“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 NIV
The Oxford Dictionary gives the definition for fixating as: "to cause (someone) to acquire an obsessive attachment to someone or something." Synonyms are: obsessed with, preoccupied with, obsessed about, focused on, gripped by, engrossed in, fanatical about, hooked on.
I am one of those "fix-it" kind of people. I am also an over-thinker. Okay, I'm a control freak. Hey, before you judge us control freaks as all bad, remember that we are the ones that keep the order in the family. We put balance into what could be complete chaos. But like any personality strength, there is also some weakness.
As the mom of children who struggled with addiction, mental health issues, and one on the Autism Spectrum, fixing (or should I say saving) them became an obsession. I would wake up thinking and praying about how to help them.
Truth be told, I actually got very little sleep most nights as I ruminated over the countless things that could go wrong and probably would go wrong if I didn't intervene.
If you're anything like me, you might also have an over-weighted sense of responsibility to get your loved ones out of their present messes. You may even struggle with self-blame, as I have, which can hold you hostage in fixation mode.
Fixing the Fixer
Getting out of the habit of obsessing over our loved one's problems, especially where our children and their safety is concerned, is no easy task. If you're reading this blog, you have probably reached the point where you recognize that you have a problem, especially if your fixation has negatively affected your daily functioning, other family relationships, job, or more importantly, your relationship with the Lord.
If this sounds like you, ask yourself the following questions.
Am I truly responsible for my adult child's or loved one's actions? Am I to blame for their behavior? Are these beliefs true or false?
Do I believe my mind has become obsessed with fixing my loved one? Do I spend the better part of the day policing their actions and whereabouts?
Do I have any control over my the choices or decisions my loved one is making for their life? If so, how much or how little?
How is this affecting my relationship with the rest of my family and friends? How is it affecting my health? What about my relationship with the Lord?
Am I willing to take the actions necessary to change how I think and act concerning my child and people I love so much? Am I ready to let go and trust the Lord with them?
Counseling and support groups can help us to get things off our chest and take a healthier approach in our thinking and actions. In some cases, a visit to Christian therapist for biblical counseling or to a mental health professional to discuss possible medication to treat OCD, depression, or anxiety might be in order. I am not here to advise for or against any of those treatment options. The Lord and the experts will guide you on that decision. In my experience, though, I have found that all too often, we negate the necessary spiritual transformation, instead, seeking after temporary physical solutions.
Prior to taking any action, we should keep in mind that our battle is first won or lost in the spiritual realm, prior to being manifested here in our physical bodies and minds. The Lord first works on transforming our thinking.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8 NIV
In these verse we are given directions on what to do to overcome our obsession with fixing others. Start with prayer and calling on the Lord. We approach the Throne of Grace with Thanksgiving.
How do you start off praying? If you are like me, you may start off crying, begging, and pleading for God to fix your special someone. I always toss in some reminders to God that He needs to act and act now.
The Lord desires for his children to cry out to Him. He wants us to ask for help. But, like any earthy Father, He longs to hear his children tell them they love Him. He embraces our adoration. He is moved by our thankfulness. No matter what is going wrong in our lives, we have a God who loves us very much. He cherishes our hearts of gratitude.
While we remain in the presence of God with an attitude of worship and praise, his peace will envelope our hearts and minds. Blessed calm!
How much time are you spending with the Lord before you charge out to the door to start fixing your family's problems? I have to be honest about this one. I can be very easily distracted. I can be praying one minute and preaching the next.
Healing the broken mind, the one bent on fixing, takes time. The mind needs to be renewed. Old thought patterns die hard. Before leaving your quiet time with the Lord, get to that place of peace. It will be time well spent.
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3 NIV
Finally, we are charged with having the mind of Christ. Truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, admirability, excellence, and praiseworthiness...these are qualities we gain as we learn to trust God. These are gained as we surrender old negative thoughts and exchange them for the attitude of our Lord.
Spend time in the bible; let it soak into you. Worship music can penetrate deeply and heal a wounded soul. Seek out the support and accountability of people you trust will speak to you the truth in love.
Healing the Broken
Finally, ask the Lord to soften your heart toward your broken loved one. While they have brought on some or all of their troubles through bad choices or all-out rebellion, we can become fixated on their behavior, losing sight of the person. God never lost sight of us, and He won't lose sight of them. Ask the Lord to help you see them through His eyes.
Once again, confession time. I admit that I have forgotten what my children "look like" at times. I saw poor choices, bad attitudes, and rebellion. I forgot to look deeper and see their talents, humor, kindness, and sensitivity. I saw their past and present. God sees their futures. He is working things out for his glory, even in the lives of those we may consider to be a lost cause. With God, they are never a lost cause.
When we have the Lord, we always have hope. He is our peace. May you hold onto him with gratitude and let him do the fixing so you don't have to.