Regarding Boundaries: The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

Regarding Boundaries: The Principle of Sowing and Reaping


CA-sow and reap

Henry Cloud and John Townsend presented their research based work in the book titled Boundaries , published by Zondervan in 2008. In the years following the release of that now classic work, they have gone on to publish a series of books that drill down into specific types of boundary issues, including teens, marriage, leadership,  kids, and face to face conflict management.

Physical boundaries can define where my yard ends and yours begins, or where one country ends and another begins.  Personal boundaries are much more intangible.  They can be easily breached because we oftentimes haven’t defined them, not even for ourselves.  Personal boundaries help me to identify and clarify what IS mine to own and take responsibility for and what is NOT, where I end, and where someone else begins.  Prov. 4:23 instructs us to

            “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” 

Cloud and Townsend  presented 10 basic principles as tools to help each of us establish and maintain healthy personal boundaries.   We will begin with their first Principle, and I will try to apply it in everyday, very practical, biblical ways.  Above all, I hope that these applications will spur each of us to think, to reflect, and to pray asking The Lord our God for His help:

#1:  The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

The New Living Translation of Galatians 6:7 tells us “Don’t be misled– you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant,” or as the King James says “You will always reap what you sow.”

So let’s get practical with this principle.  If I plant roses, I expect to get roses, if I plant tomatoes I expect to get tomatoes.  But in our relationships there can be a real disconnect for us.  It may not be easy for me to see or to admit that what I am reaping in this relationship is directly tied to what I myself am sowing into it. When I look at I Cor 13, I see God’s formula there for loving others.  One sure thing about the Word of God is that when I actually obey it, it works! My vision becomes clearer, my perspectives change, and my relationships smooth out in ways I never thought possible while I was attempting it in my own strength.

So–Let’s apply the principle and see what happens:

  • Sowing ~ I insist on my own way
  • Reaping ~ I get resentment and push back from you—mmmmm
  • Sowing ~I treat you rudely or with unkindness
  • Reaping ~ I get rude and unkind responses, [ouch!! that hurts]
  • Sowing ~I tend to keep a record of your wrongs (I just cannot help myself) and maybe worse, I bring them up whenever we are in conflict
  • Reaping ~ You keep your own list as ammunition and self-protection and throw it back at me

Ok, so what are the outcomes here? Relationships that are fraught with frustration, discouragement, resentment, or regrets;  one or both feel misunderstood, invisible, or worse, used and abused.

God’s Word is so clear that there is an absolute and direct correlation  — what I sow I will reap.  We can see it in our marriages, in parenting our children, in our professional relationships, and in our social relationships.  Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to “put off the old man and to put on the new man, in Christ likeness.

In the eyes of the world, this principle can diminish to narcissistic nonsensical thinking—“this will make life nicer, this will give me what I want, what you get is what you give–so be kind so they will be kind and it will make life nicer for you.”  But God’s ways are never superficial.  They are complex layer upon layer of meaning and value.  He always has our good and His glory in mind.  So, we do not obey to see what I can get out of it for ME.  Instead, let’s close out by looking at what GOD has in mind for His people when we apply His sowing and reaping principle into each of our relationships:

  • Sowing ~ I do not rudely insist on my own way
  • Reaping ~ You feel seen and heard, you feel included in the process, and you feel that you have something to offer to the relationship
  • Sowing ~I treat you with patience and kindness
  • Reaping ~ You feel loved, valued, and understood, affirmed in how God has made you
  • Sowing ~I keep NO record of your wrongs. I tear up your IOU to me, I give to you forgiveness with no strings attached as Christ did for me.  This means I never bring it back up again.
  • Reaping ~ You do not live in fear around me, wondering what am I going to throw at you. You feel understood in your failings, included in the community of us who fail regularly and run to Him for grace.  This allows you to live freely and unreservedly give yourself to your relationships.

I am sure you saw the switchover.  We went from “I” to “you” in every application.  When I believe God about ‘one anothering” I see myself beginning to walk in newness of a life that soars with joy, passion and peace with both God and others.

By Cindy Van Wingerden, PhD, RN

Now to Financial Brass Tacks

Now to Financial Brass Tacks

Budget lady


I hope if you are reading this post, you have already read my introductory post, “Why Don’t I Have Any Money” published on October 28.  If you have not read that post, I would encourage you to read that one first.  The purpose of this post is to take the first steps to gaining control of your money and knowing exactly where it goes on a monthly basis.  Before you read these steps, you are going to take a deep breath and smile knowing you are getting ready to experience freedom where you have once experienced either fear or apathy.

1.Take out a piece of paper. At the very top of the page, write your monthly income.  If you don’t have a good handle on an exact figure, just look at some pay stubs from the previous month.  Give yourself a yoo-hoo!  This is how much you have to spend.  Let’s get to it.

2. Understand your consistent expenses. We will deal first with the “easy” stuff, meaning the bills that are consistent and rarely change.  This will include these kind of bills:  mortgage, phone, electric, gas, water, insurance, etc. One suggestion to mention here is if you do not have your gas and electric on equal payment plans, I would encourage you to do that as soon as possible.  Most electric and gas companies have some sort of plan that allows you to do equal payments.

3. Subtract. I hope you have listed the categories above right under your income at the top.  Now you can just subtract those figures from the top amount. That will give you the income left to spend for the next set of categories. If as the month carries on, you recognize you have forgotten about a particular bill, just add it to the list to make sure you capture that expense.

4. Estimate your “routine” expenses. These are categories such as groceries and fuel. These two categories relate to your monthly bills because for most people once you know your habits, these two categories stay fairly consistent as well.  The big deal here is figuring out your monthly habits.  To do that, you will have to do some tracking.

5. Track your spending. I want you to “guess” at what you think you spend in groceries.  Pull out some portion of that in cash and see how well you know your habits.  As you run out of cash, continue to pull grocery money out to spend.  Our goal in this month is just to learn your spending habits. Fuel is a little harder to do in cash, in my opinion, because most people (including myself) pay at the pump.  That will leave you two choices in order to track this category. You can pull cash out so that you know for sure your fuel cost, or you can keep receipts to track your expenses.

6. Subtract your routine expenses. Once you get a decent handle on the total expense in groceries and fuel, you again need to subtract those amounts from the money left after bills.

We have a few more things to discuss, but that will come in another blog post.  Until that one is published, your goal will be to continue to work on these categories and start to recognize where else you may be spending your money. It will take some time to make this a habit, but it is SO worth it.  If this is all new to you, I want to be your personal cheerleader.  I can promise you as I know personally from working with many clients, that you are making the first steps to gain freedom with your money.  Give this a chance.  It may just change your life!!

By Karina Whisnant