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This week was one of the most intense & emotionally-draining of my life. (I crashed every night this week in a hotel room around 9pm, drained of every ounce of physical, emotional, & spiritual strength.)

This week also may well be the beginning of answers to a boatload of situations I've been bringing up to God. (It certainly kick-started the process in supernatural ways — making progress in ways I never could myself.)

For reasons of confidentiality (not mine, but another's), there are certain things I can share, & certain things I can't.  Here are things I've taught before, I saw this week, & I was reminded of again in a big way:

  • Sin destroys lives & relationships
  • Fear destroys lives & relationships
  • When you stuff, or swallow, or ignore your feelings, you hurt yourself & those you love
  • True growth requires a continuous series of courageous acts (#1 being recognizing your own fears as valid, and being willing to share them)
  • If you want power over something, you must bring it into the light (& if you want it to keep controlling you, keep it hidden)
  • The very act of revealing something to another person causes it to lose some control over you
  • You can't want someone else to grow more than they want to grow themselves (it'll destroy both you and them)
  • The only thing that you can focus on is growing yourself (and there's always more work to do there)
  • Cowardice limits growth
  • Communication requires a set of skills that can be learned — but it requires intentional development & constant attention
  • Sometimes, when people think they're helping, they're not! — they're actually enabling further dysfunction
  • "Helpers" are often blind to the fact that their "help" is actually hurting the very person they want to help!
  • The most important relationship work may drain you of every ounce of strength — but it's all so very worth it
  • There's always hope

I was also reminded this week of the story "The Prodigal Son" (Luke 15). It reminded me so much of how someone breaks the cycle of Dependency & Co-Dependency in a healthy way. If you haven't heard those terms before:

  • "Dependency" is basically when a substance and/or behavior exercises destructive control over you. Dependency is often connected with distorted thinking, deception, & denial.
  • "Co-Dependency" is basically the compulsion to help a person who is "dependent." Co-dependent people often start with best heart & best intentions. However their "help" ends up hurting the very person they are trying to help! In other words:
    • Co-Dependent people are sincere
    • Co-Dependent people care
    • Co-Dependent people are just "trying to help"
    • Co-Dependent people see someone make bad decisions
    • Co-Dependent people start to fear the consequences of the other person's actions
    • Co-Dependent people try to shield them from the consequences of their own behaviors
    • Co-Dependent people start doing things for others that the others should be doing for themselves
    • Co-Dependent people begin to wear themselves out because they are trying to run their own life and the other person's life
    • Co-Dependent people eventually grow frustrated with the person they're trying to help
    • Co-Dependent people see the person they're trying to help get frustrated with them
    • Co-Dependent people end up helping the other person get worse (which is the opposite of what they want!)
    • Co-Dependent people are often totally blind to this ("But I'm only trying to help/protect them!")
    • Co-Dependent people often have no idea that they are helping it get worse

But the story of "The Prodigal Son" (Luke 15) is awesome! Here's a parent who decided that, although he loved his son so much, he could not make his son's decisions for his son. (After all, his son was an adult!) So he did the only thing he could do. He let his son make his own choices, suffer his own consequences, and get to the point that his son wanted the help. Now to do this, the parent had to deal with his own fears of the relationship being severed & his son really, really hurting himself. But when his son was ready for a change, the parent went running to him to help him make his own, new, right decisions.

That's wholeness.

That's Christ-likeness.

That's Biblical.

That's freedom.