Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
When Jesus went off by himself to pray and walked away from the crying masses, he was teaching us that it is not only necessary to say no sometimes, it is godly to love fully with boundaries in place. If it feels like you are selfish or unkind unless you agree to jump whenever a friend or loved one says they need you, consider the following.
Boundaries protect our ability to love
How often have you felt something you signed up to do was too much, and you were tempted to shut yourself in and never say yes again to anyone? Contrary to what we often assume, boundaries save relationships.
About 8 years ago, I hit a needy patch. I reached out to two friends whom I’ll call Ms. Boundaries and Ms. Intentions.
Ms. Boundaries listened to my sorrows and expressed concern. She said, “I’ll check on you soon”, and she did. There were days between her contacts. My emotions told me I needed her more than that. She was patient, compassionate, and assured me she cared, but drew her boundary. She was not slave to my emotions, not co-dependent, and not a doormat. She made no false promises.
Ms. Intentions also listened to my sorrows. She said “I’m here for you. Anything you need. Contact me any time.” My pain seemed all consuming to me, so it was easy to take her up on her offer. She answered every plea.
Ms. Intentions burned-out and seemed to resent her loss of freedom. Her inability to say “no” encouraged my dependence on her. Suddenly, she disappeared from my life. I haven’t heard from her since.
These years later, Ms. Boundaries and I are still friends. Knowing her limits and preserving herself saved our relationship for which I am grateful.
Which individuals actually show support in positive, meaningful, and effective ways? Is it the one who gives freely and gladly, or the one who gives with a smile while internally cringing? The person who does not make easy promises; or the one who fails to deliver on impulsively offered promises? The friend who remains a friend, or the ex-friend who walks away in frustration?
Love draws boundaries.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 19:2 (CJB)
“To act without knowing how you function is not good; and if you rush ahead, you will miss your goal.”
***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.