Temporary Christmas boundaries
Setting temporary Christmas boundaries is important, and setting boundaries is important at other times as well.
We received some bad news Sunday. A dear friend of ours is having bladder cancer surgery today. This was out of the blue. It doesn’t look good. But here’s the kicker. His wife had throat cancer twelve years ago. When we met them, she had just reached her five-year mark of recovery.
They have a strong faith, and we have had some great discussions. Sometimes we good-naturedly argue. They are Calvinist, and we are not. But it’s always fruitful. We respect each other’s opinions and know they love the Lord. They feel the same way about us. It’s been a great friendship.
This post is about boundaries.
Not permanent ones but temporary ones we need to implement for specific reasons. They are not brick walls but more like the open fence above. We see the boundary, but we also see the light through the boundary.
We were blown away when we received the news about our friend’s condition. I so wanted to call her, but she wasn’t taking any calls. She had her notifications silenced, so I texted her. But I get it. When my husband had a heart attack and subsequent open-heart surgery, I was overwhelmed with all the calls and people who wanted information. I remember one day in particular.
We were sitting in the waiting room, and the noise and conversation among all the people sitting there was too much. I had to get away and be by myself. I left and found the small prayer room in the hospital for some time, gathering my thoughts and letting God get me centered.
We need centering and boundaries provide that.
Over the few days, I took things in hand. I knew my mission and became my husband’s personal watchdog. I allowed only family members in to visit him, and then only for a few short minutes. A couple from our church showed up the second day after his surgery. The second day!
I saw them at the door and asked them who they were. When they told me they went to our church, I was amazed. I had never seen them before, and I was there every Sunday and on Wednesday evenings as I was the choir director. I told them only family was allowed to visit. They were nice enough and left.
Some people know no boundaries unless they are set for them.
Temporary boundaries serve a purpose
Boundaries are good, and we are the only ones who know where they should be and when. My friend knows the boundaries she needs to place around herself for these few days. She knows what she needs to do for her husband and family and, most importantly, for herself. Just like I did.
Boundaries at Christmas
I share this because the Christmas season is coming. I was talking to someone yesterday, and they shared how they knew a young single mother with two elementary children. She is divorced, so there is her husband’s new family that has been added to her obligations, his new wife’s parents, etc. The young woman’s parents are divorced, so there are two extra families there. There are way too many demands on her time. I hope she learns to set some boundaries.
Now, for some people, none of this presents a problem. They love the chaos and busyness. I wish I were like that, but I’m certainly not. For those people, boundaries are not necessary. In fact, they are the types we might need to set boundaries for! But most of us need some calm during the holidays, especially Christians. We want to savor the season, the meaning, the impact, and the inspiration. We want to savor the season, not gulp it down.
There are many Bible verses that speak about setting limits, even if the word boundary isn’t used. but there are boundaries implied, if not exactly called that. Even Jesus placed boundaries. Think of the times the gospels mentioned how Jesus left the crowd to get away, sometimes to pray, yes, but sometimes to just get away. He even left the disciples to be alone.
But there are ways to do Set Chrismas boundaries.
We do it kindly.
Temporary boundaries don’t remain forever. We must remember that.
Let your loved ones know what we are doing. We don’t always know how they will respond, but if we erect those boundaries the right way, it will make it easier for them to accept.
But these are all temporary boundaries for temporary situations. What about permanent boundaries? That’s a whole different story. More about that tomorrow.
Think it through.
If you are feeling overly stressed because of all the demands being placed on you, you need to take time and think through everything. Only you can decide what is too much for you. If you carefully and prayerfully consider what you want your holidays to look like, you need to start now. There is no reason to be obstinate or rude.
There’s no reason to say, “Well, I’m doing Christmas MY way this year. Yada, Yada, Yada.”
Absolutely that is not what I’m suggesting. Think through why you feel the way you do. More than likely, it’s NOT other people doing as much as it is how YOU are reacting. Don’t set up boundaries for others when you haven’t thought it through.
Pray about it
I really believe that thoughtful and heartfelt prayer is the answer to Holiday chaos. We can pray about it all, from the simplest to the most complicated. We find that after praying, things just seem to become clearer. We think better. We even plan better.Tweet
I hope you are thinking now about the Christmas season and how you want to spend it while still loving and honoring those in your life.
God bless, and have a great day.