade and make sure that the walls are in place. But you know what? Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could anymore. I’m too tired. I’m so tired of the fight.

Mike wrapped up his portion of the talk with these things, and I think we all need to be reminded of them.

  1. You are loved more than you can ever know.
  2. Everything is going to be okay.
  3. God is real. His grace is real. He loves you just the way you are.

Let’s spend more time this week reminding people how important and loved they are. If we’re all doing this, then surely it will come back to us as well, right? If that happens, maybe the boundaries will fall away, the walls will come down, and we will finally be known.

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