Recovering from codependency is kinda like living in Florida—days go by when everything is sunshine. Then wham! out of nowhere, you’re hit with a surprise storm and find yourself drenched head to toe standing in the onslaught, wondering how it snuck up on you from a clear, blue sky.
I’ve faced the undeniable fact that codependency is an addiction—the irrational and insatiable desire to play God in the lives of everyone around me. Like any other addiction, it’s usually easier to squelch its temptations when we don’t live in denial. The challenge is it never goes away. Once a codependent, always a codependent.
Because of that, my radar is always up. I’m always alert for red flags and the Lost in Space B-9 Robot’s tubular arms swinging back and forth crying, “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”
So I really hate it when it sucker-punches me right between the eyes.
It happened this week. A friend had an urgent family matter and needed to fly out of state, but the steep price of the plane ticket was making them hesitate. They didn’t ask for my help, but when they mentioned their predicament, I didn’t see my god-complex rumble to life.
Within minutes, I was on the phone getting advice about offering my friend financial assistance. I really wanted to get input and not just rubber stamp my feelings. I would have heeded the counsel if my advisors balked at my proposition. They didn’t, so in the next few minutes, I opened my mouth and shared my generous offer with my friend. They were grateful.
So what’s the problem, you ask, when the scriptures clearly call for us to lend freely without expecting anything in return?
First, I’m a daughter of God, but He wasn’t the first one I turned to for advice. Second, I let the irrational feeling of urgency snatch the reins from logic and wisdom. I was the only one who could save the day. I was the only one who could possibly meet this person’s need. I was the only one who could make it happen.
See what I mean? Total god-complex. Worse, I thwarted God’s opportunity to work in my friend’s life by freeing them from the need to turn to God to provide for them.
So, what did I learn? First, don’t make any decisions based purely on emotion. The heart is a slippery fish (Jeremiah 17:9).
Second, unless my house is burning down around me, I don’t need to make any snap decisions. If it can’t wait a few days for me to pray and ponder over it, it ain’t worth doin’.
Last, this kind of situation is going to happen again. Not maybe. Not possibly. Will (1 John 1:8). I’m a codependent. It is my default.
All that I can do is pray, look for the red flags, and hope that if Robot does freak out, he backhands me with one of those flying appendages and knocks me out long enough for me to come to my senses.