What are you going to do about that lovely person in your life who keeps on doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results? Or that co-worker who has more drama than a little bit! Then there’s that girlfriend with that guy! All he has to do is apologize again, buy her something relatively nice, and she grants chance # infinity. Or what about that neighbor who seems to intentionally strategically implement ways to get under your skin? What are you going to do with these people? Fix them? Change them? Here’s an idea: Let them be.
We are better off allowing the people in our lives be who they are right where they are. Our role is not to change them. Our role is not to fix them.
I know. I hear you. What they are doing is crazy. You’re right; this is probably not going to end well. And the “let them be” challenge seems too passive. You should be DOING something!
I get it! I too was under the illusion that I could somehow concoct some life changing, thought provoking monologue that would result in a transformative behavioral modification in the life of anyone with sense enough to listen. Mind you, this approach never worked on me, but that must have been because I didn’t have “sense enough to listen.” Right? Wrong.
Time and time again these exchanges would take place and the individual with whom I was engaged would carry on in the same destructive non-productive behavior. Why?
Well, it’s not about having “sense enough to listen.” It’s about having a desire to change. The times I made changes in my own life were the result of my desire to change. And that desire led to me pursuing and receiving the advice and resources that had been offered. The times when I did share my “thought provoking monologues” and the person on the listening end of it actually did make a turn-around of some sort–well, that was not because of me! It was because of their desire to make a turn-around! And that desire led to them pursuing and receiving the advice and resources that had been offered.
I know. You sincerely want to see them do better, be better, and experience better. Here’s something you can do: consider Matthew 5:16.
“Let your light so shine before [them], that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Isn’t that what our lives are to be about: glorifying our Heavenly Father?
The next time we find ourselves puzzled, frustrated, exhausted, or stressed out because of the life choices of someone we care about, take a step away from the co-dependent enabling tendencies and be reminded of this reality: until they want to see the change, it won’t happen. Instead of trying to fix them, let’s be an example of integrity that they can model. Let’s encourage them to do the work themselves. Let’s pray for them along the way. Accept them along the way. Love them along the way.
That’s what it means to Let. Them. Be.
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