Shocked some of you with that title. Didn’t I? :::smile::: Prayerfully, you’ll understand the metaphor by the end of this article.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I don’t want you to think that I don’t have a very healthy respect for the Word of God. I do. But there are times when the Lord will use something different than JUST the Word to speak to whatever need we happen to have. This is especially true when we are already aware of the Word one might use to minister to us and we aren’t grasping its full revelation for our situation at the time. Then, God, being God, will confirm it for us via the Word.
That was the case with me a couple of days ago. I have personally been struggling with a co-dependent nature for many years. Just about the time I think I’ve got it figured out and overcome, it rears its ugly head and beats up on me, leaving me feeling weaker than ever. I truly understand that we do not fight with flesh and blood, but with principalities who exalt themselves in high places. We are equipped to tear down those strongholds. And yet, at the same time, we DO war with our own flesh.
We will continue to go from glory to glory, constantly learning to walk in the Spirit and die to our flesh. But there is no magical formula. We do not instantaneously decide that we don’t want to wear our skin and then, :::snap::: we don’t. I suppose you could say, “I have not yet obtained the prize, but I press on toward the mark ...”
In this war with my flesh, that co-dependent nature of mine, I have learned, albeit the hard way, that I cannot “FIX” those whom I love. Nor can I live their lives for them. I can’t pick up the pieces of their lives and put them all in place. Though, you certainly would never be able to accuse me of not having tried. But when it comes right down to it, the very best I can do is to continue to work on ME. The Lord, in His graciousness, showed me how to go about dealing with my loved ones’ pieces by giving me a picture of how it is that He personally deals with MINE.
I sat on the floor with what seemed like thousands and thousands of puzzle pieces. There were groups of fitted together pieces here and there. And there were even a few places where you could see hints of what the whole puzzle might look like. But I’d become frustrated and impatient with it. The piece in my hand was not fitting anywhere on the part of the puzzle that shared its colors. I started crying out “Fix this for me! I don’t want to do this anymore!” Only it sounded a bit more like “I’m getting tired of the fight! FIX ME!”
The Lord sat down on the floor beside me -- “Got down on my level” so to speak. (Don’t any of you go getting upset with me now. Jesus, the man, was very lowly, so much so that He even ate with “sinners.” That always gets me, by the way ... “sinners” ... as though we haven’t all sinned and fall short of His glory. What He did was eat with those humble sinners who knew they were sinners, that they might know Him and turn. He came into the world, not to judge the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.) And there, on the floor, He taught me a lesson about dependence.
Yes, we can lean upon the Lord with all the weight of our lives. We can depend totally upon Him to meet every need that we have. But there are things in our lives that WE must do for ourselves. And because God is the GOOD Father, the all-knowing, perfect Father, Abba Father, He, in His wisdom, will not help us with some tasks because we do not become wise or strong or knowledgeable by sitting quietly in a corner with our hands tucked under our thighs.
He didn’t point it out to me, the place where that piece was supposed to fit. He didn’t take it from my hand and “fix” it for me. He simply let me understand that He was there and He cared. He did, however, give me a bit of direction. “Be still a moment. Now, keep looking. If it doesn’t fit, look elsewhere. Somewhere in your life, the pieces all fit together perfectly. Somewhere, there are pieces of the same color.” Looking again at the piece in my hand, I noticed that the flowers on it were slightly larger than the ones on the pieces I’d been trying to place it with.
And then, He smiled ... a patient smile. My irritation, frustration, and/or lack of patience never phased Him. It was not that He didn’t care about me or the situation I was in. He just wasn’t going to let it move Him into creating a helpless being out of me. Truly, “God helps those who help themselves” ... when they can, indeed, help themselves. He isn’t going to cripple us by walking our walk for us. He’ll walk with us. He’ll even carry us when we need to be carried. But when we can walk, though He is the Light unto our paths, He insists that we do so. And the exercise is for our own good.
The last thing that I want to pass on to my children is a co-dependent tendency. I know where mine came from and I am slowly learning to overcome it. My own co-dependent tendencies stemmed from feeling abandoned by my biological father. I, therefore, have always gone far beyond what is “normal” to “be there” for my children. Somehow, in that mix, I lost my own identity. I just became “Mom.” But I’m getting to know me, friends, this colorful work of art that I really am. And I like me. :::smile:::
The best way for me to keep from passing on to them those co-dependent habits is by breaking them in ME first. But I’ve been practicing those habits for so many years that my children have come to expect me to immediately be there to “FIX” everything. I see that I have, to some extent, crippled my own children. I suppose it is never too late for change.
I was playing a card game, offline, on the computer. No big deal, no urgency or real importance to what I was doing. It was just a card game. I didn’t have to be washing dishes or cooking or folding laundry. It was something simple. It was my time and I chose to spend those few minutes playing a card game. Daniel, my sixteen year old son, was on the phone with his sister. “Mom, Tabitha wants to know if you’ll get online and look this thing up for her.”
I continued to click on cards. “Yeah. In a minute.”
“Mom, could you do it now?”
“No, Son. I’ll do it in a minute.” It wasn’t something that couldn’t wait. As I said, there was no urgency to my card game, but I recognized Daniel’s expectation of me. It didn’t matter what I was doing or whether or not what he wanted could wait or not. I’m Mom. I’m the one who stops whatever I happen to be doing to run to everyone else’s beck and call. I must. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)
And then it came. I knew it would. And this time, I was expecting it. “Mom! Can you just stop playing cards long enough to look that up? It won’t take but a second!”
“Genius” that he may be, according to many tests, he’s still sixteen. I’ve tried, “When you’re seven feet tall and fifty and I’m still five foot one and a half and seventy-four, you’ll still be the son and I’ll still be the Mom. I don’t care if you’re bigger than I am or how old you are.” But after a couple of times, that quit working with him. So, I got down on his level. “Know your role, boy.”
He was shocked. “What did you say?”
“I said ‘know your role, boy.’ When I get ready to do whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. Until then, I’m doing what I want to do. I’m not your slave. I’m your mother. Ask me right. And MAYBE I’ll consider doing it for you. K-n-o-w y-o-u-r r-o-l-e!”
Oh, he definitely understood that. Then came another co-dependent’s button-pushing statement that I already saw coming. He knows where my soft spots are. “I’ll just call my Dad to come and get me.”
He certainly wasn’t expecting my response, however. “And? Call him. I’m still not looking that up for you right now.” And that was the end of that. I patted myself on the back and continued my card game, not phased at all by his impatience.
I understood that he could look it up for himself, but that I was personally using the computer for my game. I understood that he was forced to wait on me. But I also understood that kids will be kids and will use whatever form of emotional manipulation they can to get what they want, if they can get away with it, simply because they know their mothers love them. We can’t get away with that with our heavenly Father. We cannot dictate to Him. And we shouldn’t allow our kids to do that with us. The Lord had given me an example when He sat down with me and my puzzle of how to deal with Daniel’s attitude. “I do care. And I’m here. But ...”
When I was done, I logged on to the internet and looked up the information. “Call Tabitha back and tell her that ...”
This FW website (for those of you who don’t already know this) is not the only place I post my written work. I also have a passion for romance works. I’ve been posting on AOL’s romance boards for years now. A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to read a post that really hit home with me. I can’t post it here for public view because of the copyright. But I can tell you a little of what it was about.
It was entitled ‘Dance Naked.’ The author talks about being comfortable in your skin and the term, “dance naked” is truly just a metaphor. As for scriptural confirmation, I was taken back to the story of David and Michal, when Michal pointed an accusing finger at David because he’d shed his clothes in front of the maidservants while dancing in praise to the Lord. Here, you see, is where that scripture, though I was familiar with it, might not have done much to help me at the time. I’d not have received the full revelation were it not for a poem with a title like ‘Dance Naked’ capturing my attention and forcing me to think on the subject.
I understand David. I too would love, most of the time, to shed my skin. This flesh, because I am, behind my flesh, a spirit made in God’s image, is the only thing that ever stands between God and myself. But the truth of the matter is, I have no choice but to wear this skin. I must learn to “walk in the Spirit” despite my flesh. Somewhere, the pieces fit. And I can put one foot in front of the other. There’s no instant “FIX” for my life. One piece at a time, however, there sure is a beautiful picture coming together. And until I’ve completed the task, I’ll press on toward the mark, even when the pieces don’t seem to fit.
He’s not my crutch because I don’t need a crutch. I need to walk. Though, I can and often do lean fully upon the Lord. There is a season for everything. He is my Teacher and He teaches me to get up and walk, even in this skin. Hey, I’m getting pretty good at dancing naked ... feeling free to be me. I’m learning that I’m still, despite my skin, so precious in His sight and He gives me the freedom to “dance naked” without concern for what my loved ones think I ought to be like.
He doesn’t want to take away our identity. In fact, He wants to help us find it. And that puzzle piece, for me, hasn’t been easily put in place. But I’m learning. And while He’s teaching me to walk, He’s also teaching me to, in turn, teach my children that they can lean on their Mom ... but ...
Mom’s got to let them live their own lives, make their own mistakes, learn how to walk. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn from my example that it’s okay to dance naked.
© Joyce Pool
2 Samuel 6:20-23 (NIV) When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor."
And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
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