Sunday, October 08, 2006

on target

Lately some concepts have come together in my heart and mind in ways I have never really considered before. I have had to recognize patterns in my life that aren't good or pleasing to God, but they are not things that I would expect to be in that category. I struggle with codependent behavior. I don't subscribe to pop psychology, so that is just a way of defining a blanket of tendencies that I have learned growing up with adults who had chemical dependencies. Is it possible to grow up without these tendencies? Yes. Do I blame my parents for things I do now? No. I simply recognize things in my life that are typically a result of a childhood such as mine, and while they seem normal to me, they are not godly or do not conform to scripture. I've heard it said that living with serial killers might seem normal were there not outside influences to challenge deviant behavior. To an extent our consciences signal bad behavior, but even those signals can weaken and fail over time.

One statement that powerfully struck me in a Beth Moore Bible study I'm doing now was that people who are empty are a stronghold waiting to happen. That means they are magnets for whatever may come along to fill that emptiness. One clue I found in scripture that helps solve the riddle was Proverbs 11:2, which says that pride causes shame and...emptiness. If we are proud we cannot receive things we need. Think about it-if you are too proud to ask for help, you will not receive help. If you think you know it all, you cannot receive knowledge. If you think you don't need people, you can't receive love. The definition of pride in my book is a person so full of themselves they have no room for anything or anyone else. The person most likely to be filled is the humble one who recognizes they need.

What I recognized in myself is that I want to be everyone else's sufficiency and answer. I love to give to people and be helpful. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But if I am more worried about doing for others or helping beyond my capacity, or if my giving is not directed of God, but from my own pride, my self-worth is dependent on my actions, not God. This is what happens to someone who lives with chemically dependent people. They receive their self-worth by enabling and caring for the dependent one, and that appeals to pride. In the case of an addicted parent and codependent child, roles are reversed and the child becomes the adult. Children are not emotionally equipped to do this job. I have come to understand if I don't regard myself as important as any person or ministry I assist, I'm in the wrong. I don't string myself out physically, emotionally or financially. There are limited periods where this might be necessary to a degree, but really, it is not what God requires and is dangerous for someone like me. I cannot be God for people-no one can.

I'm not talking about my own personal happiness. I'm talking about depending totally on God to lead me, and looking completely to Him for my own identity and personal worth as a human being. It is about trusting Him to fill me through His particular will for my life. This may include hardships, but it does not include abusing myself through the impossible demands of my own misguided needs or other people. I have to recognize where the line is. Much depends on staying very focused on what I know God has called me to do. Like an archer aiming carefully for my own target, and not trying to shoot a bull's eye for any one else, I focus every day on taking care of myself as would please God, doing His will, which He promised is not burdensome.


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