Could you hear me, if I told you codependency is only a symptom? The way you choose to respond to a relationship or depend on a relationship is learned.
Learned really? Yes! You learned it really early in your life with your primary caregivers.
Now as with all learned behaviors you can blame, shame and feel guilty about yourself and others or you can take action.
Personal Freedom Requires Responsibility
If you are an adult, you can choose to heal your past hurts, habits and hang-ups. Codependency or counter-dependency is a choice. What do you choose?
Ouch, we sometimes say to people who give us the outside vision of ourselves. If they do it with love and maturity for our betterment we might want to listen. We might listen, if our desire to change is great enough.
We need to listen with humble ears. That is exactly what happened to me a few days ago. A longtime friend gave me an outside picture of myself.
Not the vision I wanted, but the one I needed. My actions are not aligning with the words I am saying. The basic gist is that I am not moving forward because I am not acting. Or, I am acting on things that really have no bearing on my goals.
“Co” and “counter” dependents do this all the time. They keep reacting rather than acting. As my friend put it, “you are spending a lot of time running from what you would rather not do than running to what you want to to do.”
Do you have ears to hear that? Rather than run away, run towards. I need to stop focusing on the obstacles in the way and focus on the way to the goal.
In the Sober on Purpose Podcast, we give a very personal example of how I do this almost daily–daily for at least the last 7 years. A daily practice that keeps me stuck in the same pattern without any relief in sight.
Codependency: Discernment to Action
Are you someone who wants clear direction before you change? Or maybe you feel the change needs to happen outside of you? If they would just…?
As I have said before, if you are waiting on someone else to change so that you can be well (feel better, have a good life, make better choices), you might be waiting a long time.
Like all your life or at least until Christ comes again.
My word for this year is not discernment but action. Of course, we need to pray to stay in alignment with God and his plan for us. But Jesus also instructed his followers to go forth to talk, eat and live with others to share the Good News.
The true trouble with co- and counter dependence on either end of the scale is it takes our eyes off Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-3 You can Find more information on the co-counter dependent scale here.
Focusing away from Jesus leads us astray down a path of self-deception, self-help, self-pity, and self-aggrandizement. What are we trusting when we step away into counter or co-dependence? As we talked through on last week’s podcast.
A codependent trusts others to run their lives for them and a counter-dependent does not trust anyone.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
Our feelings don’t cause us to change, an action does. Repeating, the steps over and over causes a change in our belief. Let’s start with 2 easy actions.
Action 1: Pray
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thes 5:16-18
Action 2: Go forth
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So here is the question. How do you do these things we as Christians are all called to do, if you are so deeply mired in your own hurt, habit or hang-up that you can’t see, serve or vulnerably participate with others?
Your mission field may be your family, church, classroom, board room, shop or field. Your choice to have healthy relationships is important for the kingdom of God right here right now.
Three Steps to Take Today
Self-care- you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are constantly giving from an empty tank, eventually the tank will break. What simple daily things can you do to rebuild your supply of energy, time, and resources?
Detach with love- I realized just recently that I often jump into the conversation without invitation. Are you exhausted by trying to live your life and someone else’s? Where are you taking on responsibilities or jumping into situations that not yours? This week try detaching with love. Do something as simple as listening or walking away from a conversation that you are tempted to jump into.
Handing Back Responsibility– Jesus did not puff his chest out and say only I can make disciples. He disciplined the 12 to go and disciple others. Those 12 disciples set about teaching more people. People who shared Christ with others, thereby increasing the numbers of new Christians with their efforts.
One person taking all the responsibility for the relationship actually robs the other person of the chance to express responsibility, vulnerability, love, and security.
What is one thing you do that you could give back? You could give the responsibility for a meal a week to a child? You could give away the responsibility for walking the dog? Or, you could not just be overdoing for everyone? I bet you can think of one thing. One thing, that it would be a real gift in your life, if you gave that assumed responsibility back to the person or persons who need to handle it.
Be sure to listen to the Sober on Purpose podcast about the “great dish experiment”.
What Will You Do
What will you do to bring yourself more in line with your relationships? Leave a comment and let me know the single step you took to take your eyes off yourself and move toward Jesus.