At age of twenty three, I learned the biggest lesson about the difference of being simply “attached” from being a complete “codependent.”
adj. Unhealthy psychological reliance of one person on another
Apparently, a lot of us turned to be just like one. Who can blame us? In a world full of competitions and anxiety, one needs to be secured to have someone or something whom he can say, “You complete me.”
Thing is, we are not of this world. We are made for an eternal purpose. So what made us think that something from this world can complete us?
1. Your family
Before I would start getting to my point, let me just say that the way a person treats his family is by far the best description of his real personality. It says so much about a person. Look on how a young man would treat his mom and you would know if he is a man of honor or a complete jerk.
Yet, you can’t be a codependent to your family. They love you beyond words. I would not put that into an argument. Ephesians 6:2-3 even tells us to honor our father and mother. And I would say, the best thing we could do to honor our parents is not to depend on them for every single thing but to face the world and serve God wholeheartedly.
I can still remember when I first learned how to cook my first dish. My mom was the happiest. I am not even sure if I got the taste right but she was in seventh heaven. She kept on saying that she have raised me well. Haha. Good times. (I love you, Mom!)
Most of all, let’s not missed the fact that our family will not be there for us for the rest of our lives. We don’t know, maybe you will be called to study or work abroad. Soon enough, you will be leaving the comfort of your home to build your own family. When that time comes, you should be ready. Ready to say, “I might be weak. I might even fail. But there’s no turning back.”
2. Your Job
First, I want to acknowledge the fact that not everybody is happy with their job. That is why we have the famous saying, “You are not your job title” right?
That said, our work, whatever it may be, is still an important component in life, as we were created to create and to use our gifts. Romans 12:6 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Beyond just working to pay bills, we often feel more fulfilled when we are doing the type of work we love.
But you don’t want to find yourself one day being asked, “How’s your day?” and all you can think of is how busy you are at work. I mean, it is not your life! It is not healthy. Get out.
Your job should not be your everything. We are all children of God who have a purpose and a meaning on this earth. That is our core identity, and it will never change, no matter our job description.
In the end, our identity is so much richer than just what we do for eight hours a day. We all have significant relationships, things we are passionate about and unique personality traits that can’t be justified alone by your job. More than that, whether we are picking up garbage or sitting in a cubicle, our identity is found in Christ.
3. Your friends
Recently, I have a friend who just stopped talking to me completely. When I decided to confront her, she just told me, “Don’t worry. Nothing about you. I am really distant sometimes.” I was so confused. From being so closed to being so cold. What happened? I decided to give her time and distance that she needs. Trusting the Lord that He will bring the friendship back in His time.
In a nut shell, we can’t blame our friends. Just like us, they are also humans, who are trying to strive each day and fulfill their calling. Which brought me to my point, how can we be codependent to someone who is not steady and who can change decisions and emotions in just a snap?
I am not saying we should all stop being a good friend. No. We all love to spend time with people who make us feel loved and listened to. I say, be their friend but don’t be their life.
Being a friend means giving them the space to be transparent, vulnerable and honest. It means never holding their faults and failures against them. Being a true friend means giving others the freedom to take off their masks and be truly known and loved for who they are. Yet, acknowledging the fact that you can’t do everything for them and they can’t do everything for you. Lead them to the decision they ought to make but don’t decide for them.
4. Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend or Husband/Wife
Eek. This is the hardest. Have a water break, first. Haha! All set? Here we go. Guide me with my words and thoughts, Jesus.
First, please understand that I have no intention to be harsh to those who are in a relationship. In fact, I love hearing love stories and seeing people so madly in love towards each other. I think they are the cutest. They inspire me. I respect, adore even, God’s love story for two people.
But really, ask yourself, “Can you really complete a person’s life?”
If you answered a yes, woah. Goodluck with that. You are about to spend the rest of your life running a role that you can never fulfill. A role that is not written for you. You are about to waste your time.
You will see yourself living in doubts and insecurities because you want to be perfect for that person. You will find yourself tempted to check their phone and even check their Facebook page. You will turn into someone you don’t know. Worst? It will both drag you down. You will literally fall out of love.
I don’t like that. Just typing that makes my heart shrink.
So let’s bring some light into this situation. Let’s go for a healthy love, not the needy love. Realize the fact that no amount of promises and love can heal the hole in our hearts.
That feels good.
It is very simple. We are already complete through God alone. No one can ever add up or subtract from that. Know who you are and know what you want in a relationship, and give people the freedom to be themselves. Push them even to be the best version of themselves.
Point is, her life is her life and yours is yours and what you have together is a relationship. And that’s solid. Remember you should not have to rip yourself into pieces, to keep someone whole.
So when you look to your significant other, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Do we have the knowledge of God’s love for us?
2. Are we seeking to follow Paul’s example when he said “the love of Christ controls me”?
3. Do we know that in God’s presence is “fullness of joy,” not in the presence of each other?