If you happened to be one of the many people who have been raised in families where the needs of one family member demand and absorb most of the resources, time and attention from everyone in the family you might be confused about the difference between artful service and co-dependent behavior
An alcoholic, mentally ill or physically needy person often requires or so it seems, everyone doing things for that individual. To keep them working, clothes are put out, phone call made, paperwork organized. To keep them happy, we are cheerful, don’t complain about our troubles. We try to do well in school, not be a bother, and take care of ourselves. Some of us eventually run away or rebel rather dramatically. The fallout from “not” carefully orchestrating the dynamics of the house can be swift and messy. We grow up putting our needs aside and become sensitive to what we imagine will prevent the next emotional thunderstorm. Sometimes years go by dwelling in a low level fog of mild depression.
Artful service does not resemble the parasitic nature of co-dependent behavior. Co-dependency is not really kind or generous, it is forced by anxiousness to please and sometimes an: ” I know better than you” attitude. It assumes that the recipient of the service is incompetent in some way. Co- dependent behavior can make us feel like a hero, important or indispensable to the group. Artful service on the other hand… connects simply to what needs to be done to support the home or groups adventure. It is often playful. A loving intelligence shines light on a task or a leader asks us to follow a direction. We know somehow that the service benefits everyone not one individual continually over others. Service takes turns. It is accepted as well as given. The strong serve the weak because their awareness of others is deeper and more resourceful. Service is giving permission to the lord to use your talents to benefit the whole.