But…I Love to Be in Love!
Do you hear the word co-dependency and cringe?
Are you excusing and tolerating behaviors that are unacceptable and hurtful?
Have you compromised your values, purity, and love of God for a lie?
Do these statements reflect how you feel, or what you do? If so, you may be one of the many women, who are “addicted to love” and relationships. I certainly was. I had spent my entire life on a quest to find love and approval from boys, and later men. I would experience extreme “highs” if all was going well in my relationships, and would then plummet to the depths of despair if I didn’t receive the nightly phone call or if my partner disappointed me. My life revolved around looking a certain way, acting in a certain manner, and compromising myself, and my values – all in the name of love. I put myself in highly destructive situations. Now, years later, as a ministry leader in a woman’s healing ministry, dedicated to helping women break free from the chains of relationship and love addiction, I can see how insidious and how prevalent these issues are amongst Christian women, both single and married.
All through the Bible, God speaks of idolatry. How I hated to compare my “love-focus” to idolatry. But God makes it very clear that he wants our attention to be on Him first and foremost. When I was spending my every waking moment, thinking about, worrying about, and lusting over the current object of my affection, I was practicing a form of worship, therefore I was focused on an idol! This misdirected worship had to be refocused back to the only One truly worthy of my praise – Jesus Christ. The following process, and yes it is a process, has worked successfully for many women, myself included.
1. Identify the problem. I had to acknowledge, or admit that I was in the grip of a very serious problem/addiction/sin. I was out of control and that I needed help. Without the realization of the struggle I was in, healing remained out of reach.
2. Tell someone about my problem. Confession, with me, had to start with crying out to God. He loves us no matter what. I will say this again. God loves you no matter what! His Word states “Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When I repented and asked Him for help, the other steps became attainable. I also had to share my secret with someone else. Someone trustworthy, who cared, and would direct me towards healing and wholeness.
3. Join an accountability or support group. I am blessed to attend a church that offers an array of healing classes. One of them was titled For Women Only. This class focused on women desiring to find healing and grace from love and sexual addictions. This issue cannot be kept a secret. The fact is that sexual sin and co-dependency issues are prevalent in our churches. It is critical to find a group of women to meet and share our struggles, failures, and growth with. I had to be able to “tell on myself” for some time before I began to walk free from my previous behaviors. I needed someone who loved, and supported me, unconditionally, with both God’s truth and grace.
4. Prayer and worship. I learned to pray daily. I had to replace my old way of thinking with new thoughts. This involved reading God’s Word, and praying His Word out loud in order to replace my old negative thinking patterns. In addition to my Bible, I utilized uplifting audiotapes while driving, worship music, daily devotional books, as well as other Christian books on related topics. Goal – keep my thoughts focused on God – the Source of my renewal.
Becoming God-focused rather than self-focused is a commitment I have had to make with the realization the process will be on going until the day I meet Jesus face to face.
5. Reach out and help someone. Finally, I couldn’t keep all of God’s “goodies” to myself. Eventually, I had a testimony of hope and healing to share. It is so important to know we are not alone in any of our struggles. When we move out of isolation into acceptance and grace, healing becomes possible. And through Jesus Christ all things are possible!
We must remember that God loved the woman at the well. He loved her enough to purposefully stage a meeting with her that afternoon by the well. He knew she would be coming to draw water, and He wanted to show her a new way to live where she would never thirst again. Christ meets us where we are in any given moment. He loves us no less if we are rolling around in the pig pen like the prodigal son, or if we are naked in the street accused of adultery, surrounded by raised fists that are ready to throw stones of hatred and judgment our way. There is no stone in His hand, only the scar pierced flesh, evidence of His loving sacrifice for us. He will cleanse us of all unrighteousness and restore us to our former state of purity and integrity. Go ahead; reach for Him, my sister. If you believe you might be love or relationship addicted, please pray the following prayer, and then seek help. Christ came to set you free…free indeed!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please forgive me for my obsession with people, men, and relationships over You. I believe that I may be love addicted, and practicing the sin of idolatry, that I may be lusting, lying, and using men and relationship in attempts to fill my approval-hungry- heart. I need You, Lord. I want to be free of this enslavement and discover all that You have for me. Your Word says that You love me with an everlasting love, and that You will never leave or forsake me. Today, I surrender my heart, mind and spirit to You, Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, cleanse me. May I be as white as snow as You gaze upon me. I pray that You will lead me to safe women who will help me with my struggles. I ask You to guide me and show me what my next step is to be. I am ready to walk forward. Take my hand, Lord. Take my hand. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.