So many families who live with the dysfunction of a wayward loved one struggle to find just the right solution that will cause their loved one to change. Paralyzed by fear, defeated by hopelessness, they walk through life never experiencing joy….joy has been deferred until…until…until their loved one changes.
Lifetimes are spent sacrificing personal well-being and fulfillment all in an attempt to change someone else.
Body, mind and soul become depleted as we become financially, spiritually, and emotionally bankrupt.
No matter what we do, we cannot effect change in the life of our loved one. We wait. We search. We believe we are responsible for the change in their lives; and the pain of our struggle grows as we continue to refuse to accept that which we do not want to accept.
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
BREAKING NEWS: You are the change you’ve been looking for!
You are NOT responsible for the choices, the behaviors, the consequences of your prodigals life.
He/she IS responsible for his/her choices, behaviors and must face the sting of the consequences to learn from their prodigal journey. As long as we continue to assume the responsibility (cross THEIR personal boundaries), we rob them of the growth opportunity that is presented with every poor choice, every dangerous action, every irresponsible behavior. As long as we continue to enable our prodigals, we engage in their journey causing significant collateral damage. Both to them and to us.
The change you’ve been looking for is IN you!
Things do not change; we change. ~ Henry David Thoreau
You can step into JOY today: YOU can change!
* Decide today to step back into your life.
* Build a fence around you. Define what is your responsibility and what is not. Remember, fences keep danger out and keep you inside, safe from entering harm’s way.
* Begin your ‘boundary training.’ Respect your fence! Honor your boundaries! “Do” your boundaries!
“If your boundary training consists only of words, you are wasting your breath. But if you ‘do’ boundaries […others] will internalize the experiences, remember them, digest them, and make them part of how they see reality.” ~Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Feel the effectiveness of Dr’s Cloud and Townsend’s words: Here we’ve been trying to affect change for all of these years….and all we had to do was establish and ‘do’ our boundaries! We are the change we’ve been looking for!
* Choose what will be protected behind your new fence: your joy, your happiness, your dreams, your goals. Family, finances, faith, fun! What do you want your life to look like? Remember, life is NOT a dress rehearsal! You pass this way only once…isn’t it time to take the reins of your life…and ENJOY!
But what about our prodigals? How can we move on without them?
Grab your Bibles and read Luke 15: 11-24. I’ll be here waiting…go ahead…give it a read 🙂
I just have one question: What did the father of the lost son do?
He did not chase after his prodigal and enter the pig pen with him.
He did not save his prodigal from hunger, despair, or squander.
He! Stayed! Home! He stayed behind his front gate and continued on with his life. Oh, he awaited the return of his lost son (and I can imagine him sending his servants each and every day to look for his son’s return) for we read in vv 22-24: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
The father waited, but he never took one step out of his own life, his own purpose. He didn’t engage in his prodigal’s journey in spite of the famine, hardship, danger or despair.
If you love a prodigal–you KNOW, how you KNOW–this could not have been easy.
And yet, what do we learn from the father in this parable?
PREPARE FOR THE BANQUET!
We’re gonna need a fortress of boundaries to prepare for that banquet, aren’t we, for with every word of struggle our prodigal faces, we are tempted to ease their pain. With every devastating phone call, we are tempted to save her. With every discovery of imminent harm, we are tempted to pay the price in their stead.
Yet, if we continue to try to change that which we cannot change, how will we ever be able to one day throw a banquet upon their return home if we are broken emotionally, financially and spiritually.
The change begins in us!
Return of the Prodigal by Lionello Spada