People will always keep crossing your boundaries when your heart is bent and buckled out of shape. But that heart can recover and be filled with courage. It takes time and catching some breath.
‘You need to set some boundaries’.
As they said this my heart sank. I knew that I had to set some boundaries, but it was the enforcing them was the hard part.
Once I was in the heat of the situation I just simply caved in.
The boundary I had set in my head wasn’t backed by any strength of heart. I fail time and time again until despair claws its way into my shadow.
Building the strength of the heart
Many times those who find setting boundaries and enforcing them are those who have a low strength of heart.
Their heart is like a tin can that has been kicked down the street until it has lost all its shape and ability to hold anything. Anything of worth.
That tin can needs to be restored if it’s going to be of purpose. Perhaps it needs to be filled with concrete. ‘Try kicking me now Boy ‘ (If a tin can could talk)
I don’t want my heart to be made of stone, or of concrete, or to be like a grenade that explodes when anyone dares come near.
But I do want my heart to be filled with substance.
Can I fill your heart?
If you resonate with the picture of a kicked out of shape tin can then you’re not alone.
The feedback I get is that there are many out there just like you. Kicked around tin cans.
But there is hope, even for crushed aluminum.
It takes a receptivity to love.
A drip bag of love.
Patients in a hospital bed are often hooked up to a drip line coming from a bag hanging above their head. Out of this bag, fluid flows drop by drop into the body. The body slowly heals and regaining strength.
In the same way, love can drip into your heart and turn into courage.
You see logic and the head will only take you so far. When push comes to shove you will need a heart resilience to stand against the current.
That heart of yours needs to be filled with ‘cor’ – courage.
A Lion Heart
In The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’ a delightful story by C.S. Lewis the great lion Aslan (Christ) walks into a hall full of statues. These ‘caught in the act of life’ beings were turned to stone by the curse of an evil Witch.
The witch had crossed the boundaries of what is right and true.
But Aslan is on the move. Always has been and always will be, and for you.
“What an extraordinary place!” cried Lucy. “All those stone animals—and people too! It’s—it’s like a museum.”
“Hush,” said Susan, “Aslan’s doing something.”
He was indeed.
He had bounded up to the stone lion and breathed on him.
Then without waiting a moment he whisked round—almost as if he had been a cat chasing its tail—and breathed also on the stone dwarf, which (as you remember) was standing a few feet from the lion with his back to it.
Then he pounced on a tall stone dryad which stood beyond the dwarf, turned rapidly aside to deal with a stone rabbit on his right, and rushed on to two centaurs.
But at that moment Lucy said,
“Oh, Susan! Look! Look at the lion.”
I expect you’ve seen someone put a lighted match to a bit of newspaper which is propped up in a grate against an unlit fire. And for a second nothing seems to have happened; and then you notice a tiny streak of flame creeping along the edge of the newspaper. It was like that now.
For a second after Aslan had breathed upon him the stone lion looked just the same. Then a tiny streak of gold began to run along his white marble back—then it spread—then the color seemed to lick all over him as the flame licks all over a bit of paper—then, while his hindquarters were still obviously stone, the lion shook his mane and all the heavy, stone folds rippled into living hair. Then he opened a great red mouth, warm and living, and gave a prodigious yawn.
And now his hind legs had come to life. He lifted one of them and scratched himself. Then, having caught sight of Aslan, he went bounding after him and frisking round him whimpering with delight and jumping up to lick his face.
Of course the children’s eyes turned to follow the lion; but the sight they saw was so wonderful that they soon forgot about him.
Everywhere the statues were coming to life. The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it looked more like a zoo.
Creatures were running after Aslan and dancing round him till he was almost hidden in the crowd. Instead of all that deadly white the courtyard was now a blaze of colors; glossy chestnut sides of centaurs, indigo horns of unicorns, dazzling plumage of birds, reddy-brown of foxes, dogs and satyrs, yellow stockings and crimson hoods of dwarfs; and the birch-girls in silver, and the beech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the larch-girls in green so bright that it was almost yellow.
And instead of the deadly silence the whole place rang with the sound of happy roarings, brayings, yelpings, barkings, squealings, cooings, neighings, stampings, shouts, hurrahs, songs and laughter. (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Chapter 16).
Their hearts of stone had taken in resurrection breath and were now liberated to who they were always meant to be.
Catching the breath
My bent out of shape tin can needs the breath of a lion to flow into it.
As I write this, I am sitting quietly on a hill above a beach. People are walking and running below while commuter bound traffic speeds by. Tide is coming in; calm waves fold on themselves like ripples on a pond.
I am with purpose mindfully catching something of Aslan’s breath.
I also have friends who breath ‘Cor’ into me. Some of you do this with little comments and tweets.
My tin can is filling and gaining resilience for the day ahead.
May you be filled
I would love Aslan to walk into your statued broken heart and breath life into it.
To panel breath out your soul, from the inside out.
To blow into the tin can and pop out the creases and crumblings. Pop, pop, pop.
And he will do this too. Gradually, slowly, gently. Always with the help of a few safe friends.
Quotes to consider
- Rebuilding broken worlds can never happen alone. It is a team effort, and it has to be accomplished in concert with those who can give grace and affirm progress. Gordon MacDonald
- To live in truth, the mind must surrender to the wisdom of the heart that is received through faith for, as Pascal argues, “it is the heart that experiences God, and not the reason.” But for this to happen, both head and heart need realignment with each other. David G. Benner
- if you try setting boundaries in a vacuum — without relational support from others — it usually results in a disaster. John Townsend and Henry Cloud
- The role of heart and mind is to cooperate with truth by opening to love. We need the mind to know the truth of the heart, and we need the heart to know the truth of the mind. David G. Benner
Questions to answer
- What fills your heart with courage?
- What happens in you when someone says ‘You need to set some boundaries?’
- What would Aslan, the great and gracious Lion, say into your crushed tin can heart?
Image cc: Skitterphoto