He opened my eyes. My role is not to relieve other people's pain.
Oh, but I've tried. Anything less, at the time, seemed uncaring. To care is to stop your own life and take on all their problems - I thought. I prided myself in never letting a soul down. Only I did. Time after time. Then came all the self-loathing. When other burdens became my life, I sank like concrete. Something had to give.
There is only one true Burden Bearer. He has liberated us from codependance and ushered us into a place of true compassion. Surely we bear each other's burdens, but not in our own strength, nor all alone.
My role is to identify with a person's pain. When I do that, it's like offering a 'cup of cold water' to the thirsty. If I start fixing, meddling, or worrying - I become useless. And sometimes the worry is about my inadequacy. I forget that in my weakness, He is strong. I forget that He's already taking care of them. So I'm free to be me. Free to relax. I can let the presence of Christ express Himself through my personality type and work through my own human-ness. We have this present help in times of trouble, remember?
No one needs another fixer to the rescue. They don't need a theologian. What hurting people need is love and acceptance; compassion that stems from Christ's love, not our need to be needed. To actively listen and let others release pent-up emotions is healing.
When people sense they're loved and accepted, their burdens become lighter because Jesus is there.
"We love because He first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19
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