Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Table Tipping Part 1

13 Then it was time for the annual Jewish Passover celebration, and Jesus went to Jerusalem.
14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices, and moneychangers behind their counters. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out, and drove out the sheep and oxen, scattering the moneychangers’ coins over the floor and turning over their tables! 16 Then, going over to the men selling doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Don’t turn my Father’s House into a market!”
~John 2:13-16 (The Living Bible)

When you think of Jesus, do you think of him this way? As a man who would use a whip to chase people out of the temple, while turning over their tables and scattering their money all over the floor? If you are anything like me, you probably think of him as more of a "turn the other cheek" kind of guy. One who sought peace in any and all situations.

But that is just not the case. While he did strive for peace, he also would not tolerate certain things. And you know what? Neither should we!

Now, before you start writing me, telling me that what I am about to say has absolutely NOTHING to do with why these verses were written, I already know that. My purpose is not to take anything away from these verses, rather to show you how I feel we can relate to them in a different way. The more I thought about them, the more I realized each part of our lives is sort of like a table. These tables become filled with things we allow into our lives; good or bad.

I have realized, in my own life, there are certain "tables" that need to be overturned. There are things I have put up with for far too long and while I may have been upset by them, I was not willing to tip over the table. The older I get, however, the more I realize some tables MUST be overturned for change to take place.

 While God does require us to love others, he does not command us to be their doormat. I am beginning to learn the difference between allowing myself to be taken advantage of, and tipping the table to bring about much-needed boundaries in my relationships with others.

In their book, Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend write, "Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership".

Perhaps you have allowed others to manipulate you, use you, take advantage of you...the list could go on and on. Maybe it is time to start tipping some tables!

Have you ever heard the song by Little Big Town, Little White Church? If you haven't, here are some of the lyrics:

You've been singing that same old song
Far too long, far too long
Say you'll buy me a shiny ring
But your words don't mean a thing
No more calling me baby, no more loving like crazy
'Til you take me down
(Take me down)
You better take me down
(Take me down)
Take me down to the little white church

Read more: Little Big Town - Little White Church Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Sounds like a lady who did some table tipping of her own!

We cannot control how others choose to behave, but we can control how we respond to their behavior. What I do or don't do, say or don't say, shows others how they can continue treating me. If I put up with something, just for the sake of keeping that table upright, people are going to think that it is okay to keep filling my table up with disrespect, manipulation, bad behavior, etc.

Where do you need to create some healthy boundaries in your own life? In what areas are you allowing others to control you? Is it with your spouse? Your parents? Siblings? Friends? Co-workers? Children?

Now, I will warn you, people usually don't appreciate you tipping the tables on them. While you may not have liked what was happening to you in the past, you did allow it, so people have gotten used to treating you a certain way. When you put your foot down and say (in love) that you will NO LONGER allow yourself to be treated that way, people may not like what you have to say. The dynamics of your relationship may change, and it may not be for the better. That is the price you have to pay for table tipping.

If you have allowed others to fill your tables with things you do not desire in your life, it is time to tell them that, from now on, things are going to be different. They may still behave the same way, but you will no longer allow their decisions to affect you, or to fill your table.

Maybe you thought you had healthy boundaries in place, but over time, your life fences have fallen into disrepair, and it is time to do some necessary maintenance. A fence is only as strong as its weakest spot. It's time to re-establish those boundaries!

If you need to tip some tables, but are hesitant to do so, what is stopping you? How long will you allow others to fill up your table with things you don't want? How long will you allow yourself to be used, manipulated, and taken advantage of? The time to put a stop to it is NOW.

Let the table tipping begin....

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