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Share your stories and ideas with the network as you respond to crisis and disaster.
Category » Personal Crisis
Mar 20
2013
Shirley Goodman

HOW DO I MAKE A GOOD DECISION?

Posted by Shirley Goodman in Untagged 

Some people handle decision-making in their stride, embracing the risk and uncertainty.  They are willing to take a gamble, and expect the consequences of their choice and move on. Others waver at the near paralyzing prospect of having to make a decision.

  The wisdom of God's Word tells us, if you intend to build a structure, you should first sit down, count the cost and determine whether you have sufficient resources to finish it (Luke 14:24). It would benefit all of us to use God's wisdom in making our decisions.

We live in a world of information overload. Yet many people havent learned how to make simple informed choices. How do you make a good decision?
Here is a simple decision-making process in an acrostic. 

D ---Define the issue


Mar 11
2013
Shirley Goodman

How Do I Begin to Set Boundaries?

Posted by Shirley Goodman in Untagged 

 

Only you can determine and set boundaries in your relationships.  Limits and boundaries are uniquely individual and personal, they can be flexible, and permeable Sometimes adjustments are made to personal boundaries on a moment-to-moment basis. Some boundaries may remain intact for years.

If a person needs a starting point for setting limits or boundaries with others, here are a few suggestions to try.

Apr 23
2012
Shirley Goodman

What are the Steps of Grief after a Loss?

Posted by Shirley Goodman in Untagged 

As an adult, you contemplate the subject of death, and quickly come to the realization that it is a permanent and irreversible cessation of the body’s vital function. Children have a more difficult time understanding death, because all the actors that ‘die’ on TV yesterday revive for the next movie tomorrow. For this current generation of young people realizing the finality of death can be as late as 12 years of age.  The Scriptures dedicate many verses to the subject of death: In the Psalms it tells us “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saint (116:15).” God also so tells us death is inevitable, he says it is appointed unto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27). No one, rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy will escape this appointed life event. Just as God knew our birth, he knows our appointed time to die.  God does promise a better day in the future. He wants us to see past the death event to a better day. In the book of Revelation it is stated that God “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying or pain (21:4)” but until that day how do we cope with the issue of death and loss?

Loss is often associated with the death of a loved one, but it has a greater involvement in every facet of our life. Loss can include separation and departures of those we love. It also can include our loss of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusion of safety or the loss of youthfulness. With many people, there is an unspoken agreement not to talk about the losses in their lives. When we don’t talk about the losses, they can haunt us the rest of our lives. There are several ways to identify losses.

Material loss --this is attachment to a physical object or familiar surroundings. A person may deny this attachment for fear of appearing materialistic. This is usually a child’s first loss, such as a broken toy or his dog ate his ice-cream cone. What is the most recent material loss you experienced?

As you prayerfully search the Scriptures, you will gain a confidence that God believes in good boundaries and expects us to exercise them. Boundary conflicts will happen in all areas of your life. These conflicts can occur with your spouse, children, extended family, friends, co-workers, yourself or God. To be proactive you must develop a course of action that leads to healthy boundaries.  It is said that a dream is a goal without an action plan. It is important to think and dream about better boundaries, then develop and implement a plan of action to improve your boundaries.

Cloud and Townsend share 10 basic steps to recovery that works in all boundary conflicts in our lives.

  1. Identify Sickness—as in all recovery programs there must be an acceptance that “I have a problem.” Denial of the truth only keeps the person stuck in the old habits and patterns that have led to anxiety and other unhealthy results. Are you tired of symptomatic relief that works only for a short time?  God wants us to go for the cure.  
  2. Make Connections—no one can heal in a vacuum. God designed relationships and there is little healing outside of connection with others. We must have a relationship with God and His people. First, connect or re-connect with God and find a safe group of Christian that will listen and hold you accountable.
  3. Identify your Need—what are the issues (needs) beneath your boundary issues. Why do you need others to approve of you? Why is it so hard to say “no”? Or feel as if  you always have to say ‘yes’ to certain people? Why are you a fixer? Pleaser? Rescuer? Is it a critical parent or person from your past you are trying to please? You must identify the underlying needs reflected in your poor boundaries.
  4. Receive the Good from Others—Accept the grace of God from His people. To move forward you must receive from safe people both understanding and love. Reach out and embrace the love and friendship extended from God’s family. Taking a risk by being  open and honest (exposing the hurtful secrets) to safe people will help you realize you are accepted and loved in spite of your secrets. Isolating oneself only deepens the unhealthy aspects of our lives.
  5. Acknowledge Roots Issues and Grieve the loss— as we identify the underlying cause of our poor boundaries (many times rooted in our childhood) typically someone has injured us in some way. It can be a well-meaning parent, relative or care giver. It could be a teacher, friend, neighbor or a bully. Injuries do happen and affect us when we are most vulnerable in our formative years. We must grieve the losses in order to progress on. I had to acknowledge that my mother because of her mental illness would never be capable of loving me. I had to grieve the loss of never experiencing my mother’s love. I spent much of my life of trying to please others so they would love me. Trying harder and being ‘better’ was never enough. We must acknowledge our loss, exposing it to the light of relationship with others, grieve it (death of a dream) and then you will have the God given healing and freedom to progress on with your life.
  6. We must Forgive—an unforgiving heart causes bondage and slavery to ones soul. We must forgive those people past and present that injured us in some way. We must come to grips with forgiving others and ourselves for the past. Your painful past will be unique to you, nevertheless everyone must acknowledge the injury, forgive the perpetrator, grieve the loss and allow God to heal and you will progress on.  Forgiveness is letting go of destructive people in your past.
  7.  Take Ownership of the Problem—as children we learn how to play, the “Blame Game” it’s not my fault, someone else made me do it. Denying our part in the issues facing us. There comes a time in every person’s life you must take responsibility for the condition you find yourself. We take responsibility for the things we caused and things that were part of our legacy from our past.  The parents cause the divorce issues but the child reaps the consequences of their behaviors. As a child becomes an adult, he must own the problems associated with his parents divorce if he hopes to heal. Abuse, divorce, death, etc., all create boundary injuries and issues that play out in our lives today because  no one has a perfect childhood. This is part of belonging to the human race in our fallen state.  It may not be your fault but it is your problem now. Each individual needs to own the good and bad fruit produced in our lives.
  8. Begin Saying “NO” to the Bad—for boundaries to work it must have a loving environment to grow. As you start to practice your ‘no muscle’ always begin with safe people. Do not confront the most toxic person in your life. Work at making more connections with safe supportive people. Remember God tells us to make are yes’ yes and our no’s no. When you say ‘yes’ and want to say ‘no’ you are a liar. Begin with safe people, as you gain strength and freedom you will start to develop boundaries in all areas of your life.
  9.  Expect Failure—accept failure as a sign you are finally in recovery.  It takes time to mature through practice. Don’t look back as Lots wife did, keep your eyes on the prize of healing and health.
  10. Return to Step 1-- Don’t let failure discourage you; let it propel you to work harder. Remember as in all recoveries, healing and health is a process not an event. Start the steps over again.

For an in-depth study and understanding of boundaries, and how to develop and maintain them, I highly recommend reading or participating in a group that studies  Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s book BOUNDARIES, When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life.

Divorce is a common issue faced by young people today. As a school counselor, I have  seen on a daily basis these emotional issues that impact the child's abiilty to learn. This letter sums up what a child needs to understand about divorce, thus giving them the freedom to move on with their life.

Dear Mom/Dad,

I have been to the counselor’s office to talk about divorce. I have learned:

Mar 30
2012
Shirley Goodman

Are your Boundaries affected by Myths?

Posted by Shirley Goodman in Untagged 

A myth can be defined as fiction that looks like truth. These myths have grown up around our boundaries. Myths are part of everyone’s belief systems. These myths “sound-like-truth.” John Bradshaw, a noted psychologist, stated that each person has a “normal”, and that normal belief system states whatever “IS” (exists) must be right. These preconceived ideas, values, and beliefs are formed from our childhood and past experiences. The same is true of our belief system about personal boundaries. Our boundaries are protective by nature and are defensive not offensive. Boundaries define who you are and who you are not. As a person practices healthy boundaries, others may begin to exhibit character flaws in their attempts to manipulate or use the person for his own agenda. Our personal boundaries are formed by the 2nd year of life. As we grow from childhood to adult many boundary-violators will cross over our boundaries. As this occurs, our personal boundaries are defined.  These boundary invaders do not always have bad intentions, some have good intentions but damage to our property lines still occurs. Cloud and Townsend record eight common myths associated with personal boundaries. We get our myths from our family, church, theological foundations or our own misunderstandings. Consider which of the following sounds-like-truth that you have accepted as fact.

Myth #1 “I am being selfish.”

In dealing with this myth, you must understand the difference between being selfish and self-centered. Selfish in this context is “self-care.” Our needs are our responsibility, as is caring for the body God has redeemed. God tells us in 1 Corinthians that a Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that we are not your own; we have been bought with a price. There is a stewardship responsibility of self-care of our bodies because it is His Spirit’s temple. This stewardship requires practicing self-care through personal boundaries. When we say “no” to harmful people and activities we are protecting Gods investment (2Corinthians 5:10).  Self-centeredness puts “I” on the throne where only God should reign. It embraces the “me-ism” of our culture and human nature. This is the frame of reference most boundary-violators exhibit. It is acceptable to be “selfish” but not acceptable to be “self-centered.”