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Precious Prodigal
Today's Blog Post

 
 

There is nothing in the world more devastating
to a parent than to have a prodigal child.

 

 
   
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  July 06, 2015:  Letters to Susan Part 2: It’s a full time job just to fix myself
#fulltimejob #workingonme
 
 
 
  Song of Sol 1:6…they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Part of this post is my response to a devastated parent who emailed me asking how she could help her prodigal. (Note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.)

Dear Susan:

I know you were disappointed when I told you that you couldn’t “fix” Missy. That was my reaction when I first realized I couldn’t “fix” my prodigal. It was just a baby step from there to realize I couldn’t change anyone else either. In fact, the only people you or I can change are ourselves…and we can’t even do that without God’s help.

The first thing we need to change is how we take care of ourselves. You might be saying, “Well, of course I take care of myself.” But do you really? The woman in Song of Solomon said her siblings made her “keeper of their vineyards.” Not a problem, right? However, she goes on to say, “mine own vineyard have I not kept.” That’s where it begins to be a problem.

And isn’t this the perfect picture of us? There we are working our little fingers off weeding, fertilizing and watering everyone else’s vineyard while our own vineyards are neglected. We’re so busy taking care of everyone else that we don’t take care of ourselves.

You can determine whether you’re taking care of yourself by asking a few simple questions. Am I sleeping at night or am I staying up waiting for my prodigal to call or come home? How much time do I spend worrying about where she is and what she’s doing? Have I missed work or leisure activities because I’m “helping” her straighten out the latest mess she’s made?

What about my daily routine? Am I eating nutritious, enjoyable meals, or is my stomach tied in knots so I can’t eat at all? Do I go places or do things I enjoy, or am I sitting at home in case she “needs” me? If I do go somewhere, do I leave my cell phone turned on in case she calls? Do I spend time with family or friends, finding pleasure in being with them? Do I talk about a variety of things, or do my prodigal and her behavior or my feelings about them dominate every conversation?

Depending on your answers, you don’t need me to tell you whether you’re taking care of yourself. And if we don’t take care of our own basic needs, we can’t blame the Lord when we’re discouraged and weary in the path He has given us to walk.

Taking care of yourself will also be reflected in your spiritual life. You said you’re reading your Bible and finding new meaning and comfort in it. And that’s exactly where you need to be. This isn’t the time to stop going to church or praying or reading your Bible. There will never be a time you need a strong connection to God more than you do right now.

Taking care of ourselves is new to most of us. So let me get you started by asking what you would be doing today if you weren’t stressing about Missy or trying to “help” her do the right thing? Would you be having lunch with a friend? Reading a good book? Going on a trip to the mountains?

Choose one thing you’d be doing if your life were not crazy right now and go do it. In recovery support groups, they call that, “take the body, and the mind will follow.” Our prodigals are responsible for a lot of things. However, they aren’t to blame if our own lives are in chaos. If our vineyard is overgrown and full of weeds, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today, started taking care of ourselves?
 
 
 
     
 
 
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  It isn’t easy to walk a wilderness path, and we who do often feel alone. But there is a God who knows our every fear and heartbreak, and He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. If you would like to know more about how you can have a personal relationship with Him, CLICK HERE.  
 
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  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,  
  Accepted, Accountability, adversity, affirmations, Alanon, angels, armor, armour, arrogance, bail, Believing God, bitterness, blame, brothers, building, burden, carrying burdens, chaos, chrysalis, church, circumstances, comfort, compassion, complaining, content, contentment, control, counseling, death, Desperation, devotions, discouragement, Divorce, doing what’s right, dysfunction, dysfunctional, eagle, emergency, enabling, encouragement, enemy, envy, Examine your heart, exhaustion, faint, Faith, family, fear, forget, forgetting, forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving yourself, free will, friends, Friendship, Giving, Giving God first place, God, God’s Sovereignty, God’s love, gold, gossip, gratitude, grief, grieving, grumbling, help, helping, Hezekiah, honesty, hope, humility, hurt, hurting, jumping to conclusions, letting go, loss, love, love mercy, loving mercy, Loyalty, lying, manipulation, Marriage, martyr, meditations, mental-health, mercy, miserable comforters, mount on wings as eagles, mourning, overcoming, poetry, poison, Powerful, Praise, prayer, press on, prodigal, prodigal’s elder brother, quiet time, reaching out, Recovery, rejoice, relationships, religion, remember, remembering, repentance, resentment, Sacrifice, salvation, self care, self will, self-esteem, self-pity, selfishness, Serenity, Serenity Prayer, Service, Serving my generation, setting limits, sharing, sibling rivalry, siblings, sisters, sleep, Sovereignty of God, spirituality, Storms, strength, Survival, taking care of yourself, tale-bearing, thinking, thoughts, trust, trusting God, Unbelief, valley, Waiting, Waiting on the Lord, Why me?, Worry,