Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
A Frenchman, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” he tries. The Americans stare at him.
“Parlare Italiano?” No response. “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Frenchman drives away.
The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”
“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew three languages, and it didn’t do him any good!”
I guess it is okay for me to make dumb-American jokes since I am one. American, I mean. Uh-hmm.
Big decisions, even if they seem small to other people, are stressful. To know the better and best way to go, asking the one with the answers makes sense!
James 1:5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
When I’ve asked God for direction, the resulting confusion means I do not like his answer. Waiting for the other eeny to make moe leaves me perplexed. Lack of inner peace, tells me I’m not following his guidance.
Obedience to God simply means trusting him to have the best answers and taking his word for it. If a choice to become involved or not in a person’s life or in a cause or service project has you worrying about the cost of time, energy, emotions, etc., pause to answer the following questions.
- What is your goal? Positive, meaningful connections need validation, love that acts, and sincere, non-critical acceptance. Are you providing these things in relationships? Are you too busy to connect meaningfully with people in your sphere?
- How will accepting another role affect your family? Self-sacrifice without considering others who will be affected may be ego-centric. Do we have the right to force sacrifice on unwilling family members?
- Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” People may be assuming, begging, or sweetly inviting you to participate in their vision. Some have a great plan for your life! Do you know what is God’s will?
- Ask, is this act of service in YOUR wheelhouse?
- What role do you play in this person’s life, or in this service project?
- Are you balancing self-care and rest with self-sacrifice? Rest without self-care may be a symptom of depression. Self-care without any self-sacrifice could be selfish. Self-sacrifice without rest or self-care is possibly martyrdom.
- Are you setting “boundaries” out of apathy or avoidance? Do you consider Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act”?
- Are you over-committed now?
Here are a few options for over-commitment
→ add a time limit to your commitment → gather a team to finish faster → change the duty to suit your yeses (different time/day, etc) → delegate a replacement person → pay for it to be done by someone else → Say, “This is more than I thought I was signing up for” → Say, “This is interfering with other obligations (or health)” → bite the bullet, take responsibility for over-promising, and walk away →count your financial and time investment as loss and move on
Today’s Helpful Word
Acts 6:2,3 – delegating
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, [some Jews who were active in Greek culture] among them complained against the [traditional] Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.
***** 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.