Chapter 1: Facing Codependence

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The term “codependence” evolved in the 1970’s as lingo that described the family member of an alcoholic. While this is the traditional definition, in this material we are going to take it to a broader biblical definition. People in the Bible weren’t “codependent” by Jesus’ label. He dealt with people who struggled with profound immorality; and He dealt with people who had formed their own systems of earning God’s favor. In either case, Jesus offered a specific formula – a redemptive solution that could draw people from the despair of their circumstances and bring hope and healing.  They had to first define their need in order to be willing to receive what Jesus had to offer.  For those that recognized their need, He intervened in their lives. The Bible shows us that the blind could see, the deaf could hear and the sinner forgiven. But for those that couldn’t see their need, Jesus was overlooked, misunderstood and misplaced.

In our own lives, it’s imperative that we take a season to say “do I know what is happening in my heart and how Jesus wants to help, fix, heal or overcome in my life?” As Christians, we sometimes tend to negate Jesus because we either don’t recognize we need Him, or we’ve grown indifferent towards the living power He holds in our lives. For the person struggling with codependence, this is taken to a different level as the focus remains on other people’s problems and needs, all why our own get negated and devalued.

That’s because most people seeking help for codependence are dealing with another person’s bad behavior or irresponsibility. They are constantly feeling deprived from the basic necessities of love, connection and mutual value in relationships. Instead of being recipients of these vital needs, they are instead managing crisis, stress, hurts and offenses of another. Oftentimes they have suffered abuse, neglect and abandonment. The wounds are deep, and the need for healing massive and overwhelming.

The invitation to this workbook material and online study is to uncover the miraculous truth of how the power of Jesus – the same Jesus that interacted with the people in the Bible – is available to you and me. To do this, we are going to uncover the needs we have, courageously face those need, and ask God to meet them. It will be an awkward invitation to accept initially, because the invitation is that He heal and fix our own heart before asking that we are able to mend or help someone else.

Codependence requires a definitive approach with the ability to evaluate the heart through the lens of God’s truth. That’s because for those that aren’t engaging in outright immorality, it’s very hard to see the problem. Furthermore, feelings of being powerless can be overwhelming. We tend to point fingers at the circumstances in our lives as being the place to focus; all while God first asks that we go inside our own heart. What an invitation!

If you have experienced: 

  • Imbalanced relationships
  • A sense of feeling crazy and used in relationships
  • Feeling unloved and devalued
  • Not understanding where and why God allows things to happen
  • Feeling like God left you or isn’t pleased with you
  • Feeling empty, emotionally numb, or emotionally out of control
  • Feeling dependent on others
  • Feeling lost in identity


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Chapter 1 Notes