“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” Jacob M. Braude
When I couldn’t get myself straightened out, I tried changing others. When I couldn’t change me for them, I tried changing them for me. When I heard that Jesus accepted and met people where they were, instead of asking God to help me be more like Him, I thought Well, I’m not Jesus.
I justified not letting people live their own lives by convincing myself I was helping. I tried to control and change them for their own good. I heard myself during a 12-step meeting say, “You can’t love and control at the same time. It’s impossible.”
It took years for me to practice what I shared; years to give up even a little control and try love in its place. I was so afraid to let go and trust God with my people – afraid of what He might do in my life and in theirs.
For a long time, I didn’t believe God had my best interest at heart, much less that of my family. There was so much that He and I disagreed on. Even when I was convinced He loved us dearly, I thought like C.S. Lewis …
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
Not that any of us have but two choices –our own miserable way or God’s way. Prophet Jim Reilly said, “My way or Yahweh.”
I’ve lived it and it’s true. I decided to continue running my household and nearly ran it into the ground. Until I relinquished my number one fear, divorce and a broken family, I nearly caused both by trying hard to control, fix, and change my husband and children.
I mean, they needed fixing, but not by me. I needed fixing too, and also not by me.
“You can’t even change yourself. The only thing you can do is spend time with Jesus. He’ll change you.”
Hearing my pastor say this during a sermon changed my life and my husband’s life even though he wasn’t there to hear it.
My marriage and family ended up being the stumbling block that Erilynne Barnum talked about in her Call to Discipleship series that you can find online. She said, “A stumbling block will either be the thing you stumble over that breaks you because you let it, then God puts you back together and He will or the stumbling block will crush you.”
I fluctuated back and forth in relationships between being independent and needing no one and being codependent and desperately needing my husband and children. In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey described interdependence as a mature choice, choosing God and my spouse who He made as my helpmate. We need each other, but not in that sick way like before.
We’re all here to walk each other Home by helping one another and working together as equals. When we do relationships the right way, we recognize people need people, but not as projects.
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because these blog posts are a manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. My blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is the subheading. I’m over-the-top grateful to have you here. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and comments.