Recently, on a women’s retreat with my church, I listened to a fantastic teaching on the importance of creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. It was a simple overview, to be sure, as the topic of boundaries actually warrants a week-long conference – but, even so, I found this hour-long entry level talk VERY eye-opening.
As the speaker began, I turned to a dear friend and asked, “Do you have a pen?”
She dug in her purse for one and went to hand it to me.
“No,” I said. “I just wanted to make sure YOU had one.”
(Don’t freak-out over my directness towards her. We often discuss boundaries.)
Only, as the speaker got into the nitty-gritty of it, I realized that it was me, myself, and I who really needed this refresher course. I sat listening, while silently muttering, “Thank you, God” as she spoke life-giving truth into MY life, as well as my girlfriend with the purse full of pens.
As a blogger, internet marketer, and someone who has a presence on social media due to my online business, I. Am. Out. There.
I share opinions. Motivational tips. Bold statements. Links. Tough challenges. Products. Articles that I find informative and worthwhile. Seldom is there “gray matter” in my world. As this same friend of mine once stated, “I’m in my 40’s, I have no interest in playing games any longer. You wanna know me? Here’s who I am,” I too, feel the same. I like what I like. I share what I share. Those who know me – KNOW ME. Those who think they know me – do not.
Here’s where “hula hooping” comes into play.
I may have the ability to communicate with an enormous number of people via my blogs, twitter, and facebook, but the masses are not necessarily in my “sphere of influence”: the people who love me unconditionally, challenge me, appreciate my honesty (and I theirs), celebrate with me, cry with me, pray with and for me, caution me, speak directly to me, fellowship with me (offline), show interest in my interests (even if they aren’t personally interested for themselves), and are “lifers” – quite simply, those who have proven to me that they are trustworthy and know me well enough to have my best interests at heart.
It’s a small group.
Until the recent boundaries talk at the retreat, I thought I had that area under control. I realized, however, that the opposite is true. My boundaries were fuzzy. Mainly, because, as my husband puts it, “You have a conscience.”
I’m glad I’m more to him than just a pretty face.
Yes, I do have a conscience. I feel this moral imperative to insure that reconciliation be the goal between both God and human, AND human and human (which is VASTLY more difficult, IMHO.) Here’s where my hula hoop gets crowded with people who, well, don’t belong there.
Often, in my feeble attempt to help people get along, (or reconcile a relationship myself), I drag them into my hula hoop even though they shouldn’t actually have access. When that happens, there is absolutely NO ability to move.
It’s gotten awfully crowded in there. It gets loud in a crowd, and hot. There are misunderstandings about who said or did what, and assumptions about the meaning of those statements/actions. Nobody can really have a good face to face conversation. It’s uncomfortable. Tight. Crowd-control is dangerous. Someone gets hurt. A foot gets stepped on. An elbow in the back. This is not the place to have a deep conversation. Period.
Well, friends, I recently made some very simple changes to protect the integrity of my personal sphere.
It was hard. Seriously difficult. Mainly because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But, after speaking with George and another friend, I finally took some steps that I’ve always known (deep down) would need to happen.
So I did what I needed to do.
I don’t need to share the details here. BUT, I can encourage YOU to take a look around at who you are allowing into the small space of your hula hoop. You can’t control others, but you CAN control who has major influence in your life. Do you feel stuck? Can’t move? Unable to turn and get some awesome life-momentum going?