Archives for July 2015

What Are We Feeding?

With so much attention being focused on what foods to eat or not eat, or by ignoring nutrition needs entirely, the real bottom line is that many of us have stopped paying attention to why we are even eating in the first place.

Are we really hungry?

Do our bodies actually need fuel, or are we feeding something else entirely?BLOG72915

The truth is, many of us have never learned how to separate food from feelings. Instead of managing our emotions, needs, and the internal frustrations related to growth and change, we’ve fallen into harmful habits of clinging to food or depriving ourselves from it. We habitually overeat and under eat, habitually watch the numbers on our scale increase and/or decrease, and habitually start and stop one destructive diet after another. When it comes to eating, we’ve developed many unhealthy and even dangerous habits.

Intended by God to nourish our physical body, food now plays numerous roles in our life, and unfortunately not all of them are healthy. Many of us have spent a lifetime trying to control the food we eat—or don’t eat—and “dieting” isn’t something we occasionally do—it’s how we’ve learned to live. We are obsessed with and consumed by food.

Food is dependable and available when we need it. Food doesn’t leave, talk back, or have a mind of its own. Food doesn’t judge. Food is our comforter and confidant, demanding nothing of us. Food represents safety, trust, and love. Food can keep us alive or contribute to our demise. Food has become our friend, enemy, lover, and abuser—all rolled into one.

Could there be a more challenging—or dare I say it—dysfunctional relationship?

Imagine all we could do if we returned food to its rightful place in our life. If we could see with absolute clarity how clever Satan has been in his quest to divert us from the truth that our magnificent obsession was never intended to be a relationship with food—but instead with the One who provides it.

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.”   John 6:35a

Excerpt from Setting Boundaries with Food, (c) 2008, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon SettingBoundarieswithFood

Ten Steps to Strength for Parents in Pain

Change Can be Freeing….or Frightening

When we make the decision to release our adult children to fend for themselves, it can be both freeing and frightening. For many of us, this sudden freedom to live our own lives will seem like a breath of fresh air. For others, it will bring deep foreboding and fear.

What will we do when we stop living our adult child’s life for him?

We will start living our own.

On my journey to freedom from enabling, I’ve found the following ten steps helpful.

Ten Steps to Strength for Parents in Pain

  1. Memorize the Ten Suggestions for Breaking the Enabling Cycle. You’ll need to remind yourself of these often. Having them just a thought away will be very helpful in time of need.
  2. HealthypersonalgoalMake becoming healthy a personal goal. Decide from this moment forward to become stronger; spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, financially, and physically. If married, make the commitment to strengthen your union. Get counseling or join an appropriate support group if necessary.
  3. Decide to live your life and to stop living the life of your adult child. Find a hobby, join a gym, volunteer, or take a dance class. Do something you’ve always wanted to do.
  4. Take a step back and view the situation with your adult child from an unemotional perspective. Write a bio about your adult child as though you were not his parent, but instead a bystander who has been watching from afar for months—what is your adult child really like?
  5. Develop your action plan. This written document will clearly state the things you plan to change and will include non-negotiable rules and boundaries, firm but reasonable consequences, and timeframes. If married, this should be done as a couple. Remember, you and your spouse must agree on all areas of your plan and be prepared to present a united front at all times. If you’re single, get help from a support group or from an accountability partner.
  6. Prepare yourself for worst-case scenarios. Taking a stand often precipitates a crisis, and the situation may get worse before it gets better. Remember, “from controlled crisis comes positive change.” Think of this like an emergency fire drill, and carefully plan your course of action in as many scenarios as possible; role play with your spouse or a close friend. Stand firm!
  7. Commit to being consistent – DO NOT BACK DOWN, DO NOT NEGOTIATE. It could take days, weeks, months, or years for your adult child to change, if ever. There’s no way to tell. He may never change—but you have. Prepare to wait it out.
  8. Stay connected to your support group and ask for help when needed.
  9. Read the Bible along with a Bible study. Do this with a group if possible.
  10. Pray and always remember to LET GO and LET GOD.

Top-Ten Suggestions for Breaking the Enabling Cycle

Although there is certainly no improving on the original Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, I have developed a helpful “top ten” list of commandments (or suggestions) when it comes to breaking the enabling cycle.

The Lord gave us Ten Commandments as foundational principles by which to live our lives. Combine them with the ten suggestions below, and you will be well on your way to gaining SANITY in the insane world of enabling.

  1. You shall take care of your own spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and financial health.
  2. You shall remember to express love and attention to your spouse and other family and friends in addition to the troubled adult child.
  3. You shall not accept excuses.
  4. You shall unSANITY-Tablederstand that a clear definition of right and wrong is imperative for a disciplined society. There is no room for gray. Don’t make excuses for what you believe.
  5. You shall make fact-based judgments without excuse and feel OK doing so.
  6. You shall uphold standards of behavior that protect your morals, values, and integrity.
  7. You shall give unconditional love and support without meddling and without money.
  8. You shall listen to music and read books that will focus your mind on God.
  9. You shall celebrate life and love as often as possible—even in times of trouble.
  10. You shall consistently practice the six steps to SANITY.

YouCanOvercomeIt should come as no surprise that the first commitment we must make is to stop this enabling cycle, whether large or small. It means overcoming the guilt, the fear, the regrets for past mistakes and anything else that has caused us to become enablers of our adult’s child’s destructive lifestyle.

Setting Boundaries with Adult Children

Excerpt from Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, (c) 2008, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon