February 27, 2005

Get out of God's way! Stop enabling the ones you love!

Do you have someone in your life who seems to always teeter on the edge of trouble? Someone you love very much, yet you seem to be at a loss as far as "helping them" is concerned?

Are they continuously caught in a trap of their own making? Are you finding yourself following behind them, attempting to clean up their messes and wondering how their mess became your own?

If you can relate to the above, then this article may save you future pain and heartache.

This writing applies to anyone who's loved one is trapped by an out of control lifestyle.

Enabling ends up hurting those we enable much more than it does us. We are thinking we're helping those we love when what we're really becoming to them is a crutch. A sorry stand in for a life of making responsible decisions and taking positive actions. They become addicted to our help. In the end they cannot function without us propping them up. If we attempt at any time to withdraw our enabling behaviors, they will squall like babies and then we truly find we have a mess on our hands.

As time goes by I meet more and more people who have little or no control over the most important areas of their lives. This chaos that many live under seems to know no boundaries. At one point in my life, I was a chronic enabler of many.. I was one of those people that others looked to in order to depend on. But you see, I lost "myself" due to my constant catering to and problem solving all in the name of "others" that was going on. Many times in my past, before God straightened me out, I would complain about my life and many times was heard to say "I don't have a life".

Have any of you made a statement like that?

Looking back on those times, it was true. I did not have a life. But one thing I always failed to see was whose fault it was that I didn't. It was my own, that's what I had to realize, and in time I did.

By the time I had come to this realization, I would be totally burned out from the hours spent worrying or doing for others. Precious time that I could not get back. But do not think that those I was doing for lost a night of sleep over me. They would, in the end and much to my distress, still be living the destructive and dangerous lives they had for many years. My actions and help did not change them, did not help them, if anything it had made them worse.

I would pray for people who were trapped by the nets of their own making and nothing - not even prayer seemed to help them. I struggled to look at myself and learn if there was something I was leaving out, something I'd neglected doing for or saying to them.

It was then that I heard as plainly as I can explain to you now..

"What aren't you doing for them"? The answer? NOTHING

I had been available to them in every way imaginable. If he or she needed money, I was their bank. If they needed a baby sitter while they went out to paint the town red and maybe even get into a little mischief, I was their nanny. If I had important plans, they were all gone at the drop of a hat if I was called on to "help out" those who could never manage to help themselves. There was no limit to my helping.

Gradually I got worn down and discouraged. I could not say NO to them when they called on me for my help. Like so many others who are enablers, I was blinded by my love and concern for them. I had never once stopped for a second to realize that by my helping, I was prolonging that inevitable area of their lives that they had to get fixed.

The part where they must take responsibility for their own actions and their own life.

I couldn't see that no matter what I was able to do for them, that in the end, they would have to face responsibility and make choices themselves without me near them, without me giving them advice, handouts,etc.

One very important will that God has for all of our lives is that of being a responsible and mature adult. And I had been blocking God's will for the ones I was constantly enabling. This leads me to relate a very painful fact of life-----it's your life, God gave you only one, and it's far too short for us to scramble around "enabling" those who have chosen to lead a destructive lifestyle. Life is too short on this earth for you to be concentrating every fiber of energy you have on those who haven't hit rock bottom yet.

What is rock bottom? It is the place that all of us will arrive at if we continue to buck against what is Godly and Holy.

It is being in the "gutter" without anyone to call out to and to help us except God himself. The prodigal son went there to this place I speak of and was the better for having arrived there. I have been there. If one continues in sin, they will understand what Rock Bottom is. But only if they are absent of the enabler in their life.

We often feel "sorry"" for those we are enabling. I was one of these. I know what I am talking about. I thought on this : If I was leading a destructive life - a life in which I shirked responsibilities and did nothing to help myself but relied on everyone else to take care of me, would I expect to gain the sympathies of others? NO Would I expect it ? NEVER

Get out of God's way

It was during an especially painful run in with a friend who had gotten himself in financial trouble that I finally realized the truth. The more we bail people out of their problems and tragic situations, the longer it takes for them to change.

If you had the choice between a get out of jail free card or a two year jail term, which one would you choose?

The truth is that if you want to play, *lead a destructive and dangerous lifestyle* then you have to pay. Consequences are harsh, yet how many are not willing to pay the consequences for their selfish and destructive actions?

People who are still leading destructively selfish lifestyles are only continuing in them because they are not allowed to hit rock bottom. They have not had to face the consequences of their actions. They have not had to face to consequences of the sad life they have led. They are not allowed to get down in the muck and mire and face what they and their life has become due to their own wrong and selfish choices. Others are never forced to stop due to their alternative options plan (the enabler in their life). In essence, they are still being given the option of that get out of jail free card by someone - And who offers it? Their "enabler" does every time they choose to bail them out of their latest "mess".


It is simply because we do love them that we must choose to stop enabling them, We must allow them to grow up and be responsible for their own lives and actions.

Chronic enabling only lengthens the time that the destructive person stays in his current messy situation.

If and when you decide to stop aiding in their prolonged agony by enabling them, your loved one will swear that you never loved them. They will say you are the most selfish person on earth. A little ironic isn't it? You and I, the very ones who have been unselfish and catering to their every whim and THEY now characterize US as selfish. Don't be astonished at this. All they've been used to is how you've catered to their desires and needs. They have known nothing else from you. They have known no other side of you other than this one they've been used to for so long. It is just like a little child who wants something, you hold it back from him and he throws a tantrum.

Managing their own lives

What you can't see right now is what will become of them after they've stepped up to the task of managing their own life. It's always tough to think of ourselves while a loved one is going through pain, We feel like we are not worthy to say NO to anyone except ourselves. I know this was true for me. I felt I was expendable when it came down to doing for me or for others.

It is essential that you stop enabling those who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives, God cannot do for them while you have your hands in matters that can only be fixed through him.. Along with the troubled person's quality choices.

The father in the prodigal son did not go out looking for his Son. He stayed home, and when the son came to himself he returned and he returned better than he was before he left his father. He had to go through pain and loss before he came to himself.

Our children grow up, become responsible and mature adults and leave us to begin their own lives, this is often a sad time but it is also a blessing and a fact of life. In the same way, those we love MUST grow up, become mature adults, responsible for their choices and actions and accept the circumstances of both.

February 23, 2005

The fork in the road: 911 and beyond

I believe those of us who live in America have passed that fork in the road.

In fact, I believe that we are currently traveling along a path that will end in suffering and lamentations we can scarcely imagine. I believe that steps have already been taken that will ultimately end in a disruption of our lives as we have known them thus far. How do I reckon this? I have had my eyes open for the last 4 years and the following are some of my observations:

The first were the elections of 2000. There were many African Americans and others who did not get to vote or did not get their votes counted in the Presidential elections that year. Never before had we witnessed such an event. At least not in our nation. We had all heard of other nations having their elections toyed with, yet in America we had not experienced this. This was one of the first times that I sat up and began to take notice that our good old America had changed, and not for the better. After the elections were over, I regained some of my composure but still pondered on what a travesty had taken place. I then observed 9/11.

After the tragic events, I did not hear much in the way of repentance and trust in God. I suppose it was not fashionable to speak of the spiritual and deep things of God at that time, but this is wrong thinking, for that was the perfect opportunity to speak the truth. Had the pastors and preachers on Television started preaching on the repentance of one and all in our country, who knows where it would have led. At that time we all would have greatly benefited from strong repentance messages, but we were way too busy listening to others with vengeance on their minds and rallying alongside them. No time for timely repentance messages. Exhorting others to repent was not given top priority. The same news reporters who dared not bring up God's name were now busy asking every preacher they could drag onto their news programs and other shows "Why would GOD allow this tragedy to happen"?

The real question was and continues to be:

"Why were a group of fanatical terrorists so angry with America that they would board planes and slam them into the World Trade Centers"? Did God force those terrorists to board the planes and create this chaos and havoc? No, he did not, no more than he can force anyone to do anything. So then, the real question is WHO did this and WHY did they do it? The terrorists who perpetrated these crimes were not angry at God for anything, they were obviously angry at AMERICA and more specifically, the financial institutions of America. The World Trade Centers were the financial hubs of America.

The Trade Centers were the center for commerce in America. Why would a group of terrorists want to destroy America's financial Institutions and the thousands of innocent civilians working there? This was a question that I was wondering myself. I am not absolutely sure of anything, but I do know we should all have enough sense to understand this much about the matter.

Downward Spiral Ever since the elections of 2000 and 9/11

This country has been in a downward spiral that it has not yet recovered from. When we have opportunity to repent of our sins and the sins that our country has committed against other nations, we will hear none of it. We remain headstrong despite how low we continually fall into the abyss. What crimes have we committed against other nations you may ask. I will tell you, the crimes of INVADING and OCCUPYING Iraq. I heard many times that there were weapons in Iraq that would cause a possible mushroom cloud to come upon us if we did not invade. Well, we now know that there were no weapons. Many innocent lives have been lost there because of this invasion not to mention the disruption of vital services to those who have to live in that country.

We must understand that we are to think on these things and have compassion upon those who are currently having this done to them. If we say that we are Christ's people, yet we do not have our hearts broken over what is going on over there, we are not fooling anyone. The truth of the matter is if we have not compassion and love for everyone in this world, we are not his. We had better set up and take note of what we consider justice and righteousness. It matters to God and it should matter to us. Before 9/11 and After 9/11 we were busy living life which for most of us means, tending to our jobs and indulging in whatever hobbies that are near and dear to us. There is most surely a lesson to be learned from 9/11 and it's aftermath for every one of us no matter how near or far we are from New York City. It is just this, in simple terms, America did not have 9/11 perpetrated upon it for no reason. I have heard that they did these things because they hate our freedom we enjoy in the U.S. I don't buy that for a moment. There are those out there who long for America's destruction and there is a reason for their madness. I am currently trying to understand what has caused this great hatred, but I already know one thing for sure, when a nation turns their back on God, anything will and most usually does happen to them. I am currently trying to get the message out that because we invaded Iraq, we will most likely be invaded sometime in the future. What you give out you get back. I truly believe this. This is bible. Any nation that invades another nation for no reason will pay for it in spades. Mark it down, it will happen.

It is called reaping what you sow. If you would like to read my earlier articles, If God is to bless America, We must have a call to repentance and Lamentations for America , please do so.

Here are some ideas as to why America finds itself on the brink of it's destruction, caused by the power of it's own hand.

We have turned our backs to God and our faces are no more beholding his Glory.

This happened before 9/11. Our faces were beholding our own glory. And we in our majesty believed our visage was wonderful and a sight to behold. Sin always ends up this way. Our minds were consumed with our wants, needs and desires. We were oblivious to other parts of the world and the struggles they were continually facing. For that matter, our hearts were oblivious to our next door neighbor's lack and the struggles they might be going through. Compassion being almost non-existent toward others, we forget that while we enjoy our life, there are always others who are not enjoying theirs because they lack the basic necessities of life.

To care for others and to place other's lack as a focal point in our own lives is the true hallmark of being a Christian, but have we done this? Are we currently doing this? Jesus Christ fed the 5000. Why did he do this? Because he had compassion upon that multitude of people. It hurt him to see those people hungry and without food. Our stubbornness and disregard has caused us to be engrossed with a perpetual lullaby. We are currently in a state of carelessness and idleness.

We have been put to sleep by our own delusions, devices and desires.

We believe that everything in our lives will get better and better. Never can we fathom a worse case scenario for the nation we live in. Although I am one voice, I will use it to give the call to one and all that America will see misery and lamentations if she does not repent.

I do not want this to happen and God does not want this to happen, but if we as the people of this great nation do not repent of our sins, it surely will become a reality that we will have to live through.

Remember this: Though the flood came, God protected Noah and his family. But there would have been no protection had Noah not listened, made a choice, and acted upon what God told him to do. This brings me to my final point in this small article. You have to be listening in order for God to talk to you . Then you must CHOOSE what you do with the information that God supplies you with. Then you must ACT upon that knowledge that has been given to you.

These are 3 steps but they are all crucial. Not one can be left out if you are to have discernment that is needed in these days we now live in. If you choose to disregard a warning that God gives, you are signing yourself up to suffer in one or more areas in this life. His truth is the one sure thing we can count on in this life. It is the solid rock that we must be bound to. As the days grow darker we should grasp onto his truth in addition to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and the friend who sticks closer to us than the dearest brother we could ever find on this earth.