Matthew 5:37 – “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
All of us want to be successful in life. We want a career that is fulfilling and that creates a sustainable lifestyle. We want relationships and family connections that are warm and intimate. We want to give back in service to the world in some way. Yet so often, we find ourselves stuck, in getting from where we are, to where we want to be.
If you have found yourself stuck instead of successful in some area of life, it is likely that there is some sort of a problem in your being free to make the choices you need to make. That is, you may not be executing the right boundaries to help you move forward. When you set healthy boundaries in the right way, really good things can happen. Here are three tips to help you move from stuck to successful:
1. Determine what you want, vs. what others want from you.
This is a critical boundary to set. Often, we think of what others expect before we know what we really want in life. Yet the Bible tells us to make choices all the time, for example who we worship: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (see Joshua 24:15). So get a piece of paper and write what you want to happen: a career goal, a relationship problem solved, a financial dream or a health goal. It does matter what people think, and we do impact others. Take those into consideration. But start with your own goal and desire and work from there.
2. Say no to the “good” and yes to the “right.”
Most of us don’t have major issues saying no to really toxic influences like drugs or crime. We aren’t supposed to do those things in the first place! But it is trickier to say yes to those things that aren’t inherently bad, but take time and energy from what you want. We can’t do everything, so we have to say no to good things to get to the right things. For example, you may need to decline your involvement on a committee because you can’t get to your own goals. Or you may need to tell a friend you can’t talk on the phone as frequently as you would like, because you don’t have the time. These aren’t fun decisions. But they free you up to work on that goal or relationship.
3. Have difficult conversations with people who are operating against you.
There are, unfortunately, people who can be controlling, negative, judgmental or hurtful with you. This is such a power drain, how can you move from stuckness to success when you have their influence deflating your passion? Good boundaries mean having a loving but direct talk with some key people, in which you say, in effect, “I care about you and us, but your behavior makes it difficult for me to be around you. I would like to see some changes in our relationship, otherwise I will need to make some distance, which I don’t want.”
Jesus taught us to let our yes be yes, and our no be no (see Matthew 5:37). Growth research, high performance research, and our own experience show that His words are true and that they work. Here’s to your own movement from stuckness to success!
This devotional is drawn from Boundaries for Leaders, by Dr. John Townsend.