I’ve really enjoyed being back on CFS lately and already I’m catching up with old friends and making new and one of those new friends cturtle asked me if I’d share a little of what I thought about the questions of recovering from co-dependance, abuse or people pleasing. Judging by her comments on various threads on this Forum, I think she’ll probably know more than me and will add some wisdom of her own to this thread so as requested, I’ll share my thoughts as briefly as I can, to bring to light some thoughts. I believe Cturtle hit the nail on the head by using the word ‘recovering’ because like any issue in the Christian Life, past abuses or hurts can take time for the Lord to work these out of the lives of those He saves after all, God catches His fish and then He cleans them! Take the Children’s of Israel; they were delivered by God from the hands of their slavery in Egypt, they crossed over the Red Sea and the Sea closed in behind them cutting them off from their old life (which is a foreshadow of the New Testament Baptism) and setting them forward into the new but as we could see, they might have been out of Egypt but Egypt wasn’t out of them. Their ways, thoughts, hurts, frustrations and actions were now God’s issue to deal with and He dealt with these by challenging them to grow throughout their 40 year Wilderness Experience. He sifted them, taught them and built them to the point, that when they crossed over the River Jordan, they were now a fully functioning Nation ready to conquer their promised land. The Nation of Israel recovered from their slavery and grew from being a complaining people to a mighty army. This foreshadow of the Children of Israel is the basis of what God reveals to us of the walk of a life in Him but the key point, which I hope I illustrated above, is that only God by His Spirit and His leading (you can do nothing of yourself) can ever change a person’s life (by the washing and regeneration of the Holy Ghost) and any attempt on our own, other than to follow the leading of God, would bring much frustration and unfruitfulness. This might sound like a bit of an obvious one but many experienced Christians would agree; it’s very easy to lapse into our own strength and not lean on God. The second thought I’d put forward is that whether the subject be co-dependence, abuse or people pleasing is that each of these hurts, all of which need to be considered in detail, all have the same root cause and that root cause is Fear. It doesn’t matter what the subject or the weakness a person might have; you’ll find that the root of the issue which is troubling them in their Christian Life is Fear. I’m blessed to have some individuals and couples in my circle of Christian Friends who are very experienced counsellors and it stuns me at their discernment of a person’s situation but they’d say, and God’s Word would confirm (Jesus Said Fear Not multiple times) that the issue they’re working toward, is having the individual recognise the fear and allow God to take that Fear away. Take the hurt of rejection for example, quite possibly one of the worst things a person could do to another and one of the most scarring as well but it’s not rejection as such that’s the main issue, it’s the fear of rejection which is the root. So I think within the recovery process having an understanding of fear itself and how it works is essential to bringing an individual to the place of release and that’s not easy in some cases but like Cturtle said, it’s a recovery. The third thought I’d put forward once a person recognises the need to completely give their issues over to God and understand this root fear that drives their issues is to turn them to the Word of God. Now that might sound like a bit of a cop-out however, I believe that when the Word is taught to an individual in love, with Grace and in the correct way, then God’s Word is truly more powerful than any two edged sword but here’s what I believe to be the problem. God’s Word teaches us that Milk is for the Babes and the Meat of the Word is for those who are full of age (experienced and elder Christians) however if God’s Word, all of which is a masterpiece, is taught incorrectly then it’s doubtful a Christians would ever really grow. No, a Christian especially new, needs to first establish themselves in Love and in Grace and to find their feet in their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ which comes from teaching them how to hear from God, listening to Milk Teachings and last but not least, fellowship with other believers especially those who have been around the block a few times. And we’ll find that many of the issues an individual has just falls away in the process. I’ll go for one more point so as to not go on too long and this is a big one, them encountering God for themselves. I use the illustration of an apple; could you imagine if you were standing up in-front of a congregation of people who had never tasted an apple before and you were explaining to them that they are juicy and crunchy and full of sweetness well, you would have a whole congregation of people walking out of there having a ‘head knowledge’ of what it’s like to eat an apple but, they have no idea whatsoever what it tastes like. This is exactly the position you find yourself in at times as a Pastor and I certainly learned early on as a Youth Pastor that no matter how great my teachings were, no matter how much I adored the kids, took them to Christian events, planned weekends camping or spent time with them in prayer; that only God could come through and transform their lives with the Big Guns. Wee example before I finish. I had one lad and his Father, who was split up from his Mum had said to him, “don’t text me, don’t facebook me and don’t phone me I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.” This lad was 14 and we were close to the family so it was quite easy to support him and make sure that he knew that God would never think the same way. But, I knew he was sad underneath and I’d prayed and prayed as you could imagine however at youth event, God spoke to Him directly and changed him in a way that I could never have dreamt of. The lad had a vision and it was a vision of him walking into his father’s restaurant but it was empty and as he stood there in his vision, God came up behind him and said “why are you looking for your father? I’m right here.” This broke him completely, what joy, and from then on he was changed! He forgave his father in the Lord’s Spirit but no longer felt he needed to carry the burden anymore but more than that, he knew he now that had a father who wouldn’t let him down. Now Sharon and I were absolutely assured that we did a fantastic job with the youth church but in the end, no matter how much love and support we gave, nothing could compare to encounters with God. The reason I shared that last bit was because it was a great teaching for me too, I realised early that I was never really there to shoulder too much of the burden, I was there to oversee the work of God’s Spirit and His Big Guns came through every time after that. Christians need encounters with Jesus Christ like that otherwise they’ll only ever have that knowledge of how an apple tastes and it is the same with God, you can know all mysteries and have all knowledge but without love (God is Love), it’s nothing. I think that all of these factors are some of the keys to weaning an individual out of an old way of thinking and recovering into another and I’ve purposely kept this message to a brief so that God’s Spirit can work through those individuals who’ll comment so others can be blessed. I hope this has been an enjoyable message, I’m more used to speaking sermons that writing them! Blessings….