Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

Choosing What You Allow

OUCH! I get a sharp pain in my finger as I carry a wide load of laundry down a narrow hallway, because I squeeze my finger against the woodwork on a doorway. The pain in my finger is a marker or a boundary to keep me from going too far. I didn’t think that doing laundry could be so painful!

Osorio (2013) quotes Dr. Henry Cloud as saying that we change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain we anticipate a change may bring (Osorio, 2013). So I move away from the wall because the pain of crushing my finger is greater than the pain of balancing a heavy load of laundry. I may have to stop and reassess my actions in light of this pain I am experiencing. The boundary of the hallway has kept me focused on the task at hand, and corrected my approach.

In Real Estate, boundaries help define and clarity property ownership and control (Osorio, 2013). Boundaries are the fence that define your property limits and responsibility. They clarify roles and provide for freedom of movement. There is an old story about a boundary fence surrounding a playground (Morgan, 2000). When a sturdy chain-link fence surrounded the schoolyard, the children were comfortable and moved about freely. But when this boundary fence was removed, the children grouped themselves together and stayed near the solid structure of the school building (Morgan, 2000). Without the boundary, the children were fearful and did not want to venture out. But with the boundary fence, the children acted freely and could explore the activities and relationships within that secure structure.

Sometimes boundaries are weak and do not limit our activities to simply our own area of responsibility. Weak boundaries can allow for excess or overflow and impact those around us. One example might be a weak levee to contain flood waters; or a drunk driver, whose excess over the boundary affects themselves but also others in their car and on the streets in their path. In a documentary about environmental responsibility, a chemical company was chided for not doing more to protect a poor region of a country from chemical contaminants (Grunberg, 2005). A simple chain-link boundary fence was not enough to protect those on the other side (Grunberg, 2005).

Dr. Henry Cloud in his book, “Boundaries for Leaders” (Cloud, 2013) is speaking to leaders about their organizations and how people can flourish and grow within them. Boundaries that leaders set need to create a positive emotional climate, in order to prevent toxic fear from taking over; and in order to help people achieve their best performance. But he is also speaking to the leader about themselves and their own boundaries. Dr. Cloud says that a leader’s boundaries are contingent on what they create and what they allow. Leaders are in charge of these things: they make decisions on what they create and what they allow. The book subtitle underlines the leader’s ability to decide about these things – because they are “ridiculously in charge” in their organization (Cloud, 2013).

So, as a leader of your own actions, thoughts and behaviors, what do you allow? “Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NET Bible). What can you create today? You can create a boundary for how you view things; and you can choose to put positive things into your mind and not dwell on those negative things which bring frustrations to mind and are out of your control. The late Zig Ziglar was famous for saying that we can change what we are and we can change where we are by changing what goes into our minds (Ziglar, 1995). Paul the Apostle originated the thought when he wrote this: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever wins respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovable, whatever is of good repute–if there is any virtue or anything deemed worthy of praise–cherish the thought of these things” (Phil. 4:8, Weymouth New Testament). We can choose to cherish certain thoughts that build up a strong boundary fence against those deceitful philosophies Paul mentioned earlier.

Choose to create a positive image of yourself and others in affirming relationships; and then allow yourself to think about how life would be if you could do one good thing for someone today. Like suntan lotion for sensitive skin, using boundaries like this can prevent painful blistered contacts with others, and enhance the tone of your relationships. Choose today what you will allow, and create positive boundaries.

* Cloud, H. (2013). Boundaries for leaders: results, relationships, and being ridiculously in charge. New York: HarperBusiness.
* Grunberg, S. (2005). Fenceline: A company town divided. Spencer, NY: Log-In Productions.
* Osorio, B. (2013, May 27). You always get what you create and what you allow. Commonness. Retrieved July 11, 2014, from
* Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations & quotes. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
* Ziglar, Z. (1995). Success and the self-image. Wheeling, IL: Nightingale-Conant Company.

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