In the last Stepping Stones, we discussed our curiosity and need to make deals to help us handle material and psychological issues, even spiritual issues. Some people spend their whole lives trying to make deals with themselves to avoid pain or to “guarantee” some reward from God or with their loved ones who have issues. Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs: highs when the deal seems to pay off and lows when the expected payoff doesn’t occur. Some who are concerned about a loved one’s life-interfering problem are blessed enough to pass through the deal-making stage and reach the next phase, the stage of acceptance.
A major professional and personal hurdle in my life occurred when I came to grips with understanding that a patient’s potential suicide would not be my fault. I had influence in their life but never control. That person’s life and death was between himself and God. I could do everything right, and he or she could die. On the flip side, I could do everything wrong, and God could preserve that life. I have seen many medical colleagues suffer from the “God Complex,” believing they were ultra talented and all-powerful, but then show many cracks under that constant pressure.
Acceptance is a welcome place of relief in where we can finally turn our loved one over to God … to His love and discipline … to His mercy and grace … to His healing power and sovereignty. Releasing our struggling loved one to God does not mean that we no longer care what happens. It means that we have accepted the reality of the situation and the fact that we can’t fix the problem on our own. We then allow ourselves to be God’s instruments, if He desires, in our loved one’s life.
Relinquishing control and ownership of a situation that significantly affects us, is so hard to do. At times, having less angst in a painful situation makes us feel as though we love the other person less. We really have to strike a balance in the spectrums of control, power, care and love. Too much or too little of these can definitely be unhealthy.
Unfortunately, our flesh, past baggage, and distortions often interfere with Godly thinking in these areas. We have often interpreted past successes as results of our own power, strategy or manipulation. Previous letdowns or struggles are blamed on others, “reaffirming” the mentality that if we had been in control, the situation would have worked out better. In reality, we have some influence over activities outside of our bodies, but no control.
Based on this understanding, we need to make the ultimate deal. This is where we emotionally break our dependency on needing them to be well for us to be joyful and at peace. All while we continue to love them and trust God’s guidance in redesigning our roles in their lives. The ultimate deal we make is with God. We surrender either our need for the other person to change, or the need to be the change agent ourselves. You see, not even Christ could change people. He left it in His Father’s hands.
Today, acknowledge that your loved ones themselves are responsible for their own behaviors … accept your powerlessness to change them. Admit that you need nothing from anybody in order to experience peace, contentment and growth. Tying your happiness to someone else’s behavior is a cop-out, an excuse – conforming to the flesh’s view and strategy of what you need. Let go and let God, and be a good steward of the “The Ultimate Deal.” Calling our Helpline get treatment options for your addicted loved one allows you to step back a bit. Trying to control them or allowing God to is your decision, so choose well.
Almighty and Loving God, help me come to this point of acceptance. I know I can’t fix my loved one’s problems. I know he has to take responsibility for his own choices. Help me to let go. Help me to rest in You, knowing that You love him even more than I do, and that You alone are able to help him. Help me be dependent on You, not on someone else’s actions for my joy and happiness. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who is my rock and my salvation, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6