In my early relationships, I spent so much energy trying to please my friends and partners that I had very little left to pursue my own goals. I had no real sense of myself or what goals I might pursue. This is commonly referred to as codependency. In family systems terms, it is a lack of self-differentiation. Our sense of self is defined by how other people perceive us rather than how we see ourselves. We give our lives into the control of others. Our well-being depends upon being accepted by others and when we feel rejected we attack or get out of Dodge.

Frankly, it’s exhausting. And what’s worse, it’s all a waste of energy. This is all energy that could be used in pursuing a purposeful life. From a Christian point of view, it is energy that could be used to glorify God and follow after Christ’s call of discipleship and mission. If all our energy is being used to please or fix others then we will never have a life of our own or become the people that God is calling us to be.

First of all, it is important to know that our identities all begin with our primary caregiver’s perception of us. We first see ourselves in the reflection of our primary caregiver’s face (usually our mother’s, but also fathers and grandparents or whoever takes care of us when we are very young). If we see love and concern, we see ourselves as worthy of love and concern. If we see indifference, disdain, or anger, then we see ourselves as not being worthy of love and perhaps that others are not trustworthy to provide love. (For more about Attachment Theory)

If a person does not get that sense of being lovable from their parents, they will seek love high and low, but may never trust it when they find it. Or they will push it away or run away from it when they see it. It can even impact our ability to have a secure, loving relationship with God. We may be always be seeking to please God, hoping that in doing so we will get what we need from God- a transactional relationship. Or we may not trust that there could be a loving, trustworthy God worth loving or being loved by.

So, our energy either goes to trying to make ourselves acceptable to God or it goes to a meaningless, selfish pursuit of taking care of ourselves because nobody else will do it. Either way, it’s a waste of energy and it does not represent God’s love.

God’s love is for the sake of the other. We do not love to get what we want. We love for the sake of others. And we can’t have a meaningful life without receiving and sharing love with others. God’s love has no place in simply living for self. God’s love is abundant and there is enough for you and everyone else.

Our purpose as followers of Christ is to share God’s love with the world, but we can’t share what we have not accepted for ourselves. We must let God love us. We must accept God’s total, unconditional acceptance of us as God’s beloved and even lovable children.

We can help this happen for other people by loving and accepting them in the same way that we have been loved and accepted by God. We will only do it for others to the degree that God’s love and acceptance have become a profound reality in our lives.

Loving others to try to gain acceptance, and spurning love to seek our needs on our own are so much wasted energy. These pursuits serve no one but self.

Know that you were created out of love, you are loved, and you are created to love.

If you are struggling with self-acceptance, in accepting God’s acceptance of you, or if you find it hard to love and trust others and/or God, take the GPS Spiritual Inventory, and schedule a debrief session with me to discuss your results and a plan for development. There is more love for you and a more loving you to be gained.

For more information about becoming a GPS Spiritual Inventory© Certified Practitioner email us at Registration is open for our November training cohort,

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