Category Archives: establishing boundaries in our life

Ridding Up Is Hard to Do

In Neil Sedaka’s 1975 hit, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” we hear the misery of lost love:

Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

I beg of you don’t say goodbye
Can’t we give our love another try?
Come on, baby, let’s start anew
Cause breaking up is hard to do

Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

“Ridding up” is defined as a Midwestern idiom, meaning to get rid of, clean up, to empty. I’ve never done much ridding up. I tend to collect things.

In some ways, for those of us who collect things (a politically correct way of saying hoarders), “ridding up” can feel like lost love. We know we can’t do without that which we are about to throw away. The minute we dispose of it, we’ll need it. Why throw something away which is perfectly good? Etc, etc, etc. And after we finally release that object, with those sticky fingers that just won’t let go, aren’t we tempted to pull it back out of the waste?

Well—you knew this was coming—I’ve been forced into ridding up. We are moving to another house. And I have lived (and collected) in our current house for 28 years. That’s long enough to fall in love with a lot of junk. But some of it has to go. Wow, it’s tough.

As I was working on this thankless task, it hit me that ridding up was actually part of the Plexus Principle. All the junk I never use anymore is actually part of the bonds that tie me to the rack. These objects take up space, require maintenance, use financial resources, and interfere with the plexus that I want to create.

In I Peter 1:13, we are instructed to “gird up the loins of your mind…” Now “gird up your loins” refers to lifting up the long loose tunic and tying it around the waist in preparation for work or battle, turning that dress into shorts. Some translations of I Peter 1:13 refer to “clearing up” the mind, “getting ready for action.”

So, in a sense, ridding up is girding up, preparing ourselves for the important tasks, unencumbered by a long flowing tunic that could drag us down. Snipping the bonds, tying them up into a plexus of our choosing. The problem for me is, I never liked shorts. Of course I don’t wear a dress either. Isn’t there some compromise?

So how about you? What things do you keep that are getting in the way of your plexus? What do you need to rid up?

Good Business Advice

Platinum or Fool’s Gold

John 6:26 – Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. You are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”

You know the Golden Rule, and you’ve probably heard the Platinum Rule (Treat others the way they want to be treated.)

But have you heard the business advice – give customers more than they expect?

Now, I wonder. Is this actually good advice if what you are “giving” your customers is service? If you are in the service industry, you have probably noticed that when you give someone more than usual, he/she will expect it the next time. And that customer will continue to want more each subsequent time.

My wife taught me years ago (after knocking myself out for years trying to follow the above rules, then noticing the lack of appreciation, even demands for more…and right now…and preferably for free…that it’s not a good idea to start doing something for someone if you don’t want to continue to do it in the future. They will expect it. Then they will resent it when you don’t. That’s human nature. We all have that tendency to become part of the entitlement community. We deserve it.

Even Jesus grew weary in his service. “You’ve only come out here for a magic show and for a free meal.”

So, is the advice on business (give them more) and the Platinum Rule (give them what they want) truly platinum, or is it fool’s gold? If you want to live joyfully and not get mired in resentment, I suggest you decide what is “right” and fair. And learn your boundaries.

Does that word sound familiar? Yes, that’s the title of a book that discusses the Biblical basis for limits. And those limits can keep you from becoming resentful and less than joyful.

I’ve made all those mistakes. And once you start down that road it’s hard to change. So save yourself years of grief. Decide where your boundaries should be, then stick to them…joyfully.

What areas of resentment have you allowed to creep into your life because you were “overgenerous” at some point in the past?

Remnants of the Rack

I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time, not even time to get the important things done.

Maybe I try to do too much. My wife tells me I’m manic. She’s probably right. But as I review the things that are important in my life, the things I want to be part of my plexus, I find that I don’t have time for many of them. “Experts” tell us that if we truly want to do something badly enough, we will find time for it. What that really means is we will have to let go of other things of lesser importance. But why are some of those things so hard to relinquish?

I feel like I can see that wonderful plexus beckoning me to come relax in the comfort of its hammock. But as I try to climb off the rack that has imprisoned me, I find bonds that I just can’t cut. Why? Are they true obligations that I must tend to or feel irresponsible? Am I still stuck in the business of my occupation that demands more than its fair share of time? Am I doing things for others that I don’t really want to do? Are there still people invading my boundaries, and I just can’t keep them out?

So, how do I change things? I certainly don’t have all the answers. And I haven’t followed my own advice very well to snip those bonds. But I am starting to identify the remnants of the rack that remain. And I am making plans to free myself. I need to slow down in business and look for models that don’t require so much of my time. I still need to learn to say no more often. I need to sell possessions that are a time trap. I need to give up responsibility for organizing activities.

Will I succeed? I don’t know. Just as breaking out of prison brings freedom, there is a high chance of getting caught and again being imprisoned. So there is a skill in remaining free, or at least an ongoing effort to remain so. Hopefully the allure of the plexus will be a motivation to break free and remain free. I know it’s motivating me. And I can’t wait to climb into that hammock.

What are the bonds that are holding you in a life you don’t want? What plans have you made to change things? Or what are you doing already to change things?

Finding Your Plexus

When you look at the empty hammock above, you see that I’m not in my plexus…not yet. I’m working at it. And we all have to work at it. The natural tendency is for our lives to flow downstream, along the path of least resistance. And if we strive to arrange our lives into a plexus of our making, we will get resistance.

My mother died a year ago, and what I write next, I do so with all respect. But my mother knew how to pull my strings. She could make me feel guilty to manipulate my behavior. Every time I visited her she had a list of things for me to do. And if I didn’t do them, I felt guilty. I don’t know why she could do that to me better than anyone else, but she could. Maybe it had something to do with training me from an infant.

Anyway, after I read BOUNDARIES, I offered her my copy for her to read. I wondered how she would take it. Would she recognize her ability to control others? Would she be offended? I returned the next week to visit. I couldn’t wait to hear her thoughts on the book. She slid it across the table to me, the page marker indicating she had read very little. The only thing she said was, “Who ever gave you that book in the first place?”

She recognized that I was trying to establish boundaries. That did not suit her purposes. I never did establish boundaries with my mother. And most of the people in your life who wish to invade your boundaries will not be happy when you try to establish them, either. So the path of least resistance is to become the tortured on the rack.

It takes work to find your plexus. It takes work to make it happen. It may take a lifetime. We’ll discuss in future posts how we go about determining what our plexus should be. In the meantime, what are your dreams for your life? How do they align with your talents, with the gifts that God has given you? How would you use that dream life, your plexus, to serve God and His children?