Do you find yourself worrying about your adult child's future? Do you sometimes dread talking to them wondering what current crisis is unfolding in their life? Do you carry their problems with you mulling them over repeatedly throughout your day?
I understand. I was caught in this trap as well. I found myself weighed down by the potential ramifications of my adult child's circumstances. Even though I wasn't "rescuing or enabling" in some tangible way, I was emotionally enabling my adult child. I realized, that by doing so, I was shouldering responsibility for her life. In effect, I was hindering her from assuming her own responsibility and the self-respect that she would gain through the process of solving her own problems. I didn't realize it at the time, but my worry, fears, and preoccupation fed into her self-doubt and avoidance of facing issues in her life.
So what do you do with the ache in your gut when you see your adult child repeating patterns that are all too familiar and destined for heartache? You let go and let God. I know. Easier said than done. But for me, the secret was learning to praise God and express gratitude for His ability to work in ways far beyond anything I might devise or implement. His resources are limitless and unsearchable. I had to turn my eyes away from what seemed to be insurmountable problems and refocus on the God who had rescued me so many years before. I had to remember and rehearse how faithful God was in spite of my sin and rebellion. And I had to begin to "see" with eyes of faith what He would do in my daughter's life because of His great love for her.
As I began this process of "letting go and letting God" I noticed a change in our relationship. It was very subtle at first, barely perceptible on the outside, but somehow my confidence in God seemed to fuel self-confidence in her. I've often said that "self-respect cannot be fueled from the outside" but I think I'm wrong. I think as I genuinely show respect for my adult children and give them the dignity of being an adult it's as if those qualities within them burgeon forth.
The issue boils down to this: enabling or rescuing our adult children is really about our inability to fully relinquish to God what He entrusted to us in the first place.