Monday, December 3, 2012

The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers

Today's Unglued Blog Update
Another one of mostly my rewording & adding some of my own to what Lysa said. I just think she hits the nail right on the head!

So, the stuffer who builds barriers is one who keeps the peace by avoiding confrontation & pretending that everything is fine. Well, this hurts me, the other person, & the relationship. What seems like peace on the outside is actually the muffled roar of a barrier-building activity on the inside. Barriers shut down communication. When I determine that other people are safe, I label them (demanding, irresponsible, volatile, selfish, defensive, etc.). No matter what they do or don't do, this barrier label is the filter through which I process everything about them. Eventually, this relationship will shrivel up & die because it's been deprived of open communication, the life-giving oxygen that fuels good relationships.

What I need is boundaries, not barriers. Boundaries are simply clearly stated parameters that provide a safe structure for communication & the health of a relationship. The difference between boundaries & barriers is honest transparency. When I erect a barrier with a person, it's either because I'm afraid to be honest, tired o being honest & getting hurt, or feel like the relationship isn't worth the hard work honesty sometimes takes.

When I establish boundaries, I am brave enough to be honest but also compassionate enough to wrap the boundary in grace by clearly communicating the parameters of the relationship. Barriers set relationships on a regressive course that leads to isolation. Boundaries set relationships on a progressive course that leads to connection. The destructive isolation that happens with stuffers who build barriers doesn't limit itself to just one relationship in that person's life. It becomes an entrenched pattern that impacts many relationships, which is why it's so crucial to break the pattern. "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment" (Proverbs 18:1).

The most important thing I must do to communicate with graceful honesty & transparency is to identify what I really want. Then I have to determine how realistic or unrealistic that want is. If it's unrealistic, I may have to process it with the other person until we can agree on a solution that is realistic. I need to sit with Jesus & ask for a better perspective. My feelings should be indicators, not dictators. Prayerfully sitting with Jesus & naming what I really want will help me cut through the emotion & focus on a good solution. There's something to this process of thinking past the emotion & identifying what I really want. At least if I know what I'm after, I can be equipped to express my concerns with honesty, transparency, & grace.

All things are possible with God, but all things are not possible with people who refuse to be led by the Holy Spirit. I don't want to stuff & allow bitterness toward them to poison me. So how do I back away & not stuff? I acknowledge that I can control only myself. Therefore, I must shift my focus from trying to fix the other person & the situation to allowing God to reveal some tender truths to me. My job isn't to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue disrespectful or abusive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God in the way I act & respond to those people. when I'm trying to keep the peace, I am caring only for myself & spitting on the common good. This is an eye opener for me. I've had relationships that no longer exist because we are in different seasons of life OR there are far too many miles between us. But those times when I've said, I just won't bug that person any more because I'm too demanding in a friendship....I'm spitting on the common good. I've got to pray to God to help me (please pray for me)! I have recently (within the last 3-5 years) lost at least 2-4 relationships with people I considered to be good friends. I'm apparently the impossible & toxic person in the relationship. I must pray to God for help to change me & my toxic behaviors.

I am instructed by the apostle Paul, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:17-18). I can't control another person, but I can be careful with my actions. I can do what is right. I can only make this progress on behalf of myself. I can't compel other people into this kind of progress if they aren't willing to pursue peace with me. I can't ignore the obvious issues & hope things will somehow miraculously get better on their own. I have to get better. I have to take the necessary steps to keep my soul integrity intact. I have to pursue being the person God wants me to be regardless of how other people react.

It's never healthy to build a barrier & keep stuffing. But what about those times I stuff down only to have an eventual explosion of all I've pushed within? That's the second kind of stuffer: the one who collects retaliation rocks.....more on that in my next Unglued blog update.


  1. That was very good.....unfortunately many times the one who you would like to change, coerce, or beg into realizing what they are missing.....only wakes up and " sees the light " far to late,then they wonder why.....why does my child not want anything to do with me.....why does my wife not respect me....why do my loved ones have no time for me now? It could go on and on.

    You are so is crucial to find that content place to be between dealing with an individual who refuses to be led by the Holy Spirit and letting the Holy Spirit guide you in maintaining a love and respect for that person, while you wait on God to deal with their heart.

    The only way that is possible is to continually ask for the grace to accept where the Lord has you at this particular time in your life, and the ability to extend grace to the difficult person and grace to repel the root of bitterness that could so easily rear it's ugly head in your own heart.

    Great post Tasha

    1. Thanks Kim! But I'm just adding a little from me on what Lysa has said.


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