Freedom from Playing God

 “Imagine there are two circles,” our pastor said, tracing invisible circles on the floor of the stage.

“One circle is where God wants you to be,” he explained. “The other is where you tend to be.”

His demonstration caused me to think of codependency. One of my problems in relationships has been me trying to drag people (especially family members) out of the circle they tended to be in–which included a sinful lifestyle or an apathy toward God–to the circle called, “Where God wants you to be.”

At that moment I saw how futile those efforts were. Even my efforts to drag myself from one circle to the other had failed.  

When I’ve been trapped into doing this, I wasn’t depending on the Holy Spirit and God’s grace to do the work in other people’s lives—or even my own. When I felt God wasn’t doing something, I tried to do it for Him. If I prayed a family member would change, and time passed with nothing major happening, I would take matters into my own hands and devise a plan or a scheme (mostly on a subconscious level) to try to get them to change.  

My plans to get others to change—to move to that God circle—have included lectures or sermons, often with many Bible verses included.  Or I would resort to pleas for them to read a book that I was certain would transform their thinking and their lives. Also there have been countless attempts to drag them to church or religious seminars. Sometimes they’d go along just to get me to keep quiet.

As I’ve been convicted that these practices are just as sinful as the sins my loved ones are caught in, this thought has come to mind: “Pray more than you say.”      

God does not want me to ignore people’s sin or refuse to help them to overcome it, but I am to let prayer lead the way. In Galatians 6:1—the verse right before the one that says to carry each other’s burdens—I am told: 

“…if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently…”

When I see the word restore, I think of Psalm 23:2-3  where it says, 

“He leads me beside quiet waters; he restores my soul.” NIV

 So who is to be doing the restoring? Is it me or Jesus? When I looked it up in the Concordance, I saw that the word “restore” in Psalm 23 means “to turn back” while the word “restore” in Galatians 1 means “to complete thoroughly, ie repair or adjust, mend.” 

As I meditate on these two verses I see that Jesus is the one who can turn people back to Himself, but the person I am to reach out to with the idea of restoring is the one that is aware of his sin and has a desire to deal with it. This person wants to overcome sin and has even come to me asking me how to do it. That is a different group than the ones I tend to go for—those who deny their behavior is sin.

I am through with trying to drag people from where they are to where I think God wants them to be. What freedom there is in that. Now I have more time to ask God for help to deal with my own waywardness.

 Is there someone in your life that you keep trying to drag to where you think God wants them to be? Are You willing to give them back to the Lord, so He can restore their soul?

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About elainecreasman

I am a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. Since 1986 I have led the Suncoast Christian Writers Group.
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6 Responses to Freedom from Playing God

  1. I like it, Elaine. Have some of the same struggles myself.

  2. shen says:

    This is a wonderful post. The two circles demonstrate the concept very well.

    The first quarterly SteppersWisdom Blog Carnival is coming out next month. If you don’t know, a blog carnival is list of articles about a particular subject. I looked for one on twelve step programs, and when I found that there was not one, I started SteppersWisdom.

    Like all twelve-step events, this is not for profit. The only thing that happens is, if you submit and article and it is accepted I will post a link and a brief description of the article at the SteppersWisdom site on August 15th.

    This article would be a wonderful addition. If you care to submit, you can find a link to the SteppersWisdom site and to the submission place at the Blog Carnival home on my website.

    peace

  3. Kim Sadler says:

    Well put, Elaine. Reminds me that, to the extent I rest in God’s desire and ability to make me more like Christ, I can trust him to know and handle the best way to do that for others.

  4. Jane Reece says:

    Ha! ha!

    Your blogs always hit “the bull’s eye” for me. Today I was reflecting on a session with a Christian counselor over 20 years ago. She said, “There is only one Messiah, Jane. One. And His intials are “JC” not “JVR.”

    “Moi?!!! She thinks that I have a Messianic complex. Why I’ve been the victim of a bunch of control freaks; I can’t be guilty of trying to play God myself!”

    Time lapsed and I forgot her admonition. Until my best friend got sober and dumped me. I mourned that loss like a death . Then the Holy Spirit convicted me of trying to control her. Oops! I was unconsciously singing a sad tune:
    “Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
    Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
    Let Janie fix it for you;
    She knows just what to do!
    She specializes on things called impossible.
    Just let her have her say,
    (She doesn’t even have to pray!)
    And do things her way.
    Janie will get you in such a mess that only Jesus can fix for you!”

    Only one Messiah and I was trying to do His job! Another day to shirk off codependency and false responsibility!

    Elaine, many thanks.

    • Dear Jane, Thank you so much for your comment. Where did that song come from? Did you make that up? I could so relate. The good news is that God has convicted us of this issue, and we are being set free. When I think back to how controlling I used to be, I can’t believe that people tolerated me. How glad I am that God is so gracious and merciful. Keep letting me know when what I write hits home. It really encourages me. Take care and God bless. Elaine

  5. Mary Ardis says:

    Your message truly is the essence of what set my heart free – turning over my loved ones to God to change and not trying to do it for Him. It has been amazing how one by one He has been faithful in reaching lost loved ones. Sometimes the circumstances He allowed to happen in their lives were hard to watch and not try to stop but I have learned Our Father really does know best. May your blog bless many restless hearts.

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