Tag Archives: al-anon

Ok, to those of you who are holding out…

Yes, you people who think we don’t notice …

You think you have nothing to say. You have had a few bad days. You want to have the time for it to all come out nice, or brilliant maybe, or thoughtful.

Yeah, you people.

You people who collect makeup, or maybe you are angry and afraid you will offend. Or maybe you think you always talk about the saaaame thing. It’s okay. Say it anyway. Say it if it won’t come out right. Say it if you don’t know what will come out. We miss you, and we care.

Link back to me, so I know you took this to heart! ūüôā You’re important to me!

BluChickenNinja, and my teen self…

How’s that for a title!

Well, I was reading another¬†blog about the origin of the author’s user name,

BluChickenNinja

She said, “I don‚Äôt know what my teenage self would think about all of this, she would probably be horrified.”

Immediately upon her saying that I started wondering, what would my teenage self think of me, and the things I do?

First off, we know she would be horrified, humiliated, period. It wouldn’t matter if I was tall, slender, famous, or what. Teenagers are just horrified, as in not impressed at all, by their adults, period. So I think what she’d do is look¬†at my short, pudgy, not famous, bipolar, Christian self, shake her head, and say, “PSH.”

And the dialogue would go like this. She’d confront me with anger: “You’re still not married? You still haven’t written any books? Not even one? And look how fat you got! How come you¬†never got¬†a handle on that? What a loser!” and she’d make that “L” sign on her forehead, even though it had not been invented yet …

And then she would despair: “You know, I’m depressed enough as it is. It doesn’t get any better? Are you serious? It gets worse?? Why should I even try? I should just get it over with now!” And she’d curl up in a ball.

And then she’d reconsider, she’d get that look on her face she’d learned from all the snooty girls at school. The look that says, “You’re dead to me.”

I have known for a long long time that I often fall victim to the voices in my head. I’ve identified then¬†as my mother, my sister, my dad, that teacher, that girl, you know, just about everybody I ever came across.

I’ve heard it said that all of us have at least one person who is the reason we are still alive. I’ve had a few that, were it not for them, I’d be dead. These were the teachers who said I was a good writer, or, by the way they listened, that I was a person of value.

I never realized, though, how much of that destructive voice in my head was me. Which also makes me remember all the therapy sessions where I loved on my “little girl,” told her how much I loved her and how she wasn’t a failure, and she did the best she could, and she was pretty and smart and important …

And now I meet The Teenager.

Ew, lol…

Can I love her? tell her she’s pretty and smart and important?

She’s kinda mean.

But I guess probably by that age she had already learned to be defensive and closed, with that false bravado I have come to cherish. You know, the person who walks into a room and with what appears to be great confidence shakes hands with everyone, and then seeks out the broken one who needs a friend to talk with and make her feel less lonely. All because she is the one who is lonely and needs a friend. But God forbid she would ever say so.

Anyway … teen self meet present self, I am sorry you are disappointed and closed and defended … I’m sorry you didn’t get to be one of the cool girls. I’m sorry you are still waiting for the day when all your dreams will come true.

But let me tell you what is real about your life and what is good about your life. Did you know you have a son? And that you have made a difference¬†in a lot of people’s lives? How even though your body is bigger you don’t hate it so much? You even have a best best friend who buys chocolate cake and rolls her eyes with you. May I make one suggestion? Maybe take that cigarette out of your mouth now before you have to try to quit after thirty years.

And I do love you. You are amazingly pretty, and smart. It is too worth it, most of the time. Oh, and come meet God. And not the one you grew up with. Come see.

Help!

Whoever would have thought Johnny Cash would have a song like this? But actually the guy I consider “The King Of Country” is a really deep guy. This song shows that really we need help with pretty much everything.

Here are the things that I need help with

1. Not ending a sentence with a preposition (haha)

Ok let’s start over. These are things with which I need help:

1. Saying no

2. Deciding whom I should help, and to what degree!(Those two things cause me no end of frustration!!!)

3. How to deal with anger, anxiety, and depression.

4. Pressing on even when it feels like I am getting nowhere.

5. Even taking my meds! Although with resignation I take them.

6. Asking people for help

7. Not spending all my money (besides on bills) at the beginning of the month

8. Keeping a positive attitude

9. Investing in the future – my health, my education, my daily tasks

10. Asking God for help with all these things and more.

It’s funny because when I was listening to the song I thought of several things so maybe I will try again while listening:

1. To walk another mile

2. Smiling

3. “Taking it” (life) for one more day

4. Asking God to be with me

5. Releasing the chains that bind me

6. Following God’s plan

7. Being humble

8. Praying

9. Doing all of the above with God’s wisdom, not my own

Maybe, dear Reader, it seems like I do most of these things, but really, some of the things I write are actually me being a cheerleader for myself. For example if I say it is necessary to read the Bible, I’m reminding myself, read your Bible. I may say, ask for help, but I am the worst at it lol… Maybe I suggest you pray about things, but honestly I need to make myself do those things.

Annnnnyway, I really like this song. It made me tearful, because I forget that God will help me with the simplest things, if I ask. And sometimes He will when I don’t, lol…

THANK YOU to¬†http://addictionplace.net/ — I like his blogs. He is just an ordinary guy trying to stay sober and help other people to do the same. He’s not a religious nut like me (lol) just straightforward about his recovery. Here is what it says about his “About” page:

Addiction Place is a place to research and learn about mental health and addiction.

I’m a father, husband, brother and a son who lives a successful life with Bipolar and Addiction Disorder. I’ve been a special education teacher for 13 years and a high school baseball coach for 6 of those years.

Twelve years ago, I went to Hazelden Treatment Center for the first time to face my alcohol addition.

After a year and a half, I relapsed and 6 years later, I was back in rehab at La Hacienda Treatment Center.

I have now been in active recovery for almost 4 years and I aspire to be an addiction counselor and a writer.

Addiction Place has a website called Self Help Survival Store.

Mental Health: Promoting Good Stuart-Ship

Feel like giving up? Nothing’s working? Believe it or not, we’re still accomplishing something, even if the results are not what we want. Thomas A. Edison said: ‚ÄúI have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.‚ÄĚ

He also said that “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.‚ÄĚ

How about Babe Ruth? “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Even the Bible¬†says, “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” (2 Thessalonians¬†3:13). And in Galatians 6:9, “…¬†let us not be weary in well doing:¬†for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

I don’t know about you, but bipolar makes me weary. Trying to take good care of myself, and trying to do¬†what God says. Meanwhile, ignoring the self-destructive part of myself.¬†Those messages I collected growing up, and the ones I’ve created¬†myself.

There’s this song that we sing at church:

Every work for Jesus will be blest,
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, these may be small,
But unto Him is due our best, our all.

My best?¬†Oh Lord. I’d look around that church, with all those perfect people, and think,¬†I don’t know that my best is¬†worth¬†all that much.¬†But later,¬†I realized, that’s not what the song¬†is saying! The song says our talents may be small. Our best may not be what we think it “should” be. But God knows when we’re doing our best, regardless of what those stupid voices tell me! Besides – were those people really perfect? Most likely not.

Part of doing our best is¬†taking¬†care of what God has given us, what He calls “being a good steward.”¬†Hm, even in regard to my health.¬†Remember the slogan?¬†“I eat right, I exercise and I take Geritol every day.” Ok, I’m dating myself. Well, I do go on a health kick now and then, but it only lasts so long.¬†Exercise? Even the¬†Chariots of Fire¬†song drives me crazy. And¬†Rocky, you¬†can run up those steps¬†all by yourself.¬†I ain’t goin’.

Ok, how about hygiene? You know, shower, brush teeth, etc.

Not so easy sometimes, is it?

Contrary to popular belief, that’s not laziness. Where would somebody get that idea? If anything, that’s self-loathing at its worst. But at that point, we don’t even have the energy to hate ourselves.

How about taking care of our immediate environment? Making sure my place is not condemned? Generally, I do dishes before they get moldy, and¬†I¬†take out the trash before¬†Stuart Little¬†makes it his home.¬†Ahh, you say. That’s where the Stuart Little reference comes in. Well, forgive the groaner, but even emptying the trash is good¬†Stuart-ship.

Ok, I hear crickets chirping. I’ll just pretend you didn’t get the joke, and carry on.

Let’s move on to¬†money. The Bible says that “… the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Not that money itself is evil. In either case, I’m not a very good Stuart of it. Right now¬†I have about $20. until¬†the end of the month. True, those of us on disability are not living in the lap of luxury, but I get enough. I just don’t handle it well. So that $20. pretty much removes all possibility of overeating, overspending, and even over-helping. Besides, I’ve pretty much ruined my credit, so there goes that.

So what else? The Bible says that “if any would not work, neither¬†should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But I can’t seem to to hold a job for very long. Well what is up with that! Doesn’t the Bible also say “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”? (Philippians 4:13) I must be a total failure! I mean, I won’t brush my teeth, I won’t go to work, what good am I?

Well, that’s what the voice in my head says. And that’s what you might say, if you don’t have experience with this thing.

Ok, you can’t brush your teeth? You can’t work? You can’t clean your toilet? What about breathing, then? Let’s start with the breathing. I know, I’ve already talked about breathing in another blog.¬†But¬†let’s say, theoretically, that you still have to breathe after all this time. So breathe already. Ok, now did you eat today? And, can you call someone today? Maybe it’s to be encouraged. But what about to encourage them? Maybe you can volunteer at church while you’re not able to work. Or you can take someone shopping. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. That, and don’t kill yourself today. That is sometimes necessary to add!

Speaking of “today,” I learned early on in my mental health recovery that alcohol and “recreational” drugs are not my friend. Especially where mood stabilization is concerned. So, one day at a time, I stay sober. So far, I have stayed sober for 10,623 days, but who’s counting? That, my friends, has to be the grace of God. On my own I wouldn’t put¬†two days together!

Now, let’s flip it. How is my Stuart-ship when I’m in manic mode? No, not mood. Mode. Everyone pretty much has an idea of what depression is, but what of mania? Psych Central, a website with information about mental illness, defines it thusly:¬†“A Manic Episode is defined by a distinct period during which there is an abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood…” (See:¬†http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-manic-episode/000629.)

Some of us even¬†experience a side of psychosis with our heaping helping¬†of mania:¬†“Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, typically including delusions (false ideas about what is taking place or who one is) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which aren‚Äôt there).”(See:¬†http://psychcentral.com/lib/bipolar-disorder-with-psychotic-features/0001292.)

So what happens to my Stuart-ship when I’m revved up like I’ve mainlined caffeine, or even cocaine? What about when I’m seeing things? How can¬†I possibly take care of what is mine?

Well, early on, during a phase of hypomania,¬†my motives are good. When I start feeling that surge of happiness and energy, I think, “Yay! Time to¬†make up for all¬†I haven’t done for the past¬†eight months!” Suddenly I’m cleaning, writing, doing, helping, coming up with brilliant ideas, why, it feels just marvelous! And it’s pretty well organized, in my head, anyway, and in most of my actions. It’s not particularly bizarre, except …

… then¬†things start becoming confusing. My friends, and even some of the people outside of my circle,¬†begin to¬†see some disorganization in my activity. I begin to get reckless and impulsive, fresh, and maybe a bit aggressive. And no, I don’t have any clever jokes about that one. Because at this stage it is no longer funny – or fun. I don’t have time to shower. I don’t have¬†a need for sleep, or eating. Yeah! You know I’m off when I don’t eat!¬†I don’t have time to clean up after myself.

And then there’s that elevated sense of myself. Thinking I can do things that really, I have no business doing. After a certain point those things include driving, or taking care of patients. I’m telling people off. Walking into traffic expecting cars to understand that I’m on my way to something important. I begin acting out in ways¬†that will make me cringe later on. Yeah. Those little things.¬†Those things God has given me? Including modesty and humility? Self-control? Pretty much gone. As to stewardship? We are at a very basic level at this point. We are at survival mode and not much more.¬†Since God has gotten hold of my life, or since I’ve gotten better hold of Him, I don’t get as bad as I used to. I might have to say, “yet.”

Where was I again?

Oh yes. Failure. Weariness. Lack of Stuart-ship. And the cycle repeats itself.

So how do I maintain that stability, that “meet me in the middle”-ness?

Well, let’s just throw our hat in the ring and say it: What about medication?

Oo (flinch),¬†don’t say medication and Christian in the same sentence. Yipe!

I have to say it, though. It’s the rare bird who has bipolar and can manage without medications. If you can, God bless you, and that’s wonderful! I mean that.

Personally?¬†I did the two year experiment without meds. I did pretty well for about a year and a half. But toward the end of that period, I was manic,¬†and I didn’t even know how bad off I was. How dangerous.

So, medication. Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t using it to get high. We are using it just to function. It’s not fun, by any means. But it is¬†hard to find the right mix. It’s especially frustrating if you have found what works for you, and then it stops working. Again, and again. But that is part of the illness, I think.

And so, regardless of medication, we still struggle. Don’t we?

So how do we not grow weary? This thing called bipolar is not just a sometime thing. It takes continuous daily vigilance, and sometimes, despite that, we still experience the highs and lows.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure cannot manage¬†it under my own power! Now here is something profound.¬†I need Jesus! And I dare say you need Him, too!¬†Isn’t it¬†worth considering, when nothing else is working? I’m not saying life is a bowl of cupcakes. But it is better. I have strength, and I have faith, that I didn’t have before. It could be¬†coincidence, but I have not been in the psych hospital since I started taking Him seriously, back in ’06.¬†So what is the deal? Check out the link above, which will take you to another blog page.

God’s¬†intention? That I become more like Jesus.¬†No no no, not like that (manic). More like Jesus as He was when He walked here on Earth, and then to continue to grow: in my spirit, and in my¬†life. Jesus did not want to be “all that” when He was here on Earth,”Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: ¬†But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:5-6).¬†

Jesus was humble. During His time on Earth, Jesus served. He was not “up there,” like the God He really was. He was not “down there,” sitting on the floor feeling sorry for Himself. And please, don’t think I am judging anyone here because trust me, I have spent my time on the floor. And the ceiling. And I imagine I will again.

So can I just aim for that? Not too high, not too low?

Humble, by the way, does not mean groveling. Humble means, not thinking too much of myself. And, not thinking of myself too much. There is a difference.

So how do I aim there?

One way is by reading God’s word. It’s there that I learn how to be like Jesus, which includes being in prayer, and thinking on God’s word. That’s right, Jesus did that! Even He! In fact, He fought temptation by quoting scripture to combat the devil. Even He! Shouldn’t we?

And serving.¬†Didn’t Jesus serve when He was here on Earth? “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

It is of note that Jesus did allow others to minister to Him, as well. There’s the woman with the alabaster box who anointed Jesus with precious oils. There’s John, who baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. Even in death, people served Him, like the rich man who donated his own tomb, and then¬†those¬†who prepared His body for burial. Why do you suppose He allowed that?

I think it was because He knew it was a blessing to be the giver. Doesn’t it bless you when you can give yourself to others, or when you serve the Lord? So let people help you and show that they care. This will bless them, as well as you. I mean, really,¬†can we do all this by ourselves? God will not leave us nor forsake us. Isn’t part of His provision the¬†people He’s given to us? People who help us to see ourselves? (YIPE!) What about our doctors and pastors and other providers? Yet, as people with bipolar, our number one problem is an inability to ask for help! We wait until our pants are on fire, and even then, we wait.

And what about Jesus Himself? Why do I wait to ask Him for help and direction? The one who answers me when I call, from wherever I¬†happen to be? I think a big part of my problem is that little word, “I.” All by myself, I’m a mess! I freely admit it! But I am proud, very proud. I’m like the two year old who says, “Me do it. Me do myself.” And what can you do as a parent but let them do it.

And then they have the meltdown, and finally, you can help them! But why do we wait til then!

Jesus said that “…¬†with God¬†all things are possible.”¬†(Mark 10:27).¬†Now what “things”¬†is He¬†talking about? Sometimes, it is doing those stupid dishes. But I know that He has better things in mind. Given my history with Him, much better things!

So. ‚ôꬆ‚ô™ Take, good, care of your-self¬†‚ô™‚ôę … (I care about you).

And don’t forget the breathing part.

Blogging 101: Way Behind (but where I should be?)

Well, I am still doing the Blogging 101 class but now I am feeling wayyy behind. One assignment, to make nice with the neighbors – look up in my reader about topics that interest me and interact with bloggers who are writing about them. I thought, welllll I’m already doing that so check! Done.

The next assignment, to write to my ideal reader. Well, my friends, I have so many! lol… (by the way I had asked you guys to help me increase my followers and they went from 45 to 79 in a week! Don’t know if you had anything to do w/ that but thank you!)

Anyway – I will write to my ideal reader but then …

There came another assignment, but wait … do I have more than one blogging course going on? This is what I do. I start small and suddenly, POOF, I am overwhelmed.

I do this IRL (in real life) as well. I start small and manageable, as in jobs, as in volunteering/ helping others, and POOF, all of a sudden life is way too big and overwhelming.

As I have said ad nauseam, GUILT GUILT GUILT!!! is my greatest derailer.

Now why would I feel so guilty all the time!

Number one, I grew up Catholic.

Ok, I hear crickets, especially from the Catholic corner lol… I know it’s a cliche … But I want you to know, I’ve heard a lot of Baptist preachers, and they do their own share of guilting people, for not doing enough, or for not doing the right things, or for feeling the wrong way … you get my drift, sigh. This is the faith I have chosen – or God has chosen. AA says, take what you like, and leave the rest. Well, as a Christian, it has to be more like, Take what GOD says, and leave the rest! And some of the legalism I hear is not from God! And here I am, a sitting duck. Vulnerable, seeking truth and support and “the right way,” and there I am feeling guilty again!

Yes, we all know what we are supposed to do with guilt. Throw it out the window.

Some guilt, of course, is warranted! When you do something wrong, you SHOULD feel bad. You SHOULD rectify it.

Shame is another thing. I learned in recovery group circles that guilt is for what you’ve done, shame is for what you are.

And I had my share of THAT growing up. I don’t want to tell you – ok I will tell you. Parents and older siblings who said “You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” does that all sound beneficial to the soul of a child? But guess what, I bet there are few children who didn’t suffer that to some degree. So why did my psyche take it in more than those of you who don’t carry that stuff around?

That makes me tear up… ¬†ūüė• ¬†But I try not to “go there.” It’s in the past and I have learned a LOT since then.

But I am still struggling. Is it my diagnosis of bipolar, my anxiety, that are making me less and less able to function?

Ok, rewind… the Church inflicted a lot of guilt, family … what about friends and lovers?

Now I admit that in my younger years I was not exactly chaste. And my choices of partners were not the best… Again with the¬†“You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” how about we add some more … you’re not pretty enough, you aren’t enough to earn my loyalty, my fidelity, you aren’t worth my efforts to treat you better…

Ok I’m getting maudlin here.

Now there is the fourth villain: My own head. Yes, I have taken all those messages, stirred them up, added some sugar, some alcohol, some bad behaviors, some misunderstood theology, baked them for an hour at 350* … um, ok, more like 55 years, at 800* …

(Ok Kat quit whining about guilt, could you please write about something else???)

And there I come to the ideal reader. The one who is reading this. Someone who can listen, maybe nod and say “I hear you,” or even, “BTDT (been there done that).” The one maybe who is having a good day when I’m not. And vice versa! Because my favorite thing to do is help you have a good day! Or, especially, make you laugh!

So, I guess I completed another assignment. Unless … you would rather not listen to my whining. In which case you have two choices:

1. Read another of my blogs that is not so negative.

2. Hang up the phone. After all, no one is forcing you to stay here, lol…

(even though it will break my heart if you leave, pout, grin …)

Contentment=Peace

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
‚Äď Phil 4:11
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart‚Äôs-ease [a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial], he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. ‚ÄúWell, heart‚Äôs-ease, I‚Äôm glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúNo, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart‚Äôs-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart‚Äôs-ease that I can.‚ÄĚ
“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.‚ÄĚ
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.

from “Streams in the Desert with Mrs. Charles Cowman” Devotionals

Keep Breathing!

 

With all the talk of suicide I thought I would submit this link and the lyrics to the song. Sometimes it is as simple as to Keep Breathing! 

 

You wait in darkness for answers that you can’t see
You know what you deserve
And you’re wondering why your life is
Not what you thought it should be

When the night breaks, your heart still aches
How can you face the day?

Just keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

When you feel like you’re dying, keep breathing
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go

When every moment is almost more than you can take
You’ve got to know some tomorrow will bring you a breakthrough
It’s the reason why you got to get through today
When the night’s gone you will be strong

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

With every breath you’re bringing hope
You’re letting go of all your doubts
When nothing is easy, you got to keep going
Even when you don’t know how
You don’t have to know how, no

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer, whoa

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

Keep breathing, don’t give up
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done yet

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Keep Breathing!  by Kerrie Roberts

‚ô™‚ôę Someday Lady You’ll Enable Me … ‚ôę‚ô™

I’m hearing a lot about Al-anon and enabling and detachment and suchlike lately.

Why? Well, it’s the holidays and if anybody (including ourselves) is going to act up, it’s then.

Why is it so hard to set boundaries which are both healthy for me, and helpful for the alcoholic or other-type folk? Cuz the person doesn’t necessarily have to be addicted for me to walk all over myself, in trying to help where I may or may not be needed.

It’s been said that the alcoholic (or whatever) is addicted to his/her substance, and that, in a way, those of us who love them are addicted to them. Why, and how, do we turn ourselves inside out in order to help a person who may not even want to be helped? At the very least, they’re not ready. And in the meantime, I’m a mess! Somebody help ME make a decision! Because I can’t, anymore!

And really, that’s what Al-anon is about. Making healthy decisions for yourself.

Applying the principles to my situation, it’s the friend who’s so angry at the world that they take it out on everyone, even those who love and try to help them (as in, me). It’s the guy who just got out of the ER after a suicide attempt who is already drinking again – and their family¬†wants me to fix them. It’s the loved one to whom I will never be enough, no matter how I try.¬†It’s the son that I love dearly, who said he needed to stay with me for “a while,”¬†and¬†it’s now going on to a year.

Meanwhile, I have the idea that I “can’t” say anything, “can’t” set limits, and, most of all, “can’t” say no. Because what if … (and it’s there that I can come up with many many reasons, ad infinitum).

How much do I do for them?

First off, I have to be in touch with God enough to be able to hear His guidance, that still small voice that says, “No no no no no,” or, “You’ve had enough.” Some call it a red flag. In my case, I wait so long that it ends up being a white flag. “I give up! I surrender!” And I’m¬†ready for the white coats!

Secondly, I cannot be “it” for any one person. When I start thinking I’m “the only one” who can help a certain person, I am in trouble, and I am not likely to help that person very much. Especially if the load does¬†get too big and I start resenting them.

Thinking I’m¬†“the only one”¬†reminds me of Elijah of the Bible, who was so depressed in the desert, and spoke to God about it (1 Kings 19:14-18):

… I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel¬†have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left ; and they seek my life, to take it away¬†

Wow, I can almost hear the whining voice. God, how come I’m the only one who can help, here? Why am I in this position? If I’m being honest,¬†I will say, How did I get myself in this position? Can’t someone else do it? And God reminded Elijah:

… Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

God reminded Elijah that he was¬†not indispensable, nor was he the only one serving Him “so well.” Ugh, a little ego deflating. I’m not the only one who knows how to help. I’m not indispensable.¬†But I sure do lead¬†people to believe I am.¬†

And what do I get out of leading people to think I’m “all that”? Oh I’m not consciously seeking kudos. I honestly want to help. But where do I get the idea that I can help everyone, and that I am the only one who can?

One thing that happens with me is I’m¬†¬†unbelievably attracted to people who¬†feel unlovable (or I perceive that they do). Maybe they have had some injustice done, and I want to make it up to them. Life has treated them horribly. Someone has hurt them, over and over. And I think, if I just love them enough, I can fix them. If I show them the world is not all bad, I can fix them; they’ll be happy. Then, when I can’t convince them, I am furious! “After all I did for them!” I, I, I!

Where does that come from?

Is it as simple as “do unto others as you wish they would do unto you?” Or is it, I’m looking for some payback, some undying love and gratitude?

Well, it may well be. I have come a long way from the days of my early adulthood where I felt like there was nothing to love about me.

But though I have since learned that I have a lot of good qualities, I still have the idea that I have to earn that love.

Again, I have to go back to the Bible.

Romans 5:8 KJV, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and, Ephesians 2:8 KJV, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

If you’ll notice, in neither scripture does it say I have to do anything to be loved. I just have to seek God, and His love is there. No earning, no being indispensable, no putting Band-aids on everybody.

God did give me the capacity to love, and to love greatly, but He did not make me God. And He did give me His Holy Spirit to guide me in what I should do for others.

I just have to stop long enough, be humble enough, to ask Him, “What wilt Thou have me to do?”

And then, the hardest part: Wait.