There Is A Fine Line Between Helping and Enabling.

there-is-no-better-joy-than-helping-people-dan-gilbert

The desire to help people, especially those who mean the most to us, comes very natural to many of us. Especially to Parents who want to help their children succeed.  Unfortunately, this well-meaning impulse to help solve a person’s problem can backfire. I am learning this as I grow older, not only as a parent, but also living a life of Ministry. Trying to avoid back firing can be tricky and difficult. We try to give, help and serve others like Jesus. But in doing so, nobody said it would be easy. It can tear your heart out and make you question all you’ve ever known.  But trust God, His timing and His promises!  He is proven His faithfulness to me over and over again.  And I too am always learning!

I am seriously good at solving problems. It may even seem weird to some of you, but I actually enjoy problem solving.  I love to help people, so I am more than willing to do whatever I can to fix things for them.  I will always help people, but I have grown more aware of what it really means to enable someone. There is a fine line (but a big difference) between ”helping” someone and “enabling” them.

Personally, I believe it depends not only on the situation confronted with, but the condition of the person’s heart that you are trying to help. I find myself pondering on a few questions whenever I am making the decision to offer my help to someone… so that I do not enable them.  Does the person own up to what they have done?  Or only when they will gain something in return?  Are they being truthful? Demanding?  Or rebellious?  Is the person willing to help them self and change their ways?  And also, is there a pattern to their behavior that needs to be broken?  Would I be helping them to succeed or hurting them in the long run?  Is there behavior or problem causing harm to them self or someone else?

I felt compelled to write this to shed some light on enabling through my own parenting experiences that have ended in mishaps and also in many successes. I know my children have to solve problems “big and small” on their own.   And….Ugh it’s so hard not to protect them from failures!  Can any of you relate to this?  I know many of you have walked this hard and unclear road as well.

I (we) have great kids!  All five of them are different and have different levels of responsibility and different levels of problem solving skills.  They, like anyone else, have to make decisions that are responsible and live by their consequences. Nothing makes a parent more proud of their child than to see them trust God and figure things out with His guidance. BUT…I also like to be involved in the process. LOL  I struggle with letting go and letting God do his amazing work. (He works even through their struggle)  I have learned that being involved in the problem solving process for most people (esp. teenagers and young adults) doesn’t give them an advantage in the long run.  It can even make a problem grow or become a temporary fix.  No matter what the “problem” is when they have to solve it themselves, they are most likely to learn from the process of figuring it out and less likely to keep repeating it. When they problem solve on their own, they learn from their choices and they gain the confidence needed for the next thing they will face in life.

I am not talking about offering assistance to someone that has an immediate and or true need. And there will always be times we give and offer help not knowing the full circumstance of the situation. When you give from your heart out of obedience and someone abuses that giving, it is on them, not the person who has given. Alway give…

Enabling means: To give someone the authority or means to do something.  I recently read somewhere that the meaning has really become more like – “offering help that makes someone or something, (typically an undesirable situation) continue indefinitely. A friend who makes excuses for his hung-over friend is enabling alcohol abuse.  The relative who lends money to a drug addict is enabling that addiction.  And a parent whose child asks to be “bailed out” of a situation they’ve created because of their poor choices is enabling irresponsibility.

Those who constantly enable dysfunctional behaviors are called co-dependents.  I don’t want to be a co-dependent of anyone…..especially in my child’s life. The reality is, enabling not only doesn’t help the person to overcome or learn anything, but it actually causes harm. It can make the situation much worse and continue to repeat itself.

Stepping in to “solve” the problem, takes away any motivation for the person to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Without that motivation, there is little reason for them to change their behavior. Enablers can help their spouses, friends, and children dig themselves deeper and deeper into trouble.  People have to solve their problems without a “bail out” (a rescue) or THEY haven’t solved the problem. Therefore, they have most likely not learned from it either.

There is definitely a fine line between helping and enabling.  “Helping” would be like letting a teenager ignore their chores while studying for finals or because of a busy work week. Dismissing a teenager’s drug use, drinking, lying, defiance, violence or rebellion as “just part of being that age” is NOT helping.

If you ignore unacceptable behavior…you are an enabler. 

If you solve all of the problems brought to you by a person…you are enabler.

I have crossed that ever so fine line of “helping or enabling” myself.  I just didn’t realize it at the time.  Boy is it a tough lesson to learn for both the parent and the child. The child who didn’t get money at their request, or the “bail out” they feel they deserved after their poor choices, may feel they have lost the parents love. But…Oh how wrong that is….

A Strong love… teaches others to solve their problems, grow and learn from them.  Even when it’s painful and can cause heart ache. 

Love your children, spouse, friends, and relatives Strong

Pray for them!  

Show them a love that does not enable their behaviors, addictions or defiance’s.

A Love that helps them to grow and continue to blossom. 

A Love that allows them to learn from their mistakes and become better at solving them.

A love that never stops loving them, but never loves their poor choices.

A love that guides them in the right direction without picking them up and taking them there

A stronglovewebLove that does NOT enable.   

A person struggling needs a Strong Love…

Christ love for us is Strong! 

 

 

I am not a professional…..But If someone you know becomes mentally unstable please do not hesitate to seek medical attention. I suggest seeking a counselor or therapist for anyone that has a dysfunctional behavior that could cause harm to their self or someone else.  If an addiction to drugs or alcohol is the problem, I suggest enrolling them in a treatment plan, attending a local AA group or a Celebrate Recovery Program and or seek counseling.

I have a purpose, hear me roar!?!

Roar

 

 

 

P -Passionately Mothering!

U -Unflinchingly keeping my eyes on the goal!

R -Regularly and richly impacting God’s word to my children!

P -Praying constantly-my heart always looking to the Lord!

O -Ordering and managing my home with diligence!

S -Saturating my husband and children with love & encouragement!

E -Embracing & nurturing all the children God has placed in my life!

Ok, maybe you can’t actually hear me roar. But, I do sometimes! I’m passionate, loud, dramatic and full of energy, as I embrace and live out my purpose!

We all have a purpose!

What’s yours? And how do you live it out?

Are You What You Do The Most Of?

Are YOU what you do the most of?

I mean, if you worry all the time wouldn’t you most likely become a great worrier? And If you drank continuously you’d probably become an Alcoholic. So, It’s also likely if you gossip you’ll become a fantastic gossiper.  And If you complain, boast about yourself, or spend your time Lying….all day or most of the time…..Well, you get the picture right? 

So, what consumes your thoughts?  Your time throughout the day? 

These things can positively mold you or they can negatively impact you and those closest to you.

It can confuse people and turn them away from knowing who you serve!

Only YOU can decide what you’ll become according to what you think of and do the most of.

To live Christ like and be more like Him we have to live consistently and consume ourselves with His words, thoughts and actions.  We can all make a conscious effort to think more Christ Like and do better with Acting Christ like too!

When others see YOU… do they know who YOU serve? 

We can all….Encourage others and become someone full and flowing with encouragement! Comfort those who need it and become a gifted comforter! Pray earnestly and faithfully often and become a prayer warrior! Welcome people into your home and become a person of warm hospitality! Love selflessly and unconditionally and others will see Christ’s love as it becomes a radiant light through you. Be kind, trust worthy and honest and you’ll hold great traits in becoming a dependable friend!   

I do believe we become what we think about or do the most….

So we should choose wisely…with our thoughts….and how we spend our time. 

serving

What will your thoughts and the things you spend time doing make YOU become?

Who do others think YOU Serve?

Love People Not Things

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 People were created to be loved

Things were created to be used

Think of how our world would be if everyone changed so that

Things were not being loved

And People were not being used.

 

People NOT things matter! It is not WHAT we have in our lives, but WHO we have in them that truly matters.

Why work so hard for the things we cannot keep. Why waste another dollar striving for one more thing. Is it worth the cost of everything else?  No matter how hard we work….”Things” cannot give us what people can.  We were created to LOVE.  Love others.  Not things.  A precious God given moment with someone cannot be bought or replaced.  So be careful how you view what is most important….   

Live fully in each happy given moment and just as fully when you are persevering through a test or trial.  Hold onto what is truly important.  Live your life with a priority to LOVE.  Love your God.  Love your family.  Love others.  Work to only further His kingdom.  Give to a greater cause.  Share your faith in the Lord.  Help others grow in their walk.  Trust Him to direct your steps towards someone who needs encouragement.  Hold a loved one’s hand.  Whisper sweet words of comfort to a friend. Hug your child or someone else’s.  Pray with or for a stranger.  Encourage others in their weak times.  Learn from those who are strong.  Share your testimony and experiences.  Remember moments are precious no matter what the circumstance. Give of your gifts, talents and time.  Make lasting connections.  Make a difference in the world because of LOVE.   

Live Life Loving Others!

1 Corinthians 13:13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the GREATEST of these is LOVE.

Making “quiet moments” doesn’t take a cruise

Finding a place of solitude is hard. It’s even harder for a Mom. Little kids demand our presence with every wake moment. Older kids still need our constant supervision and guidance. And our young adults still manage to consume many portions of our days/nights as they continue to learn and grow.  Our early rising “quite times” can be thrown off just as quickly as our late evening “quite times.”  It is easy to be distracted with laundry, school papers and homework, house cleaning, and taking care of bills when you have a precious alone moment.  Remember…All of the other things that “have to be done” will be done. Eventually.

The most important thing you can do when a “quiet time” exists, sneaks up on you, or is strategically planned…is to soak in the presence of God.  Through prayer, His word, Thanksgiving and Praise you will become a better Mom…No really….YOU WILL Become a Better Woman!

Slow down and create calm quiet moments that will change your life and relationship with the Lord. It is in our unhurried moments that we can see and hear from Him clearly.  We connect best with our creator when the “craziness of life” is purposely put on hold. If we take the time to connect just for a moment…we may see others hurting, be aware that our husband needs encouragement, linger on each word spoken by our children and find joy in each sunset and sunrise He gives to us.

If Jesus needed solitude than surely we must!  We carry the weight of those we love and those who we are connected with and He carries the weight of the world! He found peace and time alone often.  (Matthew 4: 1-11)  (Luke 5: 16 and 6 :12)  (Mark 6:31)

cruise

Making quiet moments doesn’t take a cruise (although I did soak in the presence of the Lord like never before on such an amazing trip away with my husband for ten days) With each and every effort we make to create a moment of solitude…no matter how long it is (even if it’s just ten minutes) will bring us blessings, give us strength and wisdom.

Let your life be a reflection of taking many quiet moments.  It is in these moments that you will refuel.  You will not short change yourself or your families because you will receive the goodness, wisdom and insight that only our creator can give us.  Nothing is really more important. The laundry will always be there…the kids will always need you. Tuck yourself away in the closet, your car during a practice or a lunch break, or get a babysitter for an hour a week.

I have learned sometimes the hard way to take the solitude I (and you) so deserve and need…

I have been working on this my whole life…It started very young with reading my bible and writing. Sometimes writing just a prayer in my journal and other times my whole situation and frustrations came pouring out of me and onto the pages.  I admit that for periods in my life I have been really, really bad at taking the moments needed with my Savior.

Every day is a new day that I strive for “quiet moments” with Him and Him alone.  Look for them. They are there. Find direct messages from God in His word and from His voice as He speaks to you in your special times with Him.

Love is a Verb!

Love a Verb

The opportunities are endless!  We should be praying and looking for ways every day to put LOVE in Action.  They are all around us.  And after all….Love is a verb!

Everyone needs to be encouraged and deserves to be told they are loved. But when we choose to put our Love In Action we are making a conscious effort to Show Love through an Act of Service.  This Kinda Love can leave people speechless….

Examples of Actions of Love:

-becoming aware of a need and making a way to fulfill it is an Action of Love.

-facilitating a need to be met through others is an Action of Love.

-choosing to do something for someone to brighten there day is an Action of Love!

-making, creating or working on something for someone else is an Action of Love!

-visiting, teaching or helping someone is an Action of Love!

Christ Love was and still is an Action! He brought sight to the blind, made the lame walk and healed the sick, just to mention a few. He still puts His Love in Action for US every day!  As our provider, healer, protector…..

Nobody will ever put their Love in Action like He does for US!  He fulfilled our greatest need when He died on the cross to save us from our sin!

Wow! ~ Talk about Love in Action!  Nothing can separate us from that kind of Love…..EVER!

It’s an Act of Love that leaves us speechless! It is indescribable and way too hard for us to even begin to comprehend.

His Action of Love for us was full of….Forgiveness….Love….Mercy…. and His Amazing Grace!!

Each one of us can put our Love in Action far more often than we actually do.  We often fail to meet a need.  Sometimes we put ourselves first, or are just too busy to fulfill an opportunity to Show Christ Love!   But remember, His Love shines through us every time we Act on Love.  So, be careful not to miss the mark.  Be aware of those around you.  Watch for simple ways to make a difference in some ones day.  Sometime God places an opportunity right before you.  Pray that He reveals them to you and that you remain open to putting His Love… That Is In You…into Action.

When you step out, take action and make love more than a word, it becomes just that…More Than a Word!

Doing little is much if God is in it!

Let His Love….

The Greatest Love of All…

Shine through your Actions of Service to others…

Put His Love in Action today!