After a time of severe testing that included losing a job, physical limitation, moving to a new place, money problems, and little emotional or spiritual support, I realized the one person I could really open my heart to was the Lord. He wasn’t like Job’s friends offering unsolicited advice and faulty theology. He simply wasn’t religious. He wanted me to trust him when I didn’t understand him, and he was going to do what was best for me no matter how I squirmed.
I remember sitting on my couch and talking to him as if he were in the chair facing me. I had to smile even though so much had gone wrong, because it finally hit me, “Lord you’re not codependent”. He’s not afraid to say no, confront us with the truth, set boundaries or lose the relationship. He gave us free will. And we can walk away from him anytime we choose like the rich, young ruler in Mark 19:16-22, who decided to keep his wealth and leave. Yeshua didn’t run after him yelling, “Hey, you’re making a really bad choice. Okay, sell half of what you have but follow me”. No, the young man left Yeshua standing on the road looking sadly after him, but not interfering. God is looking for an army of lovers.
A classic definition of a codependent relationship is one where one person enables another’s compulsive behavior, immaturity, inconsistency, irresponsible actions and addictions to continue. One of the most serious components of codependency is the inordinate need for approval.
Let’s face it. God is not afraid to upset us. We ask why aren’t prayers answered the way we want? Why does God seem so remote at times? Why does he seem to throw a veil over our future? Why does he put us through heartbreaking seasons?
God understands these questions. He factors them in to our growth process, and doesn’t judge us, but that doesn’t stop him for doing what’s best for us despite the anguish it may cause.
He knows the deep programming we’ve all received at some level that generates the lies we believe about ourselves and others, the wounds that motivate us under the surface. Therefore, God often puts us in circumstances that are like receiving a live vaccine against our particular weakness in order to inoculate against further damage and ultimately restore us. What the enemy means for evil to reinforce sorrow, God turns for good, if we let him.
Think of Joseph in the pit, Daniel in the den, Yeshua sleeping in the boat while the disciples are traumatized by the storm at sea. They only understood later the power of faith, God’s control over creation, his ability to get them to the other side, and how to confront crisis with calm. How else could they learn?
By the way God doesn’t want you in a co-dependent relationship either. So here are some of the signs: an inability to say ‘no’ when that’s needed, wanting to please the other at the expense of your own integrity, feeling responsible for the other people’s emotions and reactions, inability to set appropriate boundaries, a tendency to be controlling through excessive caretaking or people pleasing, and putting others on the throne instead of God.
The Lord models freedom for us. The best ‘treatment plan’ for co-dependency is found in the Serenity Prayer.
God, grant me the serenity to accept
the things that I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as He did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that He will make all things right,
If I surrender to His will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.