Sometimes We Get in the Way of Other People’s Growth

Oct 28, 2013Find joy today


Tonight Julia comes home from France. It’s been 12 days of praying, fretting, and trusting. Last year at this time she was hospitalized with an unknown illness. This year? She’s facing her fears and trauma from France with such courage it takes my breath away.

Only, I’m not there to walk her through it.

Initially I worried about this.

But then I realized that sometimes we get in the way of other people’s growth by rescuing them. Click to tweet this. How?

By being a substitute God for them.

By becoming an obstacle to growth by removing consequences.

By saying advice so loud they cannot hear the voice of God for themselves.

Can you relate to this?

The Wall Around Your Heart (Jpeg Format)I have a chapter in The Wall Around Your Heart about this. Here’s a short excerpt:

Sometimes we control our family members because we idolize and idealize our perfect plan over the journey God has laid out before them. We can’t imagine being happy when others assert their independence. One mom I knew wrapped her teen as an idol around God. The two were almost equated. And when the teen left for college, this mother’s world crumpled. No longer content with God and His new plan for her life, she fell into energy-sapping depression and withdrew from everyone.


So not only does rescuing folks hinder their growth, it messes with ours. Click to tweet this. When we’re so busy controlling others and trying to make their lives what we perceive as perfect, we don’t have time to listen to the voice of God. We don’t have energy to look beyond control. It takes all our gumption.

Here’s the thing: God is BIG enough to love your loved one. He has them on a them-shaped journey. Of course you pray. Of course you offer counsel. Of course you love and offer grace. But if you’re the center of that person’s life, you are taking God’s place.

Julia is growing leaps and bounds. And surprise, surprise–I am not there to watch it. I am not there to facilitate it or make it happen. God’s love and affection for her health is bigger than mine.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but such a good one. This life we live is all about surrender, isn’t it? We can’t make the people we love whole or happy or motivated. We can’t make our friends NOT do drugs. We can’t orchestrate joy. We can’t force growth.

What we can do is pray, trust, and believe that God has this. He has better shoulders, the right motives, and the best of intentions for our loved ones. He is trustworthy.

Can you trust God for your friend? Your child? Your spouse? How are you shortchanging their growth by jumping into God’s place? How has someone prevented your growth by stepping in too much?