Part 1 of 7 – Outside the Box… Inside the Lines… Series
When Jesus taught us what it meant to be a Good Neighbor. He told the story of a man who was hurt, a man who helped, and two men who did nothing. The irony of Jesus’ story was that the man most likely to do nothing actually helped. The two men who should have been the ablest to help did nothing.
Luke 10:33-35 (NLT) “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
Life is so much more than just getting by. We need to help each other and we often need help from others. If we don’t have clear lines drawn to protect us from hurtful and abusive people, we will find ourselves in the shoes of the two men who did nothing. We cannot help others if controlling people are pushing us beyond the limits of our time, emotions, and finances.
Do Your Lines Limit or Release You?
Who or what draws your lines? If we are limited by people we FEAR, we will feel trapped. We can’t “walk on eggshells” day after day. If our life is limited by people we NEED, we will feel suffocated. Life is meant to be enjoyed, but the insecurity of believing that people are going to walk out on us will steal our very hope. Or, Maybe we feel as though there just isn’t enough time. Each day we find ourselves running out of time, money, or the ability to care. We all have limits, but who decides those limits?
Do those lines box you in or do they release you to reach even higher? Our lives are a “stewardship” which means they are not really ours but rather entrusted to us for a season. Our responsibility is to use our lives as wisely and beneficially as possible.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT) Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
You Have the Power to Change Your Life.
But not like you think…
Romans 7:15,19 (NLT) I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate… 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
But that’s the opposite of what you just said! It only seems that way because of our sinful desire for complete independence. Our power to change is “born again” with our admission and agreement regarding our own powerlessness. If deny our powerlessness, we are simply lying to ourselves.
1 John 1:8 (NLT) If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
We do not have the power in and of ourselves to change, but we do have the power to surrender to God and the truth about ourselves. We have the power to humble ourselves and ask for help from God and others.
When we release the “power” we don’t possess, we are free to discover our True Strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) Each time he (God) said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
You Be You.
Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT) Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
Take responsibility for you. Take a quick self-analysis. Where are you letting someone run over you? Is resentment beginning to surface somewhere in your life? Are there places that you feel disrespected? What are you dreading? Anger and resentment often indicate a place that is being taken from us rather than offered by us.
When we take responsibility for our part, we tend to experience more freedom. Viktor Frankl called it “responsible-ness”. He saw it as a way to “be” in the world. We often get stuck because things have happened to us that were not our fault. “Responsible-ness” understands that the fault is not the concern but rather who takes responsibility.
We cannot change what has happened to us or even how some people treat us, but we can decide our response. So “being you” isn’t about TAKING CONTROL of your life and talents. “Being You” is about TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for them.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – (excerpt, Serenity Prayer)
Talk about it…
- What are your first thoughts regarding today’s topic? Please share with the group.
- Do you ever feel like you are being “pushed” into things? What kind of feelings surface when this happens?
- Discuss some things for which you truly are responsible. Discuss some things for which you are responsible that you really shouldn’t be.
- Share a story of a time when something happened that wasn’t your fault, but it was still your responsibility?
- Discuss the story of the Good Samaritan. What other completely reasonable choices could he have made? Discuss the fact that he carried on with his business. What does that say about kindness, responsibility, and limits?
- Discuss the difference between controlling people and influencing people.
- Discuss the excerpt from the Serenity Prayer. How is this prayer helpful? Freeing?
- Is there anything in today’s topic that you would be excited to share with a friend?
Adapted from “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life” Cloud, Townsend” – Chapter 2 – What does a boundary look like?