How often do you say to someone:
- “I just don’t want you to think that ______ “ (fill in the blank).
- “I just don’t want you to feel that ________ “ (fill in the blank).
- “I just don’t want you to believe that ________” (fill in the blank).
Do you use those kinds of statements often? If so, what you are about to read may save you from significant heartaches.
A desire to shape or stop, guide or get rid of, create, or control the inner thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of another person is a tell-tale sign of a relationship addiction.
Like an addict is dependent on a substance for some semblance of happiness, a person desiring to control someone else’s inner thoughts and emotions is addicted to that relationship for their happiness.
It goes like this:
I always want you to think, feel, or believe a certain way because I feel better when you do!
The desire to control another’s thoughts, feelings, or beliefs can be as addictive as a chemical substance.
- A mom can’t have her daughter think a certain way about family.
- A husband can’t have his wife feel a certain way about marriage.
- A son can’t have his parents believe a certain thing about his life.
- A young girl can’t have her boyfriend think she’s not perfect for him.
- And on and on and on.
The Addiction Trap
A relationship control addict, unlike a real chemical addict, may be able to cover the addiction.
However, a misplaced relational goal of controlling another person’s interior thoughts or feelings often leads to a chemical addiction.
If you work so hard to control another person, but that person outright rejects you, your goal to control has failed.
Masking the painful feelings of failure and rejection is often the root reason people turn to chemical addiction.
It’s best to let go and be okay.
How Can I Let Go of Control?
Let me ask you a question.
What is your goal in terms of your relationship with GOD?
Most Christians would respond by saying:
“I just want GOD to feel good about me.”
When asked “how” one becomes pleasing to GOD, the Christian answer is usually:
“By what I do in life, how I think daily, and how I feel about the LORD.”
According to most believers, pleasing God is all about what you do, think, and feel.
That’s why many followers of Jesus are relational addicts.
Let me explain:
Every Christian I know never meets God’s standard by what they do, think, or feel. As a result, most Christians never seem to revel in the joy that God always thinks pleasant thoughts about them, sings continually with joy over them, and believes His people are forever pleasing.
Since Christians can’t get their acceptance of GOD through their actions and don’t understand the grace of God in Jesus Christ, they’ll turn to other people for the affirmation and happiness they so desperately want and need:
- “I just don’t want you to think…
- I just don’t want you to feel…
- I just don’t want you to believe….”
Old-fashioned idolatry is replacing God’s delight in you with another human being’s.
Until you recognize that GOD has “let go” of how He feels about your wrong thinking, your negative feelings, and your screwed-up beliefs in life because of His grace toward you in Jesus the Messiah, you will never break free from relationship addictions on earth.
In Christ, You Are Pleasing to God
Learn to be free in what God thinks, feels, and believes about you, and THEN you can learn to “Let Go and Be Okay” with others.
Focus on GOD’s love for you.
- “We love Him because He first loved us – I John 4:19.
- “GOD demonstrates His love for us that even when we were yet in sin, Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8.
- “Yes, I (the LORD) have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3.
- “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
GOD, in His grace to you, gave for you His Son, Who became “the end of your goal” to be obedient to the Law to obtain God’s pleasure, for it is written:
“For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
“But wait,” you may say, “I read the Old Testament for myself, and it says that God’s acceptance, blessings, and favor are on those who obey His Law!”
“If you obey the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity – Deut. 28:2-4)
And listen to this!
“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.” (Deut. 28:15-29).
“Wade Burleson, how can you read those two passages above and ever suggest to anyone that attempting to please God by obedience to Law is a misplaced goal in life?
Christ Is the End of the Law
“For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes” Romans 10:4.
The word translated “end” is the Greek word τέλος, which ancient Greek writers used to mean goal or purpose.
Most of the anti-Nicene Christian fathers (pre-3rd century AD) translated τέλος as “goal” or “purpose.”
What does “Christ is the goal or purpose of the Law” mean?
It’s pretty simple:
“Jesus Christ is God’s consummate goal and purpose for which God gave the Law.”
The Law’s purpose was not given for you to obey to become pleasing to God.
When God introduced the Law, it made sinners even worse by revealing more of our sinfulness.
“I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the Law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet'” (Romans 7:7).
Any church, religious organization, or lifestyle emphasizing obedience to the Law to be pleasing to God has missed the Gospel. Christ is the purpose of the Law to everyone who believes.
You’ve missed the mark if you attend a church that measures your love for God.
Find a church that teaches God’s love for you through the Person and work of Christ Jesus.
Whether it’s His life, which is a fulfillment of the Festival Law, His death, which is the purpose of the sacrificial Law, or His resurrection, which is the fulfillment and purpose of the prophetical Law, the entire Law was given to point us to Jesus Christ.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith and not our works.” (Galatians 3:24).
LET GO & BE OKAY
So if you wish ever to be free from relationship addiction, get an understanding that you’re pleasing to GOD by the performance and Person of Jesus the Anointed One on your behalf. Learn to enjoy God’s love for, pleasure in, and singing over you.
Theologians call God’s enjoyment of His relationship with you justification by imputed righteousness. I call it living my life, feeling the pleasure of God, independent of my performance.
“But whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:7-10).
LET GO & BE OKAY
Because GOD sings over you for your faith in Jesus, you don’t need to control others being okay with you to feel good about yourself.
So LET GO of the desire to shape or stop, guide or get rid of, create, or control another person’s inner thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and BE OKAY with it all!
GOD is the One who counts! And He’s good with you for eternity.