We are doing a series called “Boundaries – when to say yes, how to say no, to take control of your life.” It is based on a book by the same name by Dr. Cloud and Townsend. I feel this book literally saved my life twelve years ago. I struggled with trying to do too much as if my self- worth depended on how busy I was. Can anyone relate?
When Niki and I got married I was a Youth Minister, managing a ranch, teaching Drivers Ed and taking a full class load at Seminary. With Niki’s encouragement we moved to Fort Worth to get away, focus on our marriage and my school. Surely I would not ever take on too much again? : )
Wishful thinking! A year later as the pastor in Eagle Pass, Texas I took on way too much. In addition to teaching Sunday school, doing the Sunday morning sermon, Sunday night teaching , the Wednesday night teaching, plus visit all members and lead the church. I thought I had to do more. There was no Children’s Ministry outside of Sunday morning so I began a Sunday afternoon ministry. We worked on a Children’s Musical and I took them to Children’s Camp. At Children’s Camp they asked me to be the director and plan next year’s camp for 20 churches. “YES!”
There was no youth ministry, so I started something for the youth and took them to camp twice a year. The hospital asked me to be a volunteer chaplain, “YES!” The local radio station asked if I wanted to do a Sunday morning program: “YES!” Our association of churches asked me to be the Christian Life Director. “Why YES!” I was doing weddings and funerals for people I didn’t even know. Need something? Just call Pastor Darrell. I was the village idiot!
The bottom began to fall out and I was only 30 years old. Our church was going to sponsor a soccer team. The director said it would sure mean a lot if I could coach it. “Why YES.” About that time someone thought it would be a good idea for us to start a Christian School out of our church and for me to be the director. I actually considered it, even though I was burning out. “I’ve got to help people right?” so I thought.
About that time God led me to the book BOUNDARIES. (I think Niki put it in my truck!) It was an audio book and I listened to it on the way to a meeting in Uvalde. I learned that it was not unchristian to say, “No.” Even to legitimate need. I needed to realize that I was human and I would not be in the ministry two months longer unless I paced myself. I couldn’t please everyone in the community, everyone at the hospital, in the association and especially at my church. It’s such slavery. I can only please God. God doesn’t want me dead by age 31.
Jesus left some people unhealed, he left some needs unmet. He pleased God, not everyone else. “I can’t please everyone.” That was a hard realization. You ought to say that to yourself every now and then. “I can’t please everyone. I have limits.” Would you be honest enough to say that? “I can’t please everyone. I have limits.”
If you struggle with Boundaries like I did, (and still do!) then this series is for you.
Here’s to healthy boundaries in 2011. Darrell
For more about The Ridge Fellowship or Darrell Koop, go to www.ridgefellowship.com