Coffee Talk Topic: Breaking Barriers with Gratitude

This episode’s coffee talk topic encompasses Breaking Barriers with Gratitude, and celebrates Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA, as well as our two year anniversary as a podcast!

Melodie Beattie said that “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Host Brandee Nielsen says “this powerful truth changed my life and helped me overcome a long, deep and dark oppression in codependency.”

Featured Guest: Brandee Nielsen

Brandee Nielsen is our host of the Christian Coffee Talk podcast and Christian Coffee Talk for Women Online Community, which exists to encourage the power, hope, and purpose of Christ in everyday life.

Brandee humbly embraces her conviction as a surrendered sister, worship leader, and author, with a great passion for fostering Revelation 12:11 among women. Her convictions include abortion awareness, human trafficking, abuse, neglect, agnosticism, codependency, and a host of other emotional dysfunctions.

Transparency

In celebration of Thanksgiving and our two year anniversary on the airwaves, a full transcript of this episode follows:

“It’s truly an honor to share my healing journey from codependency on today’s show, in the hope that you or someone you know who suffers from codependency, can find hope and freedom in what Christ will do for you too.

Codependency is a stronghold that so many people suffer, both inside and outside of the Church. But in my opinion, it does not get enough attention from those who have platforms to communicate the healing power in Christ.

Christ can help us break the barriers that codependency builds within our lives that hold us captive, just the same as He does with any stronghold. I believe that part of the reason why we don’t hear much about codependency is that people don’t understand what it is, or when it’s present.

So let’s spend a little time to understand what codependency is, and what it isn’t. I’ll share some facts, as well as my opinion based on my experience.”

Codependency

“Codependency is not a condition by which people depend on each other in normal circumstances, such as when a child depends on its parents to provide for their needs. Or when a housewife and stay at home mom depends on her husband’s income.

You might have heard that Codependency is a result of alcoholism or a condition within people who have addictions. Although it has links to the results of addiction, which I’ll get into later on, I don’t ascribe to the notion that codependency is solely a response to alcoholism or addiction.

If you look up the word codependency in Wikipedia, you’ll read that
Codependency is a controversial concept, for a dysfunctional helping relationship, where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

It further suggests that among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and a sense of identity.

I shared earlier that a heart of gratitude can break barriers, and for me, an attitude of gratitude, mixed in with a ton of humility, helped break the barriers that held me back from living my best life, due to the grip of codependency. I’ll repeat Melodie Beattie’s quote which says “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Identification

“During my healing journey from codependency, this profound truth helped set me free, because it was the pain from my past, causing the conflict in my present, which blinded my hope for tomorrow. In finding gratitude for things in my past, I became grateful for my present, and gained vision for my tomorrow. A vision that was completely hidden from my life while I was functioning as a codependent.

Melodie Beattie is an author who gave us a first look into what Codependency is and how to break free from it in her best-selling book called Codependent No More, “How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.” I’ll repeat that line, “How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself,” first published in 1986.

While this book is not categorized as faith-based, and it does not reference scripture, Melodie does acknowledge God and a higher power in the process. There are many specific Christian and biblically based books about codependency available today, but when I was introduced to Melodie’s book, I was an agnostic at the height of my struggle with codependency, and what Melodie wrote about co-dependency was and is still, true to my own experiences.

She defines co-dependency as one person who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior. This describes exactly who I was. And while undergoing psychotherapy, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Codependency. My therapist gave me the assignment to read Melodie’s book and see if I identified with it. Identified is an understatement! I felt like that book was a biography about me!

When I finally understood the condition, I defined my codependency as when I stop focusing on myself, and I depend on, and attempt to control someone else’s behavior to align with my own expectations so that I can feel safe and good about myself and my life in general.

I’ll give you an example. Have you ever tried to change someone into being who you need them to be, in order for you to feel secure, or proud or good about your life? If that’s been you, did you go out of your way to do things that they ought to be doing for themselves, but didn’t? Did you become so obsessed with changing or fixing them, that you neglected to do what you needed to do for yourself because you were too focused on them? Did you find yourself in jeopardy over losing a friend, or a job, or perhaps going into debt?

I believe a yes answer to any of those questions is more common among people in relationships than we allow ourselves to admit. However, in the more severe cases where this behavior repeats and carries forward from relationship to relationship, to the point of damaging one’s finances, friendships, and health, codependency is a serious and deeply rooted stronghold. That’s what it was in me.”

Admission

“I was codependent not only within my intimate relationship, but also in my parenting, and in some friendships during my darkest moment, all at the same time. Because of my codependent behavior, my health declined. I maxed out credit cards, my performance at work suffered, and my dignity was lost. I obsessed myself from morning till night to control these people who were suffering in their own life challenges because I needed them to be better so that I could feel better. Sounds a bit self-serving, doesn’t it?

Instead of letting them take ownership and accountability for their downfalls, I covered them and enabled them while I attempted to fix them, and I lost myself in the process.

Through my healing journey, I identified why I was a codependent, which had been ailing me all of my life. I am what they call an adult child of an alcoholic parent, and a survivor of a dysfunctional family environment, which brings me back to the connection I mentioned earlier between codependency and addiction. Codependency is born from many dysfunctions, though alcoholism in the family, is a prime precursor.

Discovering the root of codependency in my life, and taking accountability for my codependent behavior was crucial to my healing, but it wasn’t final. Not too long after I read Melodie’s book and finished my therapy, I found and surrendered my life to Christ. That’s when I learned the keys to freedom from co-dependent behaviors.”

The Power, Hope, and Purpose of Christ

“Through Christ and reading God’s word, I learned that I am who God says I am, regardless of my past, and that I was not accountable for the alcoholism which tainted my childhood, nor the behaviors in those I attempted to control. In this truth, I found gratitude and freedom.

I learned that when I was born and throughout my life, I deserved to be treated the way God my creator, planned for me to be treated. In this truth, I found gratitude and relief. In His word, I also learned how I should treat others, contrary to the enabler I was as a codependent, and according to His will and plan for their lives. I was grateful for knowing that my service to others is my service to God, which includes how I serve myself. All quite contrary to how I behaved and served as a co-dependent.

In God’s truth, I found the gratitude that Melodie talked about, which makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. The kind of gratitude that breaks barriers set up by the grip of codependency.

I’ll share some of the scriptures that support my testimony and invite you to write them down so you can read and pray them into your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name.

1 John 4:4 (ESV) says “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Psalm 1[39:13]-16 (NLT) acknowledges God by saying “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Jeremiah [29:11] (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Find and read all of chapter 31 in the book of Proverbs which explains the behaviors of a wife according to the will of God. I’ll close out with Ephesians 5:1-33 (ESV) and encourage you to do some research on your own by the power of the Holy Spirit, to guide you to scripture that speaks life into your heart and breaks strongholds.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

Resources:

Codependent No More
Conquering Codependency
Untangling Relationships

LINKS FROM THE SHOW

Connect with Brandee at www.brandeenielsen.com/about

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