Overcoming Loneliness and Setting Healthy Boundaries
Lysa TerKeurst is a TRUE POWER woman and an amazing speaker. In this powerful talk, she shares her story of overcoming loneliness and setting healthy boundaries.
If you’re feeling lonely or Shy, then this talk is for you! Lysa shares her powerful message of overcoming loneliness and setting healthy boundaries. She explains how God has equipped her to face these challenges and she encourages you to do the same. You won’t regret watching this talk!
You’re gonna be super frustrated if you just try to put a boundary on them to force them to change.
What we have to do is change our mindset.
We put a boundary on our self so that we reduce the access that we grant that person to our limited areas of capacity.
I’m not supposed to control another person, but I am responsible to control me.
I did survey recently.
I asked our team at TBM, would you give me a list of why people call in for prayer?
I I wanted to know, like, what are the particularly the last two or three years, which have just been so bizarre, so many people are lonely devastated.
But I wanted to know what do people call in for prayer about?
And I found out that the a vast majority of the people are calling in because they’re having marital problems.
And I think the COVID epidemic exacerbated that because suddenly people were home together a lot with Nextiva.
I mean, Barry and I have been married for twenty eight years, and I almost killed him during COVID.
Which I still think might have been technically legal during COVID because he wakes up talking.
I mean, he just talks and I like quiet in the morning.
All of that to say, when did you who always have this idea of how life is going to be?
When did you begin to think things were not going well in your marriage?
It was in twenty thirteen. And, um, you know, at first, I I could pin it to other things.
You know, we had five children, and so that’s a very busy household.
And some of our kids were, you know, graduating, going off to college.
Um, and so I just, at first, attribute it to there’s lots of transition happening, and, you know, sometimes it’s hard and you know, um, my ex husband was experiencing, you know, a birthday, a significant birthday.
And so I thought, well, maybe just that he’s kinda hit that place where he’s feeling like he’s getting, you know, older than he would like to be or whatever.
So I always had things that I could attribute, what I was feeling and sensing to, that were a whole lot less severe than what was actually happening.
And I didn’t find out for sure what was happening.
I got through two thousand thirteen, two thousand fourteen, two thousand fifteen.
Um, but I knew just there was something.
Un it was like an current of of turmoil that, um, that I wasn’t used to, and that made me very, very, very anxious.
And at the same time, I think he was trying to convince me that I was the crazy one.
And so every time I would ask questions, you know, he would just say things like, you know, Lisa, we really need to, like, work on your mental health and stuff.
And so I now know that the counseling term for that is gaslighting. I didn’t know it then.
And, um, then in early two thousand sixteen, the day of my oldest daughter’s rehearsal dinner.
Um, I found out for sure that he was having an affair.
I really do think that my body just went into shutdown mode.
I knew I had to get through the wedding for my daughter, and so I did, but I was in a complete fog.
I was smiling on the outside while I was screaming on the inside, just desperate to wake and have this all be a bad dream, but it wasn’t.
It was real.
Not only that, but it wasn’t something he was willing to walk. Away from.
Where is god in all because I’m thinking of people who are thinking right now, yeah, that that is that is my story.
Where where is god when things when he’s not answering your prayers in a way that makes sense?
Well, it’s a lot easier for me to answer that question now.
If you would have interviewed me that day, I would have set have no idea where god is, you know, and I I think it’s okay to be that honest and that terrified and and that broken.
But here’s what I know to be absolutely true. We don’t serve and do nothing god.
God is always doing something and that something is pointed in the direction of good.
And I could not see the good in that season.
It was impossible for me to see the good in that season.
But what I could do is trace god’s hand of faithfulness behind me, and I could remember other circumstances were was good.
Uh, circumstances I didn’t know how I was gonna get out of.
And so that didn’t fully comfort me, but it did remind me that I may not see the hand of god moving in the way that I think it should, but that doesn’t mean god isn’t moving.
It may mean he’s doing something different.
And what I was so desperate for was for god’s hand to move in a direction of complete reconciliation between me and my husband.
Um, but instead, god god’s hand was moving. But it became a rescue, and he rescued me out.
And I do think sometimes god rescues us out of relationships.
Sometimes god, you know, creates a reconciliation opportunity, but for that reconciliation to take place, both people have to work toward reconciliation.
They’re has to be repentance. There has to be a complete turnaround, the the behavior that that got into, you know, got you into brokenness cannot be the behavior that will get you out of it.
You know? And I remember the day that I got the divorce papers from my attorney.
And I didn’t know what emotion to have at that point.
You know, it’s like, do I cry?
Do I thank god for rest doing me out, do I grieve the loss of a nearly thirty year marriage?
And the answer is yes, all of the above.
I’ve often under because I know what the Christian community can be like.
You know, we can be incredibly supportive and understanding, and we can be brutal with one another.
I remember, um, posting a comment on Instagram one day, a fairly insipid comment, simply saying that It was the day when Joe Biden and Son Bow finally passed from his cancer and being a mom of just one boy it broke my heart.
And all I posted was praying today for the Biden family.
I got annihilated online by believers saying, you know, this is How can you pray for a man like that?
And I’m like, it kind of blew my mind,
but I’ve often wondered for you.
You know, we have these things within the church where these are the These are the regular sins that we all do, um, and these are the big no nos.
Right. So how did you navigate those waters of people who hold you in such high esteem believing that you shouldn’t have got divorced.
Well, it wasn’t easy, you know.
I mean, I was already suffering so much heartbreak on my own, and then to add on top of that, you know, people well meaning people, but people putting pressure on me.
Lisa, if you get a divorce, you’re basically giving permission to a whole generation of women to also divorce their husbands.
And I just thought, well, first of all, I’m not that powerful.
Second of all, I’m absolutely not giving permission to anyone.
And third of all, I am just trying to survive a story that I didn’t want.
I didn’t want this divorce. I I didn’t see it coming, and there was nothing that I could do to change him.
If I had power to change another person I would have. Yeah.
But all I had to do was, you know, all I could do was to save myself.
And, um, and save my sanity.
And, and, you know, I did a lot of research around what helps kids be resilient after something as tragic as a a divorce.
And the research shows that the number one thing that can help a child be resilient past an a divorce, especially an unwanted divorce like mine was, is to have one healthy stable parent.
And if I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to be stable, then I could no longer participate in the dysfunction That was gonna take both of us out if I didn’t get out.
You mentioned with five children and two are adopted. Am I correct on that? To yet darling voice adopted.
How do you help your children in that process?
Because I think it’s something that It’s the same as, you know, you know, my story, my stories to do more with mental illness, which doesn’t just impact me impacts our family.
It impacts my husband. It impacts our son.
And I was trying to think what would that have been like for you in the midst of your own overwhelming grief?
Because what people probably don’t understand is the years that you tried, the year after year of extended grace and forgiveness.
How do you help your children? What do you say to them when they don’t understand?
I think when the trauma is not just one trauma, but it’s over and over and over and it’s it’s this trauma and then that trauma and then this one.
And my kids were of the age where it’s not like I could I could sort of hide some of the impact of all of this from them.
Um, and so, unfortunately, they were knee deep in the trauma with me not because I pulled them in there, but because they were very aware of what was going on.
And so I don’t know that I did it alright, but I can tell you a couple things that I did right.
And one is I made a commitment to my kids that if they had questions, I would answer them truthfully.
But I also made a commitment to that I wouldn’t continue to talk about things beyond what their questions needed.
And they even asked me as a very healthy boundary.
They said, please don’t talk about our dad unless we ask you questions.
And, you know, I think part of that is I could get a divorce, but they were not in that situation, you know, that they can’t divorce their dad.
And so I respected that boundary, and I think that was a really good healthy things.
So I don’t know that I did it alright, but I would say those conversations were important, um, and also getting good counseling and making that available to my kids so that they didn’t always feel like they had to process it amongst themselves or process it with me, that they could go in a neutral environment and someone who was trained with with how to heal from trauma.
Um, giving them access to that was really important too.
How did you deal with the anger?
Because I was trying, which is impossible, to put myself in your place, knowing some of the behind the, you know, story details of how awful it was at times.
What do you what do you do with that? Or were you angry?
Or were you more grief stricken? But how do you handle that?
I think I was shocked. That was my primary motion.
And I remember going into my counselor, and I kept saying, I just can’t believe this and then I next week, I just can’t believe this.
And then the next week, I just can’t believe it. And finally, my counselor says, really? You can’t believe it?
Because pretty much this has been a pattern now where I think you should believe it.
And he helped ease me to the place where I understood mental health as a commitment to reality at all costs.
Wow. And so part of my struggle was I wanted to, and I needed to feel all the feelings for sure.
But I also knew that while those feelings indicate things that I needed to address.
I didn’t want them to dictate how I suddenly lived my life. And so I could feel angry.
And boy did I feel angry sometimes, but I didn’t have to live as an angry person.
Easier said than done, obviously.
And I I would give myself lots and lots of grace for certain moments that it was just a flood of emotion and that was it.
But I also knew from from almost the very beginning of this that it was not gonna be something I could get over.
It was something that I was gonna have to walk through.
And there were not gonna be any shortcuts.
And, You know, I’m thankful that I had wise people around me to give me some really crucial nuggets of advice that were very, very important.
And one was my counselor, his name is Jim Crest. He’s amazing.
But he, one time, said Lisa, A sign of true, true healing is that you can go home and sit in the quiet alone with your own thoughts and be okay.
And I really did not like that answer because I thought that’s the last thing I wanna do is go home and sit alone with my thoughts, but it was absolutely important because it allowed me space to identify what I was really feeling and those feelings became pointers of the healing that needed to take place.
And so those feelings were like the indicator lights on a dashboard. Yeah.
And I had to be committed that what I was walking through, this really was as bad as what I thought it was.
And these feelings were real. And and I didn’t want to get swept away with the feelings, but I definitely wanted to pay attention to them because we have to feel the pain if we’re ever going to be able to deal with the pain, and we have to deal with the pain if we’re ever going to heal from the pain.
And so from that place, one of the phrases that I always think of when I think of you and your journey is I believe that you have, and honestly brings tears to my eyes, that you have stewarded your suffering well.
There’s a difference between walking through suffering and stewarding your suffering.
You have allowed the lord to take the very things that have broken you, and you have lifted them up.
And you have allowed God’s love to flow through these broken places to other women.
And for that, um, on behalf of everyone. Thank you.
So now we have this new book and it’s called Good Boundaries, and goodbyes, loving others without losing the best of who you are.
First of would you just help us understand how do you define what is a boundary?
Well, thank you for your sweet words too, Sheila. I, um, I appreciate you saying that.
That has been my prayer to Stewart well.
And honestly, this book is part of that because a boundary, I think sometimes we think of boundaries as an attempt to shove another person away or to control another person who seems a little bit out of control, or to fix an issue that we we know needs to be but we can’t figure out exactly how to communicate it.
And so it’s just like, okay.
Well, then let me just create a separation with this person so I don’t really have to deal with woods.
The real issue here. That’s not a boundary.
A boundary is a wonderful communication tool for us to establish what is and is not okay in that relationship, what we do and what we do not have to give in that relationship, and what we can and cannot tolerate in that relationship.
Now, obviously, we need to check ourselves because sometimes we can just be selfish, you know, and I don’t have that to give.
You know? Well, that’s great. It’s Christmas morning, and there’s a pile of dishes.
I’m sorry that you don’t have that to give, but we all need to participate Right?
Uh, Mary, not have been a boundary that one of my children tried to draw with me.
But, I think the boundary is this opportunity for us to communicate so we avoid extremes.
The extreme over here is that somebody’s doing something, and it’s creating a lot of wear and tear in the relationship is making me feel worn down and worn out.
And so over here, I take it, and I take it, I take it, and I take it, and take it.
And so one day, I jumped to the other extreme and say, I just can’t take it anymore. I’m done.
So a boundary helps us bring things back to the middle and avoid extreme where we learn how to communicate effectively, like I said, what isn’t is not acceptable, what we do and do not have to give.
And when we do it and we do it healthy ways, the boundary action should be a way that we can fight for our relationships to stay healthy.
I can imagine a lot of Christian women.
In fact, when I spent a month in a psych hospital, I talked to some women like this who believed one woman had been so severely physically abused by her husband.
He’d broken her jaw. He’d broken her leg.
I mean, she’d been through so much, but she believed if she drew a boundary, you know, in stepped away even for a time that that was not the Christian thing to do.
Why do you think we get so confused as believers?
Because you say in your book boundaries are not it’s not our our idea. Boundaries are god’s idea.
Well, one scripture I like to point out that there’s many churches that I think can kind of feed this notion of like, oh, is it okay to draw a boundary, but one of them is where Jesus teaches us and that we were to lay down our life for our friends, right?
And Jesus did do that. He did lay down his life for other people, for all of us.
But Jesus laid down his one life to accomplish a high and holy purpose.
Jesus did not lay down his life to enable bad behavior continue.
And so I think we must not confuse the good command to love with the bad behavior of enabling choices that really are not gonna benefit either one of you.
You know, I I think sometimes we can get caught in this dysfunctional dam where we get afraid if I draw a boundary, then this person is gonna take something from me that I don’t want them to take.
So instead of drawing the boundary, I just deal with the pain of whatever the behavior is, Maybe it’s because I’m afraid if I draw a boundary, they’re gonna reject me, or they’re gonna be epically disappointed in me, or they’re gonna walk away from me.
Well, the thing is If by drawing a healthy boundary, if that’s the kind of person that would have the reaction to reject you, walk away from you, disappointed in you, then chances are they’re gonna be those things, whether you draw the boundary or not.
So our job isn’t to control them.
Our job is to keep ourselves self controlled and stable and sane in the process.
God never called us to control other people.
But the evidence, one fruit of the the evidence of god’s spirit in us is self control.
And so I think it’s important that we understand.
We draw the boundaries so that we can remain in control despite how out of control another person gets.
Are boundaries appropriate, um, in families with, like, say with your children, you know, um, some of the comments out recently when I asked a question, what’s the hardest thing you’re dealing with right now and how can Barry and I pray for you?
Was, you know, my kids are totally out of control. You know, I raised them to go to church.
They don’t care anymore. How do you apply good boundaries with children?
Well, we have to always think age appropriateness, and we do have a responsibility as a parent.
It’s not like, okay, I’m gonna draw this boundary.
And so because you refuse to clean your dishes at night, I’m no longer gonna provide food for you.
You know, I mean, that’s probably not gonna work because you do have the responsibility to care well for your children.
But I do think that age appropriately letting your children suffer the consequences of their choices is so much better than you stepping in and saying, don’t do this, but then rescuing them from the consequences of that choice.
Cause if they never feel, the consequences of their own choices, then they’re not gonna have the appropriate self motivation to change their behavior.
You know, I like to think of it like this.
Like if you and I were here today and one of us had a cardiac event, the other one was surely would jump in and do CPR.
And using external pressure, I could sustain your life for a little while. Right?
But at some point, if your heart does not beat and quicken and and just start to pump on its own, I can’t permanently sustain your life using external pressure trying to get your heart to change.
You’re gonna be super straight if you just try to put a boundary on them to force them to change.
What we have to do is change our mindset. We put a boundary on ourselves.
So that we reduce the access that we grant that person to our limited areas of capacity.
I’m not supposed to control another person, but I am responsible to control me.