Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Confessions II. Nail My Glory

A message from the Lord on co-dependency

For many months already I have struggled to understand just what in the heck is wrong with me. And I have always felt so confused in my thinking and rationale about situations that I end up feeling stuck, trapped, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Lately, I have noticed an increase in my emotional response to these frustrations where I felt I was just hanging there with Jesus on the cross while various animals came to feed on me. My perception of people were that they were leeches just out to feed off of me and I felt I never got anything from anyone else. The moment I told God this, I realized what a lie from hell that was just consuming my mind and He spoke a really cool message into my spirit.

He said a variation of the following:

1. Stop trying to fix other people's neediness
2. Stop rationalizing in your own understanding why you should or shouldn't do something in response to someone's neediness
3. Everything you do is for Me, not for anyone else, but only Me. Fix your eyes on me and give only to Me.
4. I have carved your life in the palm of My hand. I know everything you have gone through. I have seen those who have cowered from Me because of your dedication to me. I have heard all the complaints against you from people that you don't even know of. 
5. I have ordered your steps
6. I love you. I have loved you from the foundation of the earth.
7. Rest in Me because in Me you will find joy, peace, and restoration. Rest in Me.
8. I did not intend for you to suffer in this way
9. Rest.

Somehow suddenly I realized I suffer from the following. I didn't even hear God's voice, nor did I seek to find it, but the realization was just there. I have been suffering from codependency. 

'''Codependency''' (or '''codependence''', '''interdependency''' ) is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as in an addiction to alcohol or heroin); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of or control of another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Patterns and Characteristics: Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns.

People who are codependent often take on the role as a martyr; they constantly put others' needs before their own and in doing so forget to take care of themselves.  This creates a sense that they are "needed"; they cannot stand the thought of being alone and no one needing them.  Codependent people are constantly in search of acceptance.  When it comes to arguments, codependent people also tend to set themselves up as the "victim".  When they do stand up for themselves, they feel guilty.

As I looked into this, I saw more and more how my behavioral patterns matched up too nicely with the definition of codependency. I also realized that the months of agitation towards people's neediness was just a prelude to my recovery from these mindsets. Below is a list of characteristics I pulled from wikipedia. I posted the ones I believe apply to me. Most of the ones listed on wikipedia do, except for all the compliance and control ones.

'''Denial patterns:''' * I have difficulty |identifying what I am feeling.
* I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
* I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
* I label others with my negative traits.
* I can take care of myself without any help from others.
* I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
* I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
* I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

'''Low self-esteem patterns:'''
* I have difficulty making decisions.
* I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
* I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
* I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
* I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
* I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.( in this case I want it over actually seeking it)
* I am jealous of the relationships between others I would like to have as my own.
* I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others
* I perceive myself as superior to others.
* I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
* I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
* I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

'''Avoidance patterns:'''
* I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
* I avoid emotional intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
* I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
* I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
* I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.(not all...but some. Mainly the ones that involve opening up to someone to reveal my insecurities)
* I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
* I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
* I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
* I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.( haha cuz I'm highly emotional)

'''Compliance patterns:'''
* I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.

'Control patterns:'''
* I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
* I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.
* I demand that my needs be met by others.
* I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.(I actually think other ppl think I'm caring and compassionate because of these things, I don't use them to convince others)
* I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.(I try to- but God always breaks me down to cooperate)
* I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, or rage to manipulate outcomes. 
* I have obsessive, compulsive thinking patterns and cannot focus on daily activities.

Wow! What a list of issues. I don't think all codependency is wrong, obviously God created relationships for His glory. But when we begin to act out in ways that attempt to manipulate people and situations for our personal advantage, I think we are not glorifying God, but we only glorify ourselves.

With that, I will forsake all that I thought was mine and nail my glory to His cross.

Nail My Glory

No more, my God, I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done;
I quit the hopes I held before,
To trust the merits of thy Son.

Now, for the love I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss;
My former pride I call my shame,
And nail my glory to his cross.

Yes, and I must and will esteem
All things but loss for Jesus' sake:
O may my soul be found in him,
And of his righteousness partake!

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before thy throne;
But faith can answer thy demands
By pleading what my Lord has done. 

Isaac Watts

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