Venting today about “jerks” in Christian service…

jerk

I have heard it said that spouses take on their partner’s offenses.

I guess you would say that I am guilty!  And, honestly, I don’t really think it is a bad thing to be guilty of this.  After all, when we marry, we are to be one flesh, right?

Yes, I take on the offenses of my husband!  For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that if someone purposely hurts my husband then you might as well have hurt me because I feel it just as badly as he does if not more so.

I don’t agree with all things that offend him and we discuss it if I don’t agree, sometimes his attitude changes because of my perspective but sometimes I do see things exactly the way that he does.

Just recently he talked to me about an occurrence and because I had experienced the same type of thing coming from this person I could not disagree with him.  I knew that my husband had been hurt.

This offense which I have worked through is what started my wheels turning about this post.  This particular issue is one that is avoided more so than confronted.

I have a question?  And, yes, I am thinking about one particular person right now, but…I have seen this happen in Christian circles all of my life!

Ok, so here is my question…If a person who calls himself a Christian and is even in some sort of Christian service, he may even be in full time service…and he treats the people who he works with “in the name of Jesus” like they are dirt…then why do those of us who know better turn our head and let it go?  Is that being Christian?

For some reason I don’t think so.  It is not being Christian or Christ like in 2 respects.  The one who thinks it is ok to treat people badly is definitely in the wrong and the ones who overlook his behavior are condoning his actions.

Yes, Jesus said turn the other cheek and forgive.  Yes, the Bible tells us to treat others in the same ways that we would want to be treated but does that mean that we just let a jerk be a jerk and act like a jerk all the time without calling it for what it is?  Do we go on and on, day after day without confronting the jerkish person and allow him to get away with what he is doing?  In essence, when we do this we are letting the jerk know that it is ok to continue acting this way.

I have seen jerkish behavior and people in leadership over those acting this way condoning it by being silent over and over again.

Of course I have someone in mind right now and I am venting, but if I acted like this person even one time, I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror, I would sneak off with my tail between my legs in hopes that I would not be reprimanded, all the while, reprimanding myself!  I would repent because I know that it is wrong.

That’s the difference in people, I guess.

How do you handle something like this?  Honestly, to me when there is someone who blatantly acts like this and tries to belittle people or makes disparaging remarks to their face or behind their backs, it is a reflection of those who are in leadership over them. I hate to say this, but the first thought that comes to my mind is that either the leadership approves of this behavior or does not have the backbone to stand up to the person and tell them to stop or get out.

Jerks drive good people away.  They are not good leaders and the only people who can work for them or with them are fellow jerks or those who have an extremely low self-image.  Sadly, those who have the low self-image will take it to heart and believe that they deserve the belittlement that they regularly hear.

A jerk drives the good customers away, too.  If they are in leadership, their employees/students reflect their attitudes.  Their families reflect their attitudes.  Allowing a jerk to get away with acting in certain ways by turning a deaf ear to their belittling remarks is doing no one a favor.  Think about it, are you in leadership?  Do you have a jerk who is subordinate to you who you constantly allow to get away with treating people badly with their words and actions?

When I dig deeper and think about it, I believe that a large part of this is about confrontation.

There are not very many people who like the conflict that is often created by confrontation.

So, what happens?  The jerks are allowed to continue to act like the jerks whom they have become.  It gets to a point where the jerks are the only ones who confront regularly and their confrontations are based on the biased opinions of their own egos.

Correction has never come to them and so they think that they are right.  With most jerks there is a serious absence of consciousness that their behavior is wrong or hurtful because they are so seldom corrected.

So, I am finished with venting, I have gone back and changed some offensive things I had written.  The main things that I changed were that I replaced one of the words that I had continuously repeated with the word jerk.  You can use your imagination as to what word it was.

Don’t take this personally because I do have a conscience and I know that I have probably stepped on a few toes.  Believe me, if you are reading this you are not the person who set me off.  You may know him but I doubt that you are married to him.

There is not enough talk in our Christian circles about to how to confront these types of issues.  We all get really hush-hush and go off saying that we are going to pray about it.  We tend to end up sweeping it under the rug.

Christians have a foundation that they can use to confront this issue.

I would ask that you take this to heart and if you are in leadership over a group of people, correcting the jerks would probably be a good idea before they run good people off.

Love and blessings to you,

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Beauty for ashes, it’s as simple as that…

beauty for ashesI have been feeling somewhat apathetic about the things that Mr. Joe and I have been passionate about for many years!   I have still been thinking about the future but the things that I used to want are drifting away from my desires.  New desires are coming forward and this honestly makes me a little uneasy.

I was in worship yesterday and I started praying about passion.  I started asking God about my own passion and I asked Him to give me back passion for something even if it was something different.

As I was praying, I started thinking about the things that I had been passionate about in the past and all that I could see in my spirit were ashes all around me.  The dreams that I have had in my life for myself and other people were a part of these heaps of ashes all around me.   I looked up to heaven and asked God, “Why do all of the things that I have been passionate about end up becoming ashes?”

One of my daughters lost her home and most of her belongings in a fire several years ago and I remember driving out to look at the damage.  When I first saw the ashes, all I could think of was the devastation of it all.  I wondered how in the world she and her baby daughter could replace everything that had been lost.   Everything that she possessed except what was in her car and at the babysitter’s had quickly become ashes while she was at work.

Seeing every dream and passion that we have possessed burned up and all that is left is a heap of ashes can be pretty devastating, too.

Back to what God was showing me while I prayed, I was surveying all of the ashes that were around me.  The ashes that were the dreams and people that I had invested my passions in.  I looked down and God reminded me that I had once been ashes by showing my feet to me.  My feet were still in the ashes.  He reminded me in a flash about who I once was and who I am now because of the fires that, at one time, had made me into a big pile of ashes.

I could see who I am now, standing in the midst of those ashes as if I had grown out of them and He reminded me of the scripture that I have held very near and dear to my heart.  The scripture that promised me that I would not be ashes but beautiful one day.

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of beauty for ashes 2vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:2-4

He has made something beautiful in me from those ashes and now it should be no surprise to me that all of the dreams and people that I have been praying for have been reduced to ashes.  It is only from the ashes that He does amazing things.

Those of us who have been students of the Bible for a long time know that God talks a lot about fire in the Bible.  We also know that the Earth (as we know it) will never be destroyed by water again but will be destroyed by fire when God deems that it is time.

After the fire that destroys the earth, we will see the promised “New heaven and earth” and my guess is that it will emerge out of the ashes of the old one.

beauty for ashes 1And now after He showed me these things I change gears and go back to this apathetic attitude I have been having.  I ask myself some questions…

Is it time for me to set all of the dreams and people who I have been passionate about aside?

Do I want to be safe? …or…

Do I want to take chances?

Is it time for me to retire and rest for the rest of my life?

Or should I just go til I wear this old body out?

Is the eternity that I have been promised enough time for me to rest?

I know that the dreams and passions that I once held dear to my heart are still there, I have just not been allowing myself to feel them, lately.

I believe that eternity is enough time…

And so, I will again take up my cross and follow the one who has given me “Beauty for Ashes”.

Love and blessings to you!

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peace and the seeking of it…

peacePeace.

Finding peace seems like a mountain but it is really a very small hill, not a mountain at all.

How many of us want peace?  How many of us dream for a life full of peace?  A peaceful heart?  How many of us never see the way to truly achieve peace?

Has anyone ever asked you what you want out of life?  What the most important thing is to you/for you to have?

I know that many people think that money is what would make them happy or Mr. Right coming into their life or being able to live in a place other than where they currently live or if they had a different job or if their spouse had a different job.  The list could be endless!

For many years when I thought of it or when someone asked me about it, the first thing that came to my mind that I wanted was peace.

Funny thing is that I thought that peace was something that had to be achieved.  I thought that all of my ducks would have to be in a row in order for me to receive peace.  I thought that certain people in my life would have to be acting in certain ways or even removed completely from my life and that my financial status would have to be at a certain level before the achievement could be possible.

We, as humans, do things that cause chaos in our own lives and because of this sometimes it seems that peace flees from us.

I have finally found that peace is from God.

Peace can also be a state of mind, a choice that we make on our own.

I struggle.

There are certain family situations that I have tried to understand.  I would analyze them and the people that they involved.  I would try to figure out what must have happened to those people to make them make the choices that they make.  I would analyze their families and try to understand why they thought it was ok to treat me in certain ways, act in certain ways and make the choices that they have made.

I have struggled with trying to understand why certain people whom I love struggle with drug addiction, alcohol addiction and mental illness.

I have spent hours trying to figure out why people whom I love dearly have struck out and purposely hurt me.

God created us with a brain.  We are the most intelligent mammal on this earth.  He gave us reasoning abilities and one of the mistakes that we make is trying to figure everything out.  Instead of achieving peace in our hearts about certain situations, the analyzing and thinking too deeply develops turmoil in our hearts.  It stirs up bad feelings.   It causes depression.

Depression, bad feelings and turmoil are not of God.

There are many things in this life that we cannot figure out and even if we are able to peace2figure some things out, in a short amount of time, there is something else in the back of our minds that comes forward and we take it up to try to figure out.

The bottom line is that we don’t really have to figure anything out.  God knows all of the answers and if we are supposed to know certain things He reveals them to us in His timing.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 says this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

If I believe that what the Bible says is true, what is this scripture saying to me?

It is telling me that all I have to do is trust God.  My own personal understanding will do nothing for me when it comes to getting to a place of peace or anywhere else that God has made available for me.  Letting go of all of those desires that I think will give me peace is the first step to receiving the peace that God has for me.

What is it saying to you?

Romans 5:1 tells me that:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

This tells me that if I have faith in God that I already have peace.  Peace is not the elusive goal that I think it is.  I don’t have to search high and low for it or figure out how to get to it.  It is already a tangible possession of mine.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

As I look to Jesus , the Prince of Peace, I gain awareness that He is all I need in order to gain the precious Peace that I so desire.

Struggling in our minds with things, relationships, situations is fruitless.  When we are struggling, we are in turmoil and we are never at peace.

peace3The opposite of struggling with these types of things is Acceptance.

Acceptance brings me peace automatically.

The truth is that I cannot change anyone but me.

I can choose to change me.

I can choose peace and grasp it close to my heart.  If I do this enough times it will become automatic.  Peace will become a part of me, a way of life.

Peace is a gift and it is up to me as to whether or not I make the choice to grasp it for me.

I have found peace and it was always within my grasp.

Love and blessings to you!

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Sparkling Surprises after things Fall Apart

sparkling2Granddaughter #3 is visiting this month.  I am so thankful for it because there was a time when I did not know if I would ever see several of my grandchildren again.

This has been exciting, life giving and at times it is wearing me out because she is 8 years old and a bundle of energy!

She’s a chatterbox with people she knows and trusts.  If she does not know you very well, she will shrink behind me or Mr. Joe and try to become invisible.

I am so thankful that she is with us this month.  I think it is helping me push myself into getting better.

The introvert in me is getting a workout for sure.  I have to be on my toes listening and interacting at any given time.

I have to be ready to move as far as walking, cooking, doing laundry, keeping things in our small space picked up, etc.   Although Mr. Joe has scheduled some time off from his volunteer work this month, it is for special outings that we have planned, not to do the extra chores around the house.

I even started driving for the first time last week.   It was the first time in 2 months that I had driven a car on my own and I had almost developed somewhat of a phobia about it because even though the sickness is much better,  weakness has settled in my feet and ankles.  I succeeded though in driving and am walking with a cane, now, and went up and down 2 flights of stairs twice yesterday very slowly.

When I initially got sick, went into the hospital and realized that I was more seriously sick than a simple cold or flu, I got concerned about Granddaughter #3  coming to visit because the plans were already in the works.  I wasn’t sure if I would be well enough but as proof of God’s faithfulness, He got me to a place of being just well enough for her to come and He is using this time to speed up my recovery.

For a time, even after being released from the hospital, I felt like things were falling apart and that I would never be normal again.  I would try to seek God’s face and I just could not seem to connect with Him.  I felt like He had abandoned me by removing His presence from my life.  I would wonder what I had done wrong to cause the abandonment.  All I could do was hold onto His extreme faithfulness to me in the past.

People prayed.  I tried to seek Him and talk to Him.  I did not “feel” His presence but Isparkling3 knew somehow He was there and that His word is true and that He would be faithful to me as He had in the past.  I also knew that the outcome might not be the one that I wanted but the one that was in His perfect plan for me.

So, what happens when things fall apart?

What happens when we stand tremblingly face to face with the faceless, dark shroud of death?

What happens when we don’t know how we will ever be able to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish because things have fallen apart?

What about when all of these things happen and we don’t feel the presence of God or we cannot discern His voice?

I have been wondering these things because it seems that although I have walked with God and have spent time with Him, have heard his still, small voice and experienced His faithfulness, it seems that when I am in the lowest depths of spiritual attack that I cannot hear His voice at all.  This is when I have to utilize the faith that He has built in me during the easy times.  I have to hold onto faith blindly and rely upon the truth that He has ALWAYS been faithful to me!

sparkling4He spoke to me in the devotion “Jesus Calling” (by Sarah Young) yesterday:

“Keep walking with me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to my heart.  I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you.  Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain.  The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak.  Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks; but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy.  All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.  Though the path is difficult and scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you.  It is truly the path of Life.

Comfirmation to me about this blog as well as the direction my life is going in.  Once we give our life to Him we don’t have to worry any more.

So…He has been and will be with me while climbing this mountain no matter how hard it seems and He has been and will continue to be with you while you climb your mountain.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to those “sparkling surprises”.  I’m also looking forward to dancing light-footed on the high peaks.

Love and blessings to you,

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Going in a different direction…while still “Climbing the Mountains”

7914bTwo years ago, I started this blog and I have never regretted it.  Sometime in the past month, the blog achieved its 10,000th hit and counting.  I am not saying that this is epic or anything, but it is a mile stone for me being that when I started it, I did not expect anything like this!

It was very scary for me to start blogging but I have to say that it brought on a lot of needed healing to my heart and soul that was needed.

I aired almost all of my dirty laundry under a pseudonym (or pen name) and what is funny, is that most of those whom I had been hurt by ended up finding and reading the blog anyway.

My life has changed and the blog is not the only reason why, but it played a big part in the healing process for me.  It became my public journal, the place where I removed all of those bandaids that had been covering up the festering, infected wounds that had haunted me for so long.  It was the place where one could read and actually see the truth about who I was.

Things have changed over the last few months and although I want to7914a continue an “online journal”, I no longer feel that I have to air helpful hints in order to try to “save” or “rescue” people.  The information that we need and the way out of any mess is already out there in many different ways and if anyone has found my information it is because they happened to Google something that pulled up links to this blog.

I am still on a journey, but the hurt and the pain has been removed from my life and my heart.  Yes, on occasion there are still problems and I am not nor will I ever achieve perfection but that gaping hole has been filled with something that God has put there and it is called healing, healing from my past, healing for my future, healing …

I don’t know if there are a lot of people out there who would be interested in my life, but I am going to change the direction of this blog to a direction that just includes what is going on in my life.  Good things, bad things, things in between…

I have been very ill for about 2 months now, and am slowly recovering.  It has been a long, hard road and honestly I still don’t really understand why the illness happened to me in the first place.  There was and will still be a lot of questions that I have and problems that I confront because of this illness.  The illness is called SIADH.  One of the things that I am dealing with in regards to SIADH is chronic pain.

As I have mentioned before, I am an empty nester, have multiple adult children and grandchildren in varying degrees of ages.

My husband, Mr. Joe, and I have a love for traveling abroad and sharing7914 our personal experiences with God with those who want to know Him more.  There are certain countries that we have visited that have captured our hearts and that are just waiting for us to visit again.  I can’t let an illness get me down to the point where I stop doing what I love.  Right now, we live and work on  the campus of a large Mission Agency in Colorado Springs, CO.

It was so hard to uproot and move here 8 months ago but I am still sooo glad that we did!  I love living here in this mild climate as opposed to the harsh Texas heat and humidity.

The plan, although I was ill, is to continue to teach preschool for a little while longer when our preschool opens back up in September.

I mention all of this because there is a plethora of information and thoughts in my heart and soul that sometimes are “just rearing to get out”.  These are the things that I will be sharing about from now on.

Interested?  Are there enough empty nesters out there to keep me in “business”?  Not sure, but there should be.

I am allowing God to take this blog to where ever He wants to take it from now on!  Can’t wait to see where we go with this because it will be an adventure.

Love and blessings to you!

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Climbing the Mountain of Enabling (part 2)

enabling6

Two weeks ago, when I began this series about enabling, I did not realize that it would be so hard! It has taken me a while to complete this post.  If you are reading this, you may have found this blog through a search engine.  Here is the link to the first part of this series:  Climbing the Mountain of Enabling (a mountain that will never be scaled)

Everyone has a different story and even though some of have similar stories, our lives end up going down different paths and in different directions, even then.

I feel like I must share some of my story:

I began enabling at a very early age…it’s pretty obvious, having spent my growing up years in a home where I was either a victim or ignored at any given time. It was prime and fertile ground for the roots of the destiny that God HAD NOT planned for me, to take a stronghold.

I never thought that I was good enough, I always had body image issues and because of this I unconsciously set out in life, setting my primary goal as to try to prove to everyone who I came into relationship with that I was good enough. How can one prove to anyone that they are good enough if they don’t believe it themselves? It can’t be done but I did not know this for many, many years!

One of the biggest parts of the disaster occurred for me when I came into relationship with someone in my early twenties who told me that he loved everything about me except that I needed to lose weight. I promised that I would lose weight, we got married and the tone was set for the marriage. Although he was sometimes violent, had all of the earmarks of an alcoholic and never did much of anything in the way of care for our home or children, he was a fair financial provider and I quickly became the one who never quite measured up because I just could not get my weight down and keep it down in an acceptable way to please him. Many Saturday mornings were spent at the kitchen table drinking coffee with him and me serving him hand and foot while I was getting lectured about my weight and how disappointed he was in me. If I argued it became a disaster.

Enough said, but this set the wheels for enabling much more strongly into motion for me.

No matter how much I overachieved in my marriage, no matter how much I did, it was never good enough, I was never good enough because I was less of a person because I could not keep that promise that I had made before we ever got married. Folks, it is absolute hell to live under this kind of guilt. Bottom line as I see it now is that I should have told this guy to take a hike if he did not accept everything about me unconditionally.

Even with these major obstacles, the marriage lasted for about 15 years. I became engrossed in my children’s lives, especially the three youngest. In my way of thinking, if I could not be an acceptable wife, I would be a better than acceptable mother! I spent my time pouring into them, making sure that they had all of the right clothes, my presence at school, good meals, homemade cookies and treats, etc. etc. etc.

I decided that because of the investment that I was making in my kids that they would always love me unconditionally. If I was a good mom, my children would never leave me, right?

Ultimately, my fear was that if I did not measure up that I would be abandoned by all! And because of this, I became so afraid of dying alone! Fear of abandonment was my motivating factor in almost everything! That and I loved my children desperately.

I just want to note that I am opening up the door and letting you into what enabling5was my messed up, screwed up way of thinking. They call it “stinking thinking” in AA and Alanon circles. It is not uncommon, but I had the impression that it was unique, only to me and I was not about to let anyone know what I was thinking!

At this point, I had not faced the fact that there was anything wrong with what I was doing. When I got very depressed, when things went awry with the children although part of me went off of the deep end by trying to fix what was wrong, I still did not take any responsibility for my own part in all of it. I blamed outside sources. I blamed my alcoholic/workaholic husband who, eventually, became my ex-husband. When he remarried, I blamed his new “perfect” wife who was also an enabler. I blamed other people for not backing me up.

When teachers talked to me about problems that my children had in school (especially with my youngest child, a son) I immediately jumped to conclusions and blamed the teacher for either not understanding him, for singling him out, picking on him or not liking him.   Of course, the blaming took place in my heart and I would pretend that I understood and agreed with the teacher.

When my children came to me because of a problem with another child or parent of that child, I was on the parent’s doorstep challenging that parent. In many ways I was a mama bear, for all of the wrong causes! The older I got, the older the children got, it became a personal affront to me if someone challenged me about my children’s behavior. One time, my grandmother who is still one of the most respected women in my life told me that I could not be both father and mother to my youngest son and that I needed to stop. Even in her ignorance over many other things and with only a high school education, her wisdom was showing through. Although I loved her, and listened to her I was very offended by what I labeled as her meddlesomeness, but now, hindsight is 20/20. She was right on target! As much as I was trying to cover up and fix, even in her eyes it was not working.

enabling4When one is an enabler, as life goes on and nothing is done or recognized about the problem, it becomes bigger. It escalates and becomes a downward spiral much like addiction.

In closing, my biggest goal in this post today is to let you know that enabling is not something that just happens, it begins in both parties (the enabled and the enabler) sometime early in the relationship and early in the lives of each individual. Those of us who enable are not bad people. We are not failures. Neither are the enabled. I shared the roots of my enabling and I know that yours are probably totally different. Enabling is a common problem with the characteristics being the same, although the circumstances and causes are always unique to each person.

Just to note:

Don’t say that you don’t want to be “like” me, ever. By saying that, you are judging me and for some reason, those statements have an eerie way of coming around to haunt us by happening to us! My prayer is that you see the signs and change them before it happens to you!

Love and blessings to you!

Godspeed,

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Climbing the Mountain of Enabling (a mountain that will never be scaled)

enabling2

When not in check,

I will:

                Pick up your shoes

                                Carry your pack

                                                Lie to your boss

                                                                Do your homework

                                                                                Remove rocks from your path

And strip you of the joy of saying…

                “I did it myself!”

(excerpt from “The Enabler” written by Angelyn Miller, MA)

 

When I first started this blog, one of my chief reasons was that I had searched high and low on a variety of subjects that I was working on in my personal life.  I had been disappointed to find that in Christian circles there was very little practical help for people who had certain problems.

The subjects that I am referring to were hard things such as “how an adult woman should deal with alcoholism or drug addiction within her family in a Godly manner”?  “How does one who is/was a victim of domestic violence and child abuse recover from the horrors and learn to live a healthy, peaceful Christian life?”  “How does one deal with depression?” “ What is depression and what are the roots of it?”  “And what about the big no, no that no one would talk about but that had infiltrated a large percentage of Christian realms…addiction to Pornography?”  “What about divorce, recovery from divorce, blended families?” (not the fairy tale versions of how it “should” be, but the realities of blending a family with the reality of still having crazy ex-spouses to deal with.)

Life is hard and, honestly, the “American” version of church is failing!  Not just a little, but Big Time!  Some of you may not like what I am saying, but it is the truth.

True, there are some mega churches who are starting to effectively tackle some of the above issues, but honestly when you look at them, who is in leadership?  Mostly, those who are in leadership are the so-called “perfect ones” who although we all have flaws in our lives, have been able to hide theirs enough in order climb the power ladders.  We “peons” who have lived imperfect lives and made mistakes that cannot be so easily covered up make up more than 50% of every church in America but we take our marching orders from the “perfect” leaders.

Back to my original goal for this blog…  It was to share experience, strength and hope on a number of tough subjects that in my research, and in my opinion the Church had let me down with when I was looking for Godly advice.  I thank God, that He made me an intelligent woman with an understanding that not all advice given in the name of “God” is of God and that I can take “secular” advice and apply it to my life in a Godly manner.

Something that I have found is that most of the “secular” advice, when dissected, can be applied to a Godly lifestyle, although there is some that cannot be.

The next subject that I am going to be talking about on this blog and I will be talking about it for the next few posts is enabling.

Do you know what enabling is?  Well, enabling in the psychological sense is defined in 2 different ways; one as a positive aspect of psychological recovery and, two in a negative sense when played out as a role of behavior in a “codependent” relationship.

Here is a definition of enabling that I agree with, found in Wikipedia:

In a negative sense, enabling is…used to describe dysfunctional behavior approaches that are intended to help resolve a specific problem but in fact may perpetuate or exacerbate the problem. A common theme of enabling in this…sense is that third parties take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. Enabling in this sense is a major environmental cause of addiction.

A common example of enabling can be observed in the relationship between the alcoholic/addict and a codependent spouse/parent/step parent. The spouse/parent/step parent who attempts to shield the addict from the negative consequences of their behavior by calling in sick to work for them, making excuses that prevent others from holding them accountable, and generally cleaning up the mess that occurs in the wake of their impaired judgment.  In reality, what the spouse/parent/step parent is doing may be hurting, not helping. Enabling can tend to prevent psychological growth in the person being enabled, and can contribute to negative symptoms in the enabler.

I have been guilty of enabling, I hate to admit it.  It is embarrassing, almost shameful toenabling me to make the confession.  It has been a long journey that brought me to the place of understanding that I had been an enabler.  There are many reasons, I believe, as to why I fell into this behavior, but still, cut and dried, it was enabling and very unhealthy behavior on my part.

As I write about this I will speak about some of the things that I have done to enable.

The greatest gift that was given to me by some who I was the guiltiest of enabling, was an excruciating 2+ years break in relationship with them that was initiated by them.  That period of time was in many ways the most difficult period of my life and in many other ways was the most enlightening period of my life.

Now that the break has ended, I have been and will continue to be very careful in the relationships because I do not ever want to play the enabling role that I did in them, again.

So, here are a few questions that may help you figure out if you are enabling someone:

1) Do you avoid potential problems by trying to keep the peace? Do you do whatever you can to avoid conflict because doing so will solve problems?

2) Are you in denial about your loved one being addicted? Do you think his or her drug or alcohol use is just a phase and isn’t anything to be concerned about?

3) Do you have a hard time expressing your feelings? Do you keep all your emotions inside?

4) Do you minimize the situation? Do you think the problem will get better later?

5) Do you lecture, blame or criticize the chemically dependent person?

6) Do you take over the responsibilities of the addicted person? Do you cover for and pick up his or her slack to minimize the negative consequences? Do you repeatedly come to the rescue — bailing him or her out of jail, out of financial problems or other tight spots?

7) Do you try to protect your addicted loved one from pain?

8) Do you treat him or her like a child? Do you enjoy taking care of your loved one and feel superior when you do? Do you still financially support him or her, even though he or she is an adult?

9) Do you try to control the dependent person?

10) Are you good at just enduring? Do you often think, this too shall pass?

11) Do you believe in waiting? That God will take care of this?

enabling312) Do you give him or her one more chance, then another and yet another?

13) Do you join him or her in the dangerous behavior, even when you know he or she has a problem?

(These questions were taken from dr.phil.com.)

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you may have a problem with enabling!  There is help for you, the first step to understanding your part in enabling is admitting that you are enabling to yourself within your own heart!

Love and blessings to you!

Godspeed,

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