Well, as I said at the beginning of the year, my only real goal for 2015 is to learn to really love people and God (and myself, if I'm honest). But what I'm learning is that loving people sometimes means you have to let go of them and remove them from your life.
I'm the type of person who likes people to feel included, happy and like they belong. I've always been like that. I want people to be nice and like each other, and I want everyone to feel like they're accepted, despite their issues.
However, there comes a point where people start to refuse to deal with their crap. They refuse to face the facts. They refuse to get help, or deal with addictions or even admit that they have deep issues that they need to address. In their eyes, their issues become everyone else's fault, and they take on a victim mentality. We all have issues, but when those problems we hold on to begin to affect the people in our lives in a negative way and our lives begin to go downhill, it's a sign something needs work. We can't fix people we love.
When a friend or loved one's issues begin to affect you negatively, sometimes really loving them (and yourself) means saying goodbye. When you allow someone in your life to behave badly over and over again, they take it as permission, which it is. But, in all honesty, sometimes that means it's time to let them go.
None of us are perfect. I know I'm not. But truly loving a person is the complete opposite of enabling them to stay where they are. Addictions, bitterness, anger, fear...all of those things are like chains. When we enable our loved ones, we are adding chains. We are locking them into these behaviors because we make it okay, and we even sometimes help them to continue. But love isn't enabling.
The best example of this is God. He loves us too much to enable us to stay where we are. He is constantly reaching for us and ready to pull us up. He could let us wallow in our issues, our addictions, and our failures...but if we ask Him for help, he won't let us get stuck for long. He is constantly providing us with help, in many forms. We just have to accept it. At times, enabling our loved ones to continue in their behavior keeps them from accepting the help God is trying to give them. Enabling and helping are different things.
I think there's something inside of each of us that knows when it's time to let go. It's scary to let someone go, even if there truly isn't anything you can do for them. It's admitting that they are out of your control (and their own). It's admitting that you don't have all the answers. But it's also admitting that you--your emotions, your heart, your mind, your life--are valuable and worthy.
It's okay to let people go. If your heart is broken repeatedly, let them go. If you have become the focus of their unwarranted anger too many times, let them go. If you know that their behavior has reached or will reach a point where it becomes dangerous for you or them, let them go. If you've permitted their addiction or their illness to infiltrate your life, and they refuse to see that they need help, let them go. Give them into God's hands. He's far more capable.
If you constantly carry a child around, refusing to let her touch the ground, she will never learn to walk. She will never learn to pull herself up. She will never learn what it's like to fall and then get back up. Enabling is carrying around someone you have no business carrying.
If you feel like there's someone in your life whom you need to let go of, start to think about it and be honest with yourself. Seek counsel. Pray. Then, in the best way you can, let them go...really let them go. God is more able to care for the person than you are. He knows them and He created them, and He loves them even more than you do. Letting go is admitting God is stronger.