There’s a part of me that still gets weird when I think I’ve disappointed someone I care about. When I worry I’m failing people’s expectations, part of me starts screaming, “they must be mad at you…”. I know if I listen to that voice, I’ll hop on the co-dependency crazy train.
I used to be a raging co-dependent, but I’ve mostly overcome that part of me. Now, when I think someone’s mad at me, I’m learning to sit with the uncomfortable. I’m not called to be a pleaser of people; I’m called to be a pleaser of God. But sometimes, my inner weirdo starts projecting my co-dependent fears onto God.
Suddenly, I lose focus of all the ways He never fails me, and I begin seeing all the ways I fear I’m failing Him. I start feeling bad for being so busy and start over-analyzing my Christian walk by timing how long I pray. And then I feel guilty for stupid stuff. Then I start thinking I haven’t heard His voice for a while, so He must be mad at me.
This is a common pitfall for believers. We start imagining we are falling short, then we project our unhealthy relationship junk onto God. Next thing you know, we are convinced He is giving us the silent treatment as some cosmic form of discipline.
In my business, we call the silent treatment “passive-aggressive manipulation.” Also known as emotional blackmail. It’s the most toxic communication pattern known to man. God is not passive-aggressive. Nor is He manipulative. We are. If you want a healthy relationship with your Creator, you have to renew your mind the fact that He does not love you based on you. He loves you because He is love.
As hard as this may be to accept, if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, God’s not mad at you. And in His word, He says He loves you completely, patiently, kindly, and He’s not keeping a record of your wrongs. He’s not even punishing you. He disciplines you, which is like the word “disciple,” which means to train. No one’s ever learned a thing from the silent treatment.
Lysa TerKeurst, the author of Uninvited, says, “God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live…loved.” When I’m living from that truth, I’m learning that I’m don’t feel as needy. People’s approval and whether I meet their imagined expectations begin to lose their importance to me. When I’m mindful of the love of God that’s based on Jesus’ performance, not mine, I can not only receive that love, but I can also give it away.
Repeat after me, “God’s not mad at me, and I’m not needy! I have all the love I need placed on me because it’s not based on me!” Now, tell your inner co-dependent to sit down and shut up, and go love people without feeling like you need anything in return.