This is the third blog in a series of blogs we’ve been doing on enmeshment, detachment, and where we want to be: DIFFERENTIATED! In the last two blogs we covered in depth what it looks like to be differentiated in a marriage and with your kids. In this blog, I want to touch on what it looks like to be differentiated with parents, extended family, friends, and from your job. What happens when extended family, parents, and friends expect things out of you that you are not comfortable with? Lots of times people get frustrated and call it boundaries but really they detach which is not any healthier than being enmeshed. Can we just talk about boundaries for a few minutes? Yes, boundaries are healthy, but too many boundaries make me think of the wall of Jericho so thick that you could drive a car on top of it and listen, if you keep putting up so many boundaries you’ll wall yourself in to live a life alone. Especially if you’re not good at boundaries then what you might be doing is putting up too many boundaries in inappropriate places. Again, I’m all for boundaries and I get it that they are healthy or at least they can be but they can also be unhealthy.
What if just for a few minutes we don’t think in terms of boundaries but rather we choose to picture what it would look like to simply be differentiated. When I think of this especially with family and friends that you love, I think of how God is differentiated with us. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t go anywhere. He’s the same but we might move away from him and then run back to him, ignore him, treat him like a vending machine with our prayers and when we get what we want, He doesn’t hear from us again for a long while. But does God put up boundaries to the point of detachment from us? No, He’s just still right there where He always was. And you know why? Because He knows how to be differentiated.
Do you know the word Christian means Christlike so what if we were Christlike in this manner and we determined that we’re not going anywhere. We’re just gonna stay right where we are, be true to who we are, the same yesterday, today, and forever and if people want to do whatever they’re doing, go for it. You don’t have to join in with their crazy, but you also don’t have to turn your back on them. You can just stand firm with your decisions, your lifestyle, your example, your convictions, and your perspective. You can be open to try to understand and try to communicate. But if they want to leave, let them go. Just let them know you’ll be here with open arms if they decide to return. But you don’t have to chase them down. If someone tells you they want to leave your life, believe them.
One last scenario to consider: What if they aren’t the ones who want to leave and it’s you? What if you know you don’t have good grounds to but you’re hurt and tired of hurting. You’re irritated to no end and don’t see things changing? Then what? Here’s what…you’re not going to like it but cling to Love Himself and get your needs met by Him. Look to Him for your needs so your needs can be met and then let your love flow out from Him to them ANYWAY. Love them ANYWAY, even though they may not deserve it. Of course in cases of true abuse, leave. That’s a whole other thing! And reach out to me for help if that’s the case and I can send you to some resources who can help. But if you’re just “done with some stuff” like I’ve been before in many relationships, differentiation is your answer in order to be able to stay in relationship and bring more health to it with people you love and you know in your heart, God wants you to continue with but maybe just not like it is.
Now let’s talk about work. Must we? This one really gets me… Any other workaholics out there? Well, if you’ve ever googled why people are workaholics you’ll learn all the not so good, bad, and ugly about me and yourself if it applies. But really learning about enmeshment and differentiation has helped me with this a whole lot as well. I think it’ll help you, too. Ask yourself – What’s the motivation behind your enmeshment with your job? Are you trying to find self-worth? Are you trying to prove something to the world or to someone who said you couldn’t be successful? Are you bored? Is it just a habit? Are you driven by this imaginary blue ribbon that you think you’re gonna get one day? Is money driving every decision you make? Search your heart and see where this is coming from. And start unraveling yourself from your job piece by piece.
Challenge yourself with some goals that could help you differentiate from your job. Share some of these thoughts with someone you trust who can hold you accountable. Start planning a little fun. Europeans say that Americans live to work and they work to live. What if you pretended you were European for a little bit when it comes to work and play? Did you know that the opposite of depression is fun? Some of the greatest advice we’ve ever gotten is – Work hard. Play hard. We try to live by that. I literally have been writing this blog series from the beach. I was there for a ministers’ conference and chose to stay an extra day, work from there, and get a head on a few things while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Why not? Yolo! I’ve lived near the beach for 20 years and it’s shameful how few times I’ve let myself enjoy it because of being enmeshed with people and my job. Like Tim McGraw says…My next 30 years, I’m gonna have some fun! And I hope you will, too!
If you’d like to continue this conversation more about enmeshment, detachment, and differentiation, I’d love to. I’ll be starting to take more clients for Happy Coaching BLACK FRIDAY. I’ve been coaching a few people at first before I open it up to the public and fully launch it. The testimonies I’m getting bring tears to my eyes! I am loving it. They are loving it. I just know it’s going to be something really huge that’s a game changer for people who choose to get this Happy Coaching. Whether you’re dealing with really tough stuff or you just want to tweak a few areas of your life and really live a happy life you long for… I’d love to spread the happy and hey you can never have too much happy right!? I have a few more spots left in the pre launch phase of the happy coaching. If you’re interested to learn more, CLICK HERE!
Happy Monday, y’all!