Here we are at Step 3 of Conquering Codependency. I can still remember each and every class I took every single week. At the beginning it was truly baby steps and learning to come to terms with my drive to control, fix and be a people pleaser. All the pieces started clicking together each and every step of the process.
Step 3 is all about learning to “Let Go and Let God”. You’ve read that several times in my other Twelve Step posts and that’s because it rang so true to me with each and step. It was only up to Him to help me work through my condependency driven traits. But to “let go” is not as easy as it sounds. It still takes work.
Step 3 – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God through Jesus Christ.
It’s been said that the first three steps are pretty much this way:
- I Can’t
- God Can
- I think I’ll Let Him
Turning something over or forfeiting our need to control is very hard for most of us. As a codependent, there are trust issues. Why is trusting so difficult? We have difficulty turning our lives over to God because we lack the skills to trust in His grace. Once the first two steps are worked we have to make a conscious decision to now give it to God.
Codependents will see the gospel of Jesus as oppressive, condemning or guilt inducing rather than freeing, forgiving, joyous and strengthening. Why is it so difficult for codependents to accept God’s grace? Here’s why:
- Codependents have a warped sense of responsibility. Our worth comes from our ability to perform. Otherwise, we will withdraw or isolate in hopelessness.
- Codependents feel pride from doing well and despair from failing.
- There is always a fear of failure and rejection no matter how well something is done.
- Because of this, there is a wrong perception of Jesus Christ.
- Sometimes the Christian life may make us feel worse about ourselves because there is no way to measure up to all of the Bible’s moral and ethical expectations. This increases the sense of guilt.
- Codependent Christians don’t find it easy to accept God’s grace for free without having to “earn” it.
Because a codependent has an addiction to control, this is sometimes the hardest step to face in turning our lives over to God. Loss of control is a terrifying thought to us!
Sooner or later our despair catches up to us and our thoughts may resemble these:
- If I were walking with God, I wouldn’t have these problems
- God has deserted me
- Nobody cares about me, I’m all alone.
- Maybe I’m not really a Christian after all. Surely nobody who feels this way can be a Christian.
The only way out of these thoughts is to SURRENDER – STEP 3!
Deeply ingrained habits can stand in our way of taking Step 3 but God has given us His Word, His Family and His Spirit to help us make that step of faith.
Codependency distorts critical parts of the faith, including fellowship with God, unconditional love and complete forgiveness.
Learning about the distortion that comes along with codependency made me almost feel worse when I was going through this step. I truly took a step back and asked myself if I felt that way about God. I guess in a way, I lived life like he needed an assistant and I was going to be the one. I was going to help him sort out my issues. I didn’t know how to turn everything over to Him. I wasn’t used to that. It was very uncomfortable. So, yes, I was guilty of not being able to relinquish everything to Him. I can even say there were times I’d say “ok, God here you go….you take this and fix it”. A couple of days later I’d take some of it back. I never truly turned it all over to Him.
That made me sad.
He is my Father. He is here for me. He wanted to give me a new life. Lighten the load I was carrying.
I think because of my childhood and younger years, I hadn’t mastered the skills of trusting anyone. I had to take control and I only trusted me. It’s something that becomes who we are as adults when we live for ourselves and try to do it on our own. However, we fail miserably at it. It’s a vicious cycle.
Understanding God’s unconditional love through His Word and experiencing His forgiveness on a daily basis is what helped me turn over my life completely to Him. It was a struggle, don’t get me wrong. Being a complete control freak it wasn’t in my nature to just give that control up.
I remember even before I took these classes I got baptized. I became a member of my church. I have a wonderful church family. I was committed to my faith.
Ultimately, it was the one on one sincere, heart felt prayer that I had with the Lord. For the first time, I remembered asking Him to take over the issues I wrestled with. There was an inner peace after that.
Step 3 is an ongoing continual process as it becomes natural to pray and turn over issues to God. Each and every time this happens, you grow a little bit more in your recovery.
This is truly the beginning of a new way of life…