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.
And yet … Who is to say that acting on that sense of urgency wasn’t also taking a leap of faith?
The morning after my husband died, a friend asked me when my 2,000-mile-away college daughters would arrive for the funeral. She asked if she could pick them up from the airport for me.
I was in shock — not thinking clearly at all — and told her frankly that I didn’t think they were coming. We didn’t have the money for airfare (after taking one of them to begin college only a month earlier). And I hadn’t yet thought through anything about the funeral arrangements yet to be made.
She was quiet for a moment, then said, “I think you all need to be together. I’ll call you back.”
A few minutes later, she called back to get my daughters’ phone numbers. She and her husband would buy their plane tickets and coordinate the best times directly with them. Our youngest daughter here needed her sisters as much as they needed to be with her and with me. And my friend was correct–I needed all three of my girls with me.
More than four years later, all our hearts still swell with gratitude — not just toward my friend and her husband but to God. He touched their hearts to meet the tremendous need I could not even identify (let alone seek from Him) but that my daughters and I sorely required at that most traumatic time of our lives.
I’m so encouraged that your friends were there to meet your need in the wake of your grief. In that type of situation, I totally agree with you.
My situation was not so dire and my friend was not urgent to rush out of town. After my offer, another friend offered them frequent flyer miles and they got a free ticket. God worked the situation out in the best way for everyone (Romans 8:28).
Interesting how we do react emotionally and need to learn to wait, be patient and seek God’s advice on how to proceed. Thanks for the thought provoking means of really being obedient to God’s teachings.
Always a pleasure reading you…
Thanks for sharing! Very enlightening! You need a more logical robot in your life-hahaha