I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my battle with codependency is ongoing. This morning I had another come-to-Jesus meeting and He showed me that my enabling behavior is certainly still an issue. We enablers unwittingly hurt those that we love the most by keeping them dependent on us when what we hope and pray for is that they will come to lean on Christ. At least that is true for me. I know that I can do nothing apart from God. He has blessed me in more ways than I can count. Have you ever convinced yourself that you are just sharing your blessings with those you love, when what you are actually doing is keeping them from growing up and facing the consequences of their actions and choices?
Without going into detail to avoid hurting feelings, I have to admit to impeding the growth of someone that I love very much. I repented for my actions today. I asked for forgiveness and the help of the Holy Spirit to correct my mistakes in a godly fashion. I prayed for the strength to stand behind my convictions and do what I know is right. After spending three hours with the Lord this morning I know what I have to do. I just want to do it in the way that Christ would have me do it.
Do any of you have a problem with getting a bit fired up when you feel passionately about something? Do you come across as angry sometimes because you just want to be heard? I have a problem with that. I grew up in a dysfunctional home where the person speaking the loudest was the one that got heard. That was usually my mother. We dared not try to speak over her or harshly to her, lest we wanted to pick ourselves up off of the floor. I don’t regret that my mother got physical to teach us respect. She was a single mother of four children. I can’t even imagine how it felt to be in her shoes. I remember how after one of her tirades when she’d taken the belt to one or all of us she would lock herself in her room and cry. The beating paled in comparison to listening to her sob afterwards.
We all grew up, made descent lives for ourselves and continue to have a healthy respect for our mother. In today’s world kids complain about the punishment they receive from their parents to a teacher, and the next thing you know Child Protective Services is at your door telling you that you can’t use corporal punishment on your own kids. The Good Book tells us in Proverbs 23:14 that physical discipline may well save our children from death. That sounds pretty serious to me. You need only look at today’s screwed up society to understand why God chose to include the instruction in His life manual. There’s a tangent I didn’t mean to take off on.
I bought into society’s way of doing things and only spanked my son twice when he was growing up. I won’t go into how that worked out. Suffice it to say that we are still experiencing some challenges. My issue with codependency, which came along at an early age, created many problems in lots of relationships, first and foremost the one with my son.
So back to my come-to-Jesus meeting. I know that many of you who read my blog believe in prayer. You may have been praying for a loved one or loved ones for a very long time. If you, like me, struggle with codependency, you may have figured out by now that it can be just as destructive and crippling as the addictions that those we enable deal with. If you are like me, you walk a line between helping and hurting. You occasionally want to beat yourself about the head because those you have enabled have such dysfunctional lives. You feel guilty and want to blame yourself for their lack of responsibility.
If that is you, I want to share what God spoke into my heart this morning. I can attest to the fact that asking for forgiveness and starting the conversation with a clean slate and an open heart is the way to go. He reminded me that people don’t change people. Only He can change the heart of someone. He will never force anyone to love Him or commit their life to Him. But He does have promises for our loved ones. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I used to beat myself up over that one because despite dedicating my son to the Lord as a baby and sending him to vacation Bible school when he was very young, I wound up dropping the ball.
I don’t remember when I stopped going to church or giving God the time of day. I entered into the bar business as a cocktail waitress at the age of seventeen. I was managing a bar by the age of nineteen and deriving all of my worth and value as a person from the job. I’m pretty sure that although I left God’s radar, He wasn’t on mine much at that time. I used the people and organizational skills that he blessed me with to be a darn good manager and employee. My penchant to get things done, even if it meant doing everything myself, made me a reliable employee. However, it made it easy for people to leave things for me to do because everybody knew that I would get it done. I was enabling even then, without a clue to its consequences to me or those that I cared about.
I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t turned it back over to God. I’m still a bit of a mess but as my mentor Joyce Meyer says, “I’m not where I need to be but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” Those come-to-Jesus meetings are needed less frequently. Don’t get me wrong. I talk to Him many times every day. What I’m speaking of is the times when I feel like I have to get on my face and ask for forgiveness because I have out-and-out blown it for an extended period of time. When I feel like I’ve blown it so badly that there may not be room for redemption. He leads me to Jeremiah 1:5 when I get in that state of mind. It says, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God knows me and He loves me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows my thoughts and my heart. I have a heart for Him and with the help of the Holy Spirit I will come to be more Christ-like. I will learn from my mistakes and let those that I care about learn from theirs. Pray for me and I’ll pray for you.