“Seven AM, the usual morning line-up, Start on the chores and sweep till the floor’s all clean, Polish and wax, do laundry and mop and shine up, Sweep again, and by then, it’s like seven fifteen” – When Will My Life Begin, from Disney’s Tangled
It’s a cute song, but for many people, the Disney song describes their life to a tea.
There is always another thing to do. Someone needs help with that. Everyone is asking for your help. The To-Do list never gets any shorter. The chaos, the frustration, the endless go, go, go that wears on your soul day after day. Most of us want to throw our hands and hair up in the air in exhaustion and exasperation just like Rapunzel does at the end of the song.
There is no handsome prince to fix everything. A CGI Zachary Levi is not coming to save you, CGI Mandy Moore. But that doesn’t mean that you are stuck.
What you need are Boundaries, not walls; clear markers as to what is yours to deal with, and what is not.
Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend come back with an updated and expanded edition of Boundaries, tackling the issues and stronghold that keep you from saying yes and no when they are needed. With an additional chapter on boundaries for the digital age, Boundaries stays up to date while still being a timeless tool to a better life.
Boundaries lays out the reasons and problems that many of us struggle with, knowingly or unknowingly. With simple to understand and simple to implement ideas, Cloud and Townsend share from their vast wealth of knowledge and experience on how to help you take control of your life.
And not just to be in charge of your schedule, but how to properly situate your life that you will have the opportunities and resources to love well those in your life. Family, friends, even the things you are passionate about will all be better for you putting up boundaries, or taking charge of those boundaries, in your life.
This 1992 classic, updated and expanded for 2017, is still a treasure trove of great information. Whether it is for you, your house, your business, or your church, everyone will benefit from you taking Boundaries and applying them to your life.
“Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom.”
I didn’t realize that I had boundary issues. I knew that I needed to work on some personal and relational issues, but I never would have said that my ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or realizing who was responsible to own what was the problem.
I’m sure that a lot of reader will start this book with similar thoughts. Or they want to know how to impose boundaries on their children or spouse, and learn that there are ways to do that, but there is so much work that needs to be done in yourself first.
What Cloud and Townsend have to say is phenomenal. The ease with what they speak about complicated emotional, spiritual, and social issues makes the problems of our minds, hearts, and souls so much easier to see, and understand how to step towards fixing. Both authors are educated, licensed psychologists, experts in leadership training and consulting, making them separately completely qualified to talk about such things.
But by combining their voices, experience, and knowledge, readers are given the cream of the crop chapter after chapter. Each step of Boundaries is written with great love and a desire to see people take proper control of their lives, proper responsibility of what is theirs.
This doesn’t just apply to the overworked professionals or high level business types. Cloud and Townsend start their first chapter with an illustrative story about a parent, a married women with struggles and issues that people across the financial, economic, age, gender, and spiritual spectrum can identify with.
Boundaries is for anyone and everyone that wants to take control of their lives, learning when to say yes, learning how to say no, and doing it all with the knowledge that love doesn’t stop when either is said.
This is the updated 2017 edition of the 1992 book, so the addition of a “Boundaries for the digital age” was is need. And what is great about this new chapter, it isn’t out of step with reality.
Often I’ve found that additions to books that address technology and Christian life skew towards the negative; technology is always hindering your walk with God, it’s interrupting your prayer life, if you are on Instagram you are sliding down the steep hill into Hell. But Cloud and Townsend are so far from saying that, that this chapter was a breathe of fresh air.
Parents, or couples, that are dealing with screen time, personal cellphones for teenagers, and such issues should definitely grab an updated Boundaries and dive into that new chapter.
“In the physical world, boundaries are easy to see. Fences, signs, walls, masts with alligators…they give the same message; THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS…In the spiritual world, boundaries are just as real…”
Updated and expanded makes this edition of Boundaries even more relent and needed for our technology bound generation. With powerful and biblically found insights on how to give healthy and loving ‘yes’s and ‘no’s, this book still stands as a staple for those trying to get a handle on their lives. Christian or not, you will fill find some much freedom when you put in the hard work, reading and living with Boundaries.
I give Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend a 5 out of 5-star rating.