Our precious granddaughter, June Bug (who is our world), takes swimming lessons. She has been taking lessons since she was less than a year old. She is now nearly two. Usually there is a class of five or six children. Some of them take to it quickly and some of them cry the entire time they are in the water with their parent and the swim instructor.
As you observe the class you quickly realize that some of the children would do fine if none of the other children would cry. When they see another one begin to wail they figure, “I guess I’m supposed to be crying,” so off they go to join the chorus.
June responds to the criers a little differently. Today (of this writing) the class only had June and one other child. They were in their motorboats (a styrofoam thingy bent into a horseshoe shape) that they drape their arms over and paddle with their legs. Thus, they “motor-boat.”
June was having a great time motor-boating when the other child began to cry. She sized up the situation and motor-boated over to the other child to bring encouragement and comfort. First, she tried to give her fellow motor-boater the plastic star-fish that she was carrying. That didn’t help. Next she patted the other child on the shoulder in a comforting manner. That didn’t help. After a short time of making these attempts to bring the child into the joy of the experience, June eventually turned around and motor-boated back to her place and continued with the fun! It’s as if she was saying, “Hey I want to help you. I want to encourage you to enjoy the water with me! But if you don’t want to, if you would rather be miserable, then knock yourself out! I’m not going to let you ruin the experience for me!” Without even knowing it June Bug was demonstrating a valuable spiritual and personal truth. The difference between Co-dependence and Christ-dependence
We are called to render aid (Good Samaritan), bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, serve one another etc. We are also called to draw our sense of worth, value, and meaning, not from the service we render to others, but from the Savior we serve. Not from the response of others but from our relationship with Christ. That is the difference between being Co-dependent (where you need the approval, praise, and acceptance of others), which is dysfunctional and defeating, and being Christ-dependent (getting all of those needs met by Him) which is fulfilling and freeing.
The problem is being enough in touch with your own motives and mis-steps to recognize the difference. Here are few diagnostic questions you can ask yourself in order to find out whether you are Co-dependent or Christ-dependent.
When you serve others:
1. Are you doing it for yourself, or for Christ?
2. Are you serving the person or serving Christ by serving the person?
3. Are you interested in the praise of the person or the praise of Christ?
4. Does your joy depend upon getting a positive response from the person?
5. Can you motor-boat back and enjoy your experience even when others don’t respond positively to you?
So the next time someone around you begins to wail away take a lesson from a “Bug in the Water.” Offer help to others but don’t obsess over their response. Learn when to serve and when to separate.
Be Christ-Dependent not Co-Dependent