For the co-dependent it is necessary to realize that God is really not a respecter of persons. We are equal yet different as His children. Although scripture tells us “it is not by works that we are saved” a codependent can be manipulated into many activities. This is fueled by their need of approval. This often causes them to develop a surface relationship with God. Their busyness leaves little time to “be still” and find the freedom and rest only God can provide.
What is happening to our Christian families? Codependency has become a major dysfunction. Families are experiencing a famine in the area of healthy nurturing. Let’s begin to break generational cycles of codependency. Why is this necessary? A person who is co-dependent is trapped in a compulsive cycle of control. They are usually over achievers who are virtually motivated by their desire to be loved. They often have been subject to major rejection in their early childhood. In order to feel a sense of security they will over extend themselves in many activities in order to gain the approval of others. It is very difficult for a co-dependent to deal with someone who they can not control. They will often even appear submissive in order to gain control of someone. This behavior is really manipulation in order to dominate.
The boundaries of a co-dependent are usually blurred. The hurts of childhood abandonment and rejection fuel their need to control. They have a great need as well to be the center of attention. Unable to let go of the past they really feel empty and unloved. They are usually high maintenance people. Their constant need of approval is countered by resentment when not satisfied since they suffer from low self-esteem. As I have said before and will say again and again “your true security and significance can only be found in God”.
For the co-dependent it is necessary to realize that God is really not a respecter of persons. We are equal yet different as His children. Although scripture tells us “it is not by works that we are saved” a codependent can be manipulated into many activities. This is fueled by their need of approval. This often causes them to develop a surface relationship with God. Their busyness leaves little time to “be still” and find the freedom and rest only God can provide. Contrary to popular belief you are not required by God to participate in most man ordained auxiliaries especially at the expense of neglecting your family. Pastors as well as Christian workers who suffer from co-dependency must be careful not to be pre-occupied at the expense of not having some time for their own families. Your works should display your faith not someone else’s. Creating healthy boundaries are necessary. Spend some time developing your personal intimate relationship with God. Begin to implement His principles in your life. Grace and peace is multiplied when you increase your knowledge of GOD!
Consciously allow what God desires and requires of you to override your need to control and/ or gain the approval of others. Don’t be a people pleaser! God is not impressed by manipulation. Always examine your motives in the light of His WORD. Take charge by letting go, which is the opposite of controlling. Remember scripture says it is “the meek that will inherit the earth.” Meekness is not weakness it is power under control. Cycles are hard to break but with God even the impossible is possible.
The family system of a co-dependent usually has a powerful effect on their behavior dynamics. Often there is a scapegoat, a martyr and a hero in the co-dependent family. The scapegoat gives everyone something to focus on rather than deal with the real problem. The martyr sacrifices for everyone and feels sorry for themselves. The hero makes the family look good to outsiders. A multigenerational pattern of faulty unhealthy dynamics can appear as normal. Do you notice any generational patterns? Unconsciously the family will fight to keep these dynamics operating.
All families have an element of dysfunction. Destructive family dynamics have been in operation since the beginning of time. The story of Joseph tells how his Dad favored him over his brothers. Joseph’s father gave him a beautiful coat. This caused so much jealously between them that they designed a plan to destroy Joseph. His brothers called him a dreamer. Little did they know that the Lord had His hand on Joseph. God being in control worked this to good although their plans were evil. In the final analysis Joseph became the chief provider for his family as well as country. Eli was a priest. Although a servant of the Lord he had two sons who were outwardly rebellious. They disrespected not only the offerings but the people of God as well. I wonder how much time Eli spent nurturing his own sons?
Family secrets such as mental illness, incest, abuse and alcohol or drug addictions often go unaddressed in the co-dependent family. Denial becomes a survival dynamic for the family. This fosters an unhealthy physical as well as spiritual environment. Family secrets are often described as though one has a white elephant in the living room. Everyone just walks around it as though it doesn’t exist. Or they just avoid it altogether. Thinking it will just go away. It won’t! Christians need to take a stand and move to a higher level of functioning. We must learn to address the sin issues in our families and not continue to make excuses. Sin is anything that separates us from the Lord. God has promised to direct our paths when we put our trust in Him. We must learn to responsibly take responsibility.
God in His Omniscience is well aware of the shortcomings of all of us. We must look at the unhealthy dynamics in our family of origin and consciously find ways to abandon the generational cycles. Don’t continue to sweep things under the rug. Learn to confront issues as they arise. It’s never to late! Start by not supporting or reinforcing any unfavorable behavior. The truth must be faced to break free and enjoy the present.
Sometimes it is necessary to pursue professional assistance to resolve family conflict. A conscientious therapist should be well informed about inappropriate behavior. They objectively are able to recognize that the faulty behavior presented is really a mask for an underlying unmet need. The co-dependent needs to find a positive channel to release inner tensions. A family intervention is useful in most situations. Then proceeding to establishing a way in which their unmet needs can be satisfied is recommended.
In a Therapy environment a healthy atmosphere is crucial. The equal safety of the client and the safety of the therapist should always be a priority. A committed Christian therapist knows the importance of establishing healthy boundaries. A congruent environment implies that the therapist is trustworthy, genuine, integrated, and openly honest. There are many cultural differences that can inhibit a fluent understanding of the client. Stereotype thinking must be abandoned. Each client must be viewed as an individual. Labeling often changes peoples perceptions of others. There is a substantial diversity among any given group of people.
Christian therapy although not new is often unwelcomed from anyone other than the pastor in some instances. Many pastors who may be well-versed in scripture may not be equipped in some areas of counseling. Many on the other hand or overwhelmed by their ministerial duties. There are some pastors who should not counsel, especailly if there is a history of infidelity… The sincere efforts of a Christian therapist although well meaning may be often misconstrued as out of line and unwelcomed.
The use of small cell groups can often be quite therapeutic and beneficial for the co-dependent as well as for managing other interpersonal problems. A conscientious facilitator will maintain order and model control. Confidentiality and free expression should be encouraged. Conflict arises when individuals become resistant to someone’s insight or opinions that have been communicated. Uncontrolled anger is not welcomed in a cell group. Establish boundaries. Keep the group spiritually based. Making use of regular Bible study and prayer are key elements for success.
Emerging from codependency is painful. The compulsion to rescue dependent people is really a form of bondage. God never intended for any of us to be slaves to sin. Self-control is a fruit of His Spirit. His resources are unlimited. The co-dependent person first must acknowledge their compulsion to control. They must work towards redirecting their inclination towards other control to self-control. To seek healthy ways to have their unmet needs fulfilled. To process dispelling dysfunctional cycles this is a must. Don’t allow pride to hinder your progress. It is an obstacle to your well-being. God also hates pride it is an abomination to Him. Confess any known sin and press forward. It takes courage and a lot of hard work. It is in our weakness that we can become strong through God’s awesome power. God has left the Comforter which is His Holy Spirit to lead teach and direct you. Never forget God loves you! Take control by taking control of yourself. Learn the benefits of meekness. Know that your body is the Temple where God’s Holy Spirit resides. It is so very important to learn how to trust God, daily embrace HIS principles and know that everywhere you are GOD is always a prayer away. The truth really will set you FREE!!!
What’s eating You?
Anorexia and Bulimia are serious compulsive eating disorders that are life threatening. These compulsive behaviors if not properly attended can result in death. This is not to scare you but to inform you that eating disorders are quite serious. I would like to shed some light on a serious subject that many do not like to discuss. In order to reach spiritual wholeness we must be willing to look at all human behavior. Everyone has areas in which they need to grow. Some have a harder time harnessing harmful behaviors. Behavior displayed does not actually display a true indication of how someone really is. Personality is often a veneer that has developed in order to protect the real person. Personalities vastly differ on a multiplicity of levels. Behavior can actually be a plea for help. Compulsive behaviors need immediate attention.
Anorexia and Bulimia is not something that is usually openly discussed. Anorexia nervosa is a self induced starvation that results in a dramatic weight loss. Bulimia is when one binges on large amounts of food that is followed with self induced vomiting or laxative abuse. This can or may not result in weight loss. Both are extremely dangerous and harmful both mentally and physically. Food for many can bring to mind memories of pain, abuse, anger, failure, rejection and or conflict. Although women primarily develop eating disorders, there are approximately 10% of men who are also anorexic or bulimic and the numbers are growing. Eating disorders usually have their onset during adolescent or teens. They can also develop later on in life.
Anorexia and Bulimia origins are nested most frequently in dysfunctional families of varying social economical status. There are currently programs designed for children as well. This should inform you of the seriousness of eating disorders Denial is often an accompanying dynamic. Anorexics usually deny their feelings. They have been taught to suppress their feelings.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms. One of the first symptoms of Anorexia is when a person is focused on how they are too fat; when it is quite obvious that is not the case. They continually shift their desirable weight down. It is not unusual for an anorexic’s hands, feet, and head to appear far too big. They continually restrict food to lose dramatic amounts of weight. They often wear bulky clothes or sweaters to mask their actual body size. It is also accompanied by the over use of laxatives; and or diet pills. Low self esteem and being over perfectionistic. Maintaining rigid control and excessive exercise. Depression, deceitfulness, guilt and irritability are often present as well. Anorexics are proud of their ability to restrict and control the amount of food they do or do not consume. Voluntary starvation can lead to emaciation and sometimes death. YOU NEED HELP!!!
Let’s look at some of the symptoms for bulimia. The person is caught up in a binge-purge pattern of eating. They can consume vast amounts of food and relieve themselves by self induced vomiting, They often observe food rituals. Low self esteem and being overly perfectionistic are apparent. The person looses control once they start eating. Food actually becomes a calming agent and somewhat of a companion. One common bond in anorexia and bulimia is the person really wants relationship and the approval of others. It is highly likely that there has also been sexual abuse. It is important that you lovingly confront someone with an eating disorder. It is important that you are honest about the way they look. You must be willing to take the risk at them being upset. You should also be willing to take part in their healing. It is important that they receive the professional help they need. You too will need support during their recovery process. It is most helpful to learn more about eating disorders.
There are cases when a person is a combination of the two. This is known as bulimarexic. They vacillate between the two disorders. It can be confusing because the individual does not acknowledge there is a problem. Denial is present since they do not actually fall into either category. Weight gain or loss, digestive problems, heart problems. anemia, forgetfulness, erosion of tooth enamel, glandular functioning, hypoglycemia, and impulse control order are some of the many side effects.
How does one BEGIN TO HEAL? In severe cases an inpatient treatment program is best. A person’s weight must be closely monitored. In some cases initially treating them for depression is necessary. One thing that is necessary for healing is that they come to terms with the “Truth” of how they are feeling. One must make a conscious effort to look at their life, their family system and how they have been affected. In order to become whole they must learn to look at themselves, and others differently. Eating disorders are a family affair. Restructuring of the family interactions and dynamics are crucial. Obsessive compulsive issues to food and unrelated to food need to be addressed. Anorexia can affect major organ system functioning. Love, diligent prayer, intmacy, transparency and consistent accountability by all involved with the HEALING PROCESS is very important!
The family system must be changed. Creating a healthy environment of honesty, love and support will facilitate healing. Build a support buddy system. Become accountable and responsible for a proper diet. Replacing your void with healthy and fun activities and making a point to eat regularly with family. Just know that you also gain control by deciding to eat properly. Believe what the scale says when you can’t believe the mirror! Healing takes time. But putting forth the effort is worth the time. You are worth it! Dysfunctional dynamics have often become the norm for many. The unhealthy use of defense mechanisms, the lack of the ability to be who they are, the need to please others and the rageaholic and /or controlling family issues must be dealt with.
God wants us to be whole. Being whole does not mean being free of conflict or problems. Life will continually present challenges. Challenges brings about spiritual growth and development. God also wants us to be perfect. Godly perfection does not mean being free of flaws. Godly perfection companions are an inward peace of mind and accepting the fact that God has uniquely created you. It means learning how to embrace who you are. Who God intended you to be. Realize that “NO ONE CAN BE A BETTER YOU THAN YOU!” It means learning how to be content in the light of His Word. Then cautiously moving forward in life discovering who you are? To be perfect in Biblical terms simply means to be complete in Him. No it does not mean you have all the answers. But it does mean having a healthy relationship with God who does!
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder. Pray for or with them and care for them sincerely! I truly believe that as long or short as the Lord has us here it is to learn. When we learn all there is to learn, if you are His child He calls you home. Learning to relate to food, people, things, problems and situations is a lifetime learning experience. But you can start today if you have not already; living life differently. You can live life preparing for eternity. This will also relieve you of much unwarranted anxiety. God knows ever single solitary thing that has happened in your life and everyone else lives as well. GOD LOVES YOU! God really does know your heart. God can and will teach you how to guard your heart properly. God wants you to have that abundant life His precious Son, Jesus Christ died for. He wants you to enjoy and learn how to properly nourish your body both spiritually and physically. He wants you to live a balanced life. He wants you to be emotionally whole.
Yes you will continue to have sorrow, grief and disappointments. Yes, the world is getting worse. Yes, our country is in a recession! Yes, life is and will be difficult at times. Drugs, alcohol, sex, money, food and yes even hard work can be all used in an attempt to fill emptiness in your life. There must be a balance. We must learn to properly relate to life in a manner that pleases God. God has a purpose for your life only you can fill! In the midst of this world you we are given the opportunity to have a Comforter! You see Jesus purpose was that we have life and have it more abundantly. This does not just mean materialistically. It means in every way. It is the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy……. You do not have to focus on the enemy when you know that your life is truly in the hands of the Lord. Yes, it is important that you know how he operates. You do not have to focus on what others think when you know that God’s knows the depth of your heart. He knows why you do or do not do whatever! God can free you. He only can give you the PEACE that surpasses the understanding of man.
Start anew today! God wants to fill the void in your life that only He can fill. Most important He loves us enough that He allows us the opportunity to choose. Allow His Holy Spirit, His Comforter to comfort and abide with you 24/7. I truly believe that there is absolutely positively nothing that is too big for God to handle. Begin today and everyday by allowing the Lord His place in your life, heart and home. He can help you and teach you how to properly physically, emotionally and spiritually nourish your body, mind and soul. God is your Maker and Creator. God has promised to work “all things” not some things which means even the bad things. God has said “all things work together for good. For those who love Him. For those who are called according to His purpose” When you are walking in the Spirit there is no condemnation. You can always trust, lean, depend, stand and count on God.
YOU CAN rise ABOVE your EATING DISORDER?
Whenever you are amidst spiritual warfare or when a crisis arises, it is important that you seek and learn to “BE STILL.” Being still does not mean that you are unconcerned or oblivious to what is happening. You are not simply just doing nothing. Nor is it a delusional state of unconsciousness rendering being in denial. You are not having erroneous illusions of grandeur. You are not being self-centered. Quite the contrary. You are God centered! Your spiritual awareness is actually heightened. It is a non combative state.
During spiritual warfare or a crisis, usually there is much stress. People often respond in ways that are counterproductive. One will tend to make hasty decisions and become easily angered. Over indulgence in drugs, alcohol, or some other substance or unfavorable activity is not advised. You may even become passive since there is a lack of coping skills. Instead it really is very important to be responsible. Instead strive to be more attentive. Be alert to your surroundings as well as those about you. Learn to become flexible and resilient, so you will not get towed along. Being still is a state of mind that helps you remain focused. Staying in a cognizant preferred chosen calm state of tranquility. Not walking in weakness, but making a sincere attempt to submit to a disciplined practice of walking in “meekness.” Here your faith and trust is rooted and grounded in the Lord.
You seek to be led by the Spirit!
It helps sometimes to also keep a sense of humor about it all. Just know, a bit of appropriate laughter is a good antidote for the soul. Laughter helps to keep things within a healthy responsive balance. Readily enlist earnestly the opportunity to “pray unceasingly.” To be aware that the often orchestrated situation at hand, really wants you to “act out” or respond in an unseemly, improper or inappropriate carnal manner. Which really only wants to cast you in an unfavorable light to simply mar your testimony.
Take a few moments of personal Worship and Praise!
Having the Lord within your life truly does make all the difference in the world! It is quite splendid! As we grow in His grace we learn to respond or not respond by embracing the Fruit of His Spirit! You care more, but react less impulsively. Your desire is to please Him as well as your commitment to Him increases as well. You learn to incorporate “Praying without ceasing” into all areas of your life. This conscious state of being keeps you connected to the Lord. You choose to focus on the Lord rather than get pulled away from your center.
Know that there is always spiritual warfare all about us even in the midst of corporate worship!
One must learn to depend and call upon the Lord wherever we may be. This is often in an inaudible way, momentarily and meekly inwardly bowing, knowing that your heart becomes an immediate altar. Since we cannot avoid crisis learn to invite God into the messiness about you. It is possible as the Word says; “to be angry and sin not.” Trusting and knowing that God knows your heart and always hears your cries. Remember Psalm 27; “The Lord is my Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid…” In His time He can and will deliver you from any and all evil! Ephesians clearly tells us to “Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on your spiritual armor of God so when the evil day comes, you may be able to stand your ground…….” Ephesians 6
The Greek word for crisis is krinein, which means “to decide.” Crisis and spiritual warfare can come at unexpected moments. Usually the decisions that you have to make are life changing. decide to take some time and “BE STILL.” Know that God is always near. See this as an opportunity to put in practice what it means to exercise “patience.” His Blessed Assurance can truly be experienced, once born of His Spirit! Always keeping in mind that God knows and has everything under His complete control really helps.
Once you become a child of God it is important to get to know Him. Draw close to Him. Your ongoing up close, personal and intimate relationship with the Lord is more important than anything or anyone! Absolutely nothing can take God’s place in your life He has embedded deep within each of us a place that only He can fill. One must avidly commence to daily seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him we are merely walking breathing shaped dust.
God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. We are to read, ponder, digest, and dwell upon His Word and implement the principles therein. Our desire should be to respond in a way that pleases Him. To know the difference between the “works of the flesh” and the “Fruit of His Spirit” that is discussed in Galatians 5. We need not make excuses for sin but readily repent. Sin separates us from the Lord. His Word truly is meant to be our Life Manual! It is essentially, imperative to keep in mind that the people, situations and scenarios presented really did happen. He has given us fabulous examples. There is a plethora of wisdom in the Scriptures. So much so to a degree, that it can boggle your mind. This is why it is important that we ask for His promised Comforter to fill us, to illuminate our understanding while journeying through its tasty, appetizing, palatable pages.