This past week, we talked about the idea of “self-delineation” – that is, the value of knowing oneself and drawing good boundaries about who we are, with others.
We pointed to the idea from Barbara Krasner and Austin Joyce, that relationships are based on the promise that we can trust one another to be genuine. That means each person in the relationship must first know themselves well, and then have a willingness to be honest about where their boundaries are with the other.
This may seem obvious, but it can be difficult to draw healthy boundaries, when we’re afraid that we might upset, disappoint, anger, or hurt the other – or perhaps wonder if we’re even entitled to our boundaries in the first place.
We reminded ourselves that God calls us to spend time with our own hearts, minds, and spirits to know them well (Psalm 77:6). And we looked at the “self-delineation” of the Syrophoenician woman as she drew lines, even for Jesus, and claimed her sense of self as a beloved child of God.
While letting others know where our boundaries are isn’t always easy, keeping silent and allowing the other person to assume things are ok is detrimental to us, and to the relationship. When we fail to delineate our self, the person we let the other see isn’t real. We have formed a kind of false relationship, based on the partial truths of who one another is.
It is only in the faith that we are worth knowing fully, as God knows us, that we value ourselves and our relationships as God does.
(Many weeks we engage in a “practice,” or exercise to help us with the lesson. Often, it’s easier to talk about what we “would” do in a given situation than it is to try it. This is why “practices” are an important part of our worship at Companions on the Way.)
Each person took a few crayons (you could use any small, physical marker), and put them in groups to represent how they spend their time each week, proportionally. Time was represented for family, work, projects, alone time, etc., and the number of crayons indicated how much time was spent on each thing. 100% of our time was accounted for. We then role-played someone asking for more of our time (e.g. – The role-play of a spouse wanting to join a new art class, and needing you to use more of your time for the kids/cleaning/etc.). The person with the crayons then had to think through whether or not they wanted to shift their crayons around, which crayons would get shifted, and role-play drawing boundaries if they decided they didn’t want to shift their crayons. We then talked about what it was like to be “in-the-moment” with self-delineation.