How ‘Going the extra Mile’ Flips the Power Dynamics

How 'Going the extra Mile' Flips the Power Dynamics

To ‘Walk the extra mile’ is not about being generous, or servanthood. It’s about flipping the power dynamics and creating a sense of fear and uncertainty.

Have you ever heard someone say ‘They walked the extra mile’?

We link this little phrase with the idea that this person did more than expected. They didn’t just do what was required,  but they went on to do more and more.

So often though we can take this idea of ‘walking another mile’ as a justification for putting up with abuse and bullying. That we are to be patient and just put up with abuse. Didn’t Jesus say ‘ if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.’? Continue reading “How ‘Going the extra Mile’ Flips the Power Dynamics”

Give them your Shirt and confuse the bully into shame

Give them your Shirt and confuse the bully into shame

 

Giving the ‘shirt off your back’ is not an invitation to more abuse. It is a subtle expression of self worth and can confuse and shame the bully.

Have you ever tried to challenge someone’s behaviour and it just gets thrown back at you?

You may feel like you are being bullied, or tormented by this person. They seem to feel quite justified in what they are doing and you just take it.

You haven’t got the word power or even the emotional power to push back, but you want things to change. Continue reading “Give them your Shirt and confuse the bully into shame”

Does ‘Turning the other cheek’ mean I have to keep taking abuse?

Does 'Turning the other cheek' mean I have to keep taking abuse?

She had given into the bully 365 times too many. She had been cheek slapped all of the marriage. He just accepted the insults and put-downs as if he deserved them. Tongue lashings kept him eating dust. Dust he and the abuser were both made out of. Ghosts of bullies past haunted them. 

I gotta stand up and take a step
You and I have been asleep for hours
I gotta stand up
For your love
Bono

Others, who had also tasted dirt, rose from the dust and stood alongside the quivering heart. With a newly discovered dignity, they no longer felt like a worm.

They were now warriors of love. A violently disturbing non-violent love.  Continue reading “Does ‘Turning the other cheek’ mean I have to keep taking abuse?”

There is None so Blind as Those that Will Not See

There is None so Blind as Those that Will Not See

I once was blind but now I see. Only when we begin to realize that we have been chasing after false promises will our sight return. We see that we have been conned and we are now in a prison of our own making.

One spring afternoon I was driving in the countryside with my parents. The farmland looked green, lush and inviting. I commented on how good the farms looked.

My father, who was a farmer, responded ‘Never buy a farm when you’ve looked at in the late afternoon’.  Continue reading “There is None so Blind as Those that Will Not See”

Want to Forgive? You’ll Unlock it with Compassion

Want to Forgive-compassion-mental-health

You think you have forgiven, but now and then anger bubbles up. You try and stuff it back in its box, but you know that its whisper is still fuming around your heart. Perhaps you need to discover compassion.

A step that is unusual and not what you naturally want to offer, but contains a promise of release that I’ve experienced and you can too if you pray a dangerous prayer.

Meet Smudge.
Continue reading “Want to Forgive? You’ll Unlock it with Compassion”

Confession, A Step Towards Harmony

Confession-Step-Towards-Harmony-mental-health

Confession can take the pressure off ourselves and give an opportunity for harmony to come into our relationships.

Six things we need to learn about confession for our Mental Health.

‘I need help with my husband, wife, child, friend.’

I have an anonymous survey here on Turning the Page where people can share with me what they are struggling with. I don’t share what people write, but I do take notice and look for topics to write about. One of the most interesting trends I am seeing is the stress that comes about from the relationships we have. Continue reading “Confession, A Step Towards Harmony”

It’s Time For You to ‘Give it a Rest’

I had never quite sensed that feeling of release before.

That feeling of letting it all go and handing it on to someone else. I had been in ministry for 13 years serving as a Pastor/ Chaplain to people who struggled with ‘Normal Church’, mostly due to Mental Illness. It had been a time of growth and challenge where I along with a team of volunteers developed a mid week church service, ran camps and all the other stuff pastors do.

It was a load though, it was a responsibility, and now Continue reading “It’s Time For You to ‘Give it a Rest’”

8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading “8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs”

Boundaries of the Heart are Lines of Love and Respect

The had crossed a line with me. Boundaries walked over.

I felt so hurt and offended that they would be so disrespectful to me. It felt like there was no love or respect in their hearts for me by what they had done.

Have you ever been there and experienced someone who supposedly loved and respected you doing the complete opposite?

It’s like you have planted a tree in the back garden, watched it grow and hoped for a beautiful crop. You tell the kids to not eat the fruit, that it has special fruit that can be watched and admired but never eaten.

You hope for the sake of the relationship that children love and respect your heart desires but you have given them choice, because what is love and respect if it is not something that is chosen.

Yet deception and foolishness are perfect allies, and choices are made to eat that which was never meant to be tasted.

I am talking about the first boundary ever crossed. The line of love and respect for God.

God told them to not eat of a certain tree he had planted in the garden. ‘Out of love and respect for me, out of knowing that I have your very best interests at heart please don’t eat from this tree. Genesis 3

Yet temptation won them over to a taste test where they inadvertently bought the whole store.

Love and respect.
Something we all, at a deep subconscious level, hunger after.

 

I believe that deep within us there is a desire we probably have never drilled into. For me, as a man, it is to be respected, and I believe for a woman it is to be loved.

Larry Crabb writing in The Papa Prayer puts it this way.

A man’s fear is this: Am I adequate?

Do I have the weight to handle important tasks, to impact a woman, a child, a friend, in a way that affirms my value?

The flip side of desire is terror – the coin has two sides. I want what I can’t stop wanting. Is what I want so desperately – eternal value, the weight to make an impact that lasts beyond the grave – mine to enjoy?

A man’s deepest terror is weightlessness, the absence of solid substance that others recognize and appreciate.

Women are not men. Men are not women.

The differences extend beyond physiology and anatomy, beyond hairstyle and clothing and pitch of voice and the way each throws a ball or moves on a dance floor or tilts the head when puzzled. The core difference lie in desire.

Men long for weightiness, for the substance that impacts.

Women yearn for beauty, for an internal reality that makes eternal impact by drawing others to cherish and honor and protect what they see, by awakening in others their desire for ultimate beauty. Nothing terrifies a woman more than to feel that there is nothing unique bout her being that another could esteem and treasure.

A woman’s fear is this: Am I beautiful, or am I merely useful? A sexual object? A resource that functions well to achieve another’s purpose? The flip side of desire is terror. Can I connect deeply with anyone? Is anyone safe? Will anyone see my beauty, or is there nothing to see that others will honor or enjoy?

We’re not sure. We’re not sure if anybody will do for us what we need so badly but can’t do for ourselves. Men feel like weightless little boys, women like invisible little girls.

With fallen ingenuity, we handle our terror by shoving our deepest longings out of awareness and assuming control over lesser ones. With terror numbed, we live to protect ourselves. We find a relational style that keeps us feeling pretty good , and when something threatens to arouse our deep pain and terror, we retreat or attack.

We do whatever it takes to keep ourselves intact.

Larry Crabb PAPA Prayer

Then my mind wanders over to the Bible and the advice that Paul gives for husbands and wives.

Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

Men are to love their wives with a self-sacrificial agape love that encourages the beauty within his wife to shine.

Women are to respect their husband with a form of reverence that encourages his Godly purpose.

I went to the doctor yesterday and was duly walked over to the scales where my weight was taken. ‘Not too bad’ I thought, he didn’t say anything.

This is the physical weight that I am pressing down upon the pavement or the soil.

My greatest fear is that I am weightless. That nothing I do matters or has impact. I believe that the question that haunts a man is ‘Am I making a difference?’

In my closest relationships, my family, friendships, work, hobbies, is what I am doing making a difference and am I adequate and up to the challenge.

The reward is recognition and appreciation. Its all about respect.

If a man’s fear is impotency then perhaps a woman’s fear is invisibility? That no one will see the beauty within her. No love will be shown to that tender beauty within in her soul. No one will draw it out, encourage and nurture it.

So what do boundaries have to do with this?

In my last post I introduced the idea that boundaries are really lines of love and respect.

A boundary line of love is crossed when indifference or contempt is shown for the tender beauty within a woman’s soul.

A boundary line of respect is crossed when indifference or contempt is shown for the purpose of a mans soul.

This relational line of love and respect, of course, transfers over into every relationship we have.

We demonstrate love and respect for ourselves and others by our actions.

Example

I went to the doctor the other day

I show love and respect for my doctor by

  • putting the appointment time in my diary
  • getting to the appointment on time
  • being polite and friendly to the staff
  • being open and honest about my needs
  • answering his questions as best I can
  • taking the medication or advise offered
  • paying the bill

My doctor would show love and respect for me by

  •  keeping to the appointment time (a challenge for any doctor)
  • have a safe clean working environment
  • doing ongoing training
  • listening to both verbal and non-verbal communications
  • keeping good notes to refer back to
  • using accurate measuring equipment (I’m sure those scales were wrong)
  • charging only what is appropriate and not exorbitant

When we are indifferent or abusive to a person’s needs for love and respect we cross a line, a boundary.

Want to learn more? 

His love motivates her respect; Her respect motivates his love. Emerson Eggriches

I would highly recommend ‘Love and Respect’ by Dr. Emerson Eggriches. He also has a podcast that I have recently started to listen to.

 

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. How can this idea of love and respect be seen in the many relationships we have?
  2. Think to a time when you were deeply hurt. Was a line of Love and Respect crossed?
  3. Do you love and respect yourself? Perhaps shame, guilt, self-loathing have their basis in a crossing of a line of love and respect. What do you think?

Barry Pearman

 

Let’s Rethink the Word ‘Boundary’

I struggle with the word ‘Boundary’.

Lets rethink the word 'Boundary'
Photo Credit: dogbomb via Compfight cc

 

Not because I don’t believe in the concept of boundaries or because I don’t think they are important.  Its just that the word ‘Boundary’ doesn’t convey any sense of relationship value. The word ‘boundary’ feels like its all about the one making the boundary and not about a relationship offered.

When I was a child I grew up on a farm and we had boundary fences between ourselves and our neighbors. These were post and wire fences marking where our ownership was limited.

Human life must be about more than building boundaries, protecting identities, and teaching impulse control. Richard Rohr

It was there, it was solid, marked out, and the relationship was defined. This is where we had responsibility and control and this is where they had responsibility and control.

I think though the word ‘boundary’ has become a word of self centredness. A word that is all about ones own need of security and control.

I think we need to go deeper into a relational balancing of the concept.

What is the relational significance of a boundary?

 

Perhaps an example might help to explain.

I drive through a small town often. As I approach the town there is a sign with a big ’50’ on it. This tells me that there is a boundary imposed on this area by our lawmakers that I am only allowed to travel up to 50 kilometres an hour. Faster than that and I have broken a boundary limitation.

Its law, a legal boundary. Its declared and I must comply.

But why is it there?

Are the imposers speed haters, are they picking on me, do they just want me to be late. I can become very narcisstic about the boundary and believe its all about me.

However that boundary was set up out of concern for the safety of the people living in the township. By driving through the township at wild and reckless speeds there is no concern shown for the safety and well being of the people.

Out of love and respect for them I slow down.

I could focus on the number or I could focus on the relationship. When I focus on the relationship something deeper happens within me. Something of love and respect for the needs of my fellow man is stirred up within me.

Another example.

Something a bit deeper.

I have a relationship with my body. I am not my body but I sure am stuck with it. Out of love and respect for my body I care for it by washing, feeding, taking medication, resting, exercising.

I have a relationship with my soul, my very self. I want to see my very life nurtured and cared for. I love myself, not in any self centred narcissist self adoration way, but in a way that says that I’m OK. So out of a desire to nurture the ‘self’ I will have relational lines of love and respect around me that limit the influence of those that would not show love and respect to me.

I have at times given too much access to some that have showed no love and respect for me.

For some it is no longer a line, easily crossed over and abused, it is now 10 foot high wall with snarling dog behind it if they even come near intrusion into my life. I care for myself, I am worth it.

Another example.

I remember the day that I was visiting someone hoping to help them in someway. They asked about how they could contact me and so I explained my boundaries, my lines of love and respect. Then I turned the table and asked them what their boundaries were, their lines of love and respect, their expectations were.

They were quite shocked at this. Never had they been asked by a supporter about what their boundaries needs were. By asking this simple, yet highly empowering question, they felt they were on a level ground in relational power with me. Their needs were considered as just as important as mine.

So why ‘Love and Respect’?

More on that next time.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. What does the word ‘Boundary’ mean for you?
  2. Are ‘boundaries’ a self centered concept?

Barry Pearman