So lately, Tom picked up a bad habit. I call it the 'We Need To' habit."
I mean, we'll be driving along country roads or else walking up people's driveways to their yard sales and he'll look at all the lovely landscaping and that's when it starts:
"We need to plant more trees on our farm."
"We need to make a brick patio."
"We need to spread mulch on all our flowerbeds."
"We need to put up some picket fencing, plant some brighter flowers, make a flower bed around our mailbox post, clear the weeds around the septic well and prune our grapevines and our meadow trees."
The problem? His "we" means me. Debra. Those are the kinds of tasks I've volunteered to do around this farm. Tom's tasks are to mow certain parts of the yard on his tractor and organize the garage and barn.
We're both still waiting for the garage and barn fairies to magically organize things on some enchanted starry night.
So anyway, I noticed how tight my stomach would feel after a few hundred We Need To's. And how often those We Need To's led to my telling Tom, "I know, I know already! I've got to get my gardens in first, ok? I keep telling you that." (Add to that additional whining.)
And then finally one day I put up a necessary, mind-saving boundary. After driving alongside Tom and listening to more We Need To's, I told him, "Look. I need you to stop with the We Need To's because your 'we' means 'me'! You realize that, don't you? All the things you're suggesting are things that I'm responsible for. And I'm feeling so pressured to do more, more, more, that I can't even look around our yard and enjoy it any longer. I just look and see all the extra things you wish I would do."
He got the point. Thankfully, I can't recall hearing one We Need To since then.
Boundaries. They're vital. We all need to set them if we wish to keep our sanity.
And I hope you've already put up a few boundaries of your own--without feeling guilty about them, either.
Speaking of boundaries, Joyce Meyer's message yesterday, Living on the Edge, was incredibly timely for me. I could actually feel my muscles relax, un-tense while I listened. You can hear that message here. Click on the smaller screen which says Living On The Edge.
The larger screen (today's message, Setting Boundaries in Relationships) is wonderful, too, especially if you have trouble knowing where to draw the line with people you're trying to help.