The shaming and freeing truth that real love stands alone

Column Post by Laura Hyers

It’s funny, isn’t it, the way one relationship can be affected or influenced by so many others? It’s hard to be friendly to the person who hurt your best friend/spouse/sibling—or it is for me, anyway. My mom has a funny little counselor-speak word for when that happens: it’s called codependency—dependence on the needs of, or control by, another.

It sounds complicated and gross because it is. It’s not healthy, and it leads to manipulation and control issues and all sorts of other messy counselor-speak things that my psych degree could tell you all about, but those aren’t really important. What’s important is that the relationship you’re dealing with at the moment be solely influenced and directed by that relationship and that one alone.

This applies to people, of course, but what really comes to mind when I think about this is my relationship with God. I’ve always been wary of being that girl—the one who is just too much. It could be too outspoken as a woman, too much the opposite of whatever I’m expected to be, too radical in my service or lifestyle or worship.

The worship is what gets me the most, if I can be honest. I’m afraid of looking like a fake, an imitator or something like that. It makes no sense, considering I’ve never been called any of those things in a worship setting. I’ve never really been addressed regarding any worship, much less my own. But I’m an approval addict, and I want to be accepted and liked and I want people to think I’m more or less a nice person.

One Sunday morning at church I was thinking about how I wish this part of the service were different, or I was sitting in that seat, so that I could really get into the worship and not care what anyone thought, when I felt a huge nudge within my spirit: what if God showed His love and mercy to me in accordance with the people who were around at the moment? What if His grace was codependent and only poured on me freely when He knew those around me wouldn’t be weirded out?

I felt my face burn as this nudge from God almost knocked me over. How could I hold back in my relationship with my Savior and Salvation because I was scared my church family might think less of me? I was ashamed and liberated at the same time, if such a thing even makes sense: ashamed that I was so fearful and codependent, liberated in realizing the freedom we are offered in our love from, and for, Christ.

What does liberation look like for you this week? Is it letting go of the past, or maybe chasing that dream you know God put on your heart? Maybe, like me, its finding freedom in worship and the unconditional and completely not-codependent love of God.

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for our current FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

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