25 February 2020

Is Codependency Bad For You? Here's the Science

I started going to counseling several years ago. What first brought me there was a troubled relationship - a negative situation that, of course, I thought I bore no responsibility for. I didn't know how wrong I was, and how much learning I had ahead of me.

I know it might sound utterly ridiculous, but I really thought I was doing okay. The other person I was dealing with was the one who "had all the problems." I thought I had it all together and did not have any work to do on myself.

Within the first six months of working with a therapist, I found myself engrossed in a topic that had been 100-percent foreign to me: codependency. What I learned opened doors for me to take responsibility for myself, which was a huge step in my journey toward personal growth.

What is codependency?

A number of people could have their own unique definition to capture what codependency is, but no one captures it as well as leading author Melody Beattie. She explains, "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior."

The important thing to remember about this definition is that it is focused on our own behavior, not someone else's. Beattie explains that though a relationship might seem to be outward-centered, codependency "lies in ourselves, in the ways we have to let other people's behavior affect us and in the ways we try to affect them: obsessing, the controlling, the obsessive 'helping', caretaking, low self-worth bordering on self-hatred, self-repression, abundance of anger and guilt, and communication problems."

Codependent tendencies are often found in people who are dealing with a person who is struggling with an addiction. In some sense, a codependent uses these unhealthy ways of coping to deal with the chaos they find themselves in.

A codependent may actually think they are "helping" the other person by trying to control them. In actuality, they are taking responsibility for someone other than themselves; and that is always a dangerous role to undertake.

But when we know better, we can make better choices.

Read the rest at Grotto Network . . .

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13 February 2020

A Practice That is Changing how I Pray (& Hear God's Voice)

Asking Jesus questions.

Friends, this has become a game changer in my prayer life.

It is a practice that is deepening my relationship with God.

Jesus, what do you think of me right now?
Jesus, how are you loving me right now?
Jesus, what do you have to say to me about ________?

It sounds like such a simple little thing. But really, it has been changing me and how I hear God speak to me.

Let me back up a bit to February 2018.

I was in Phoenix for one of the regional Blessed is She retreats. One of the talks was given by a priest. In his homily at Mass, he spoke about the importance of inviting the presence of Jesus into every area of our lives, asking Him what He thinks or desires for us in a situation.

Jesus, what do you have to say to me about ________?
What do you think about ________?

It made an impression on me. 

I came home from the weekend and kept thinking about that question.
So much so, that I even hung those words up on my letter board in my living room.

That was two years ago.

Since then, I have noticed in little ways a heart shift within myself. If I start to worry or feel anxious about particular situations, I try to catch myself and ask that question, Jesus what do you have to say to me about this?

It slows me down, settles my easily rattled heart.

It is not a fool-proof method, but I am finding myself being more aware of my inner thought life as I live each day.

This practice of asking Jesus questions has helped me nurture and make time more for silence when I pray in the morning. 

When I get distracted in prayer (which is often!), I will go back to asking Jesus and just sitting in the silence, listening...waiting.

With asking Jesus these and various types of questions, it has also more deeply developed my ability to hear the voice of God in my life.

When I was new to growing in my faith, I felt so confused about how to know if this was God speaking to me or not. I over thought it and sometimes got myself worked up into a tizzy.

The older I get, the more I mellow and settle in my spirit; especially in a spiritual sense.

Asking Jesus questions helps me listen better and see the need for silence in my life. It is teaching me new things about the nature of God and how he personally speaks to me.

What are the spiritual practices changing you in your life right now?

What is God doing in you and where is he moving in new ways?

Ask Jesus a question and see where it takes you.

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05 February 2020

Retreating, Speaking, & Living

I took off some time over Christmas +New Year's. It was absolutely delightful.

Since 2020 rolled around, it has been go-go-go. There have been some exciting things happening around these parts along with some sweet surprises.

One of the spiritual goals I had for this year was to go on a silent retreat. Several years ago, I did the Spiritual Exercises with a priest friend over the course of five days. Wanting to do something a bit different this time, I have booked a room at The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani for five days in May.

It is a Cistercian monastery which was the home and is the final resting place of Thomas Merton. He is one of my favorite spiritual writers and thinkers of all time.

My time there will not be a guided retreat, but more open-ended. I will attend Mass, participate in praying The Hours, and only bring my Bible, journal, and maybe a book for spiritual reading.

The last months have been busy with preparing for upcoming speaking events. This past weekend I went to Branson, MO to lead a day retreat for women at a parish. 
My host Nyssa was so gracious and kind, I met some lovely women (not to mention Nann my Uber driver!), and I was able to get Chick-Fil-A for dinner my last night.

I had the most wonderful time and came home happily exhausted.

At the end of this month, I am flying to speak at a diocesan youth conference in St. Augustine, Florida and have a few local things between February and March.

As I do more of these things, I see how much it feeds my soul, how much I love it. I just keep praying for God to open more doors and new opportunities as He sees fit for me.

I had a special movie date with my nephew Xavier. 
The same night, my sister Annie and I had a special movie marathon together.

I have started seriously dating someone. It is going really well and has been a sweet surprise from the end of 2019. 
It was a surprising (even jarring) at first because right off the bat it felt so natural, easy, and comfortable...it continues to feel that way. I shared with my mom a month or two ago, Mom, is this what is supposed to feel like when you meet the right person?
She smiled saying, Yeah, I think so sweetie.

We are not rushing down a church aisle, but the pace of this feels different yet very good. I am making mental notes along the way and paying attention to how I feel; and so far, this feels very good to me.

We have been meeting each other's family and friends and that has been going well. Apparently my two-year old nephew gave his stamp of approval. I am looking forward to some fun adventures we have coming up in the next month or two.

I have been able to catch up with a couple of dear girlfriends over the last month and am looking forward to going out with a few more this month.

I am staying present (as best as I can lol) and reminding myself that God's will, with all things in my life, is revealed in a quiet, beautiful unfolding. 
Life is rich and meaningful, and for that I am very grateful.

What is new and exciting in your life as we start this new decade!?

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