Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. – Galatians 6:2-5
Ever since DW was a baby, I’ve often given thought to what she is feeling in order to make the best decisions for her. At times that meant that before I’d give her medicine I would take it to see how it made me feel. I know that may be a bit extreme, even dangerous and we each have our own experiences, but this was my logic- if it made me feel crappy or hurt, it probably made her feel the same way. This was crucial when she wasn’t able to speak. I was recently reminded of this after eating some of her food. We rarely eat the same things because we don’t like each other’s food choices. Her food made me feel like crap, so I asked her if she felt the same way. She hesitantly admitted it, but she’s not at the point yet where she will sacrifice what tastes good based on how it will make her feel later. Oh well…
Wanting to experience how things make her feel probably goes back to that core value my mother taught me and my brothers; the Golden Rule. I feel strongly about being to others who I would want them to be to me. I also try to be observant of when and how others might need my help, even though I’m not always sure if how I show up for them is what they truly need. That’s when I should just ask. Even that’s something to consider. Other people may not be showing up for me the way I’d show up for them, but the way they’d want me to show up for them.
Ahhhhhhh, what a cycle life is.
Row row row your boat gently…
Oh where was I?
Ah…Yes. Fellow-feeling. Empathy. In this age of endless distractions, I can even get distracted when meaning well. I could put myself in someone else’s shoes and forget that I have my own to walk in. I’ve seen myself at times shape my own decisions and choose to limit my movements, development and actions based on how someone else feels. Yikes!
I said all that to say, I must constantly seek to find a balance between understanding what others are going through, helping when and where I can, but not forgetting two important things –
#1 – God is there to help both of us. Has he told me to get involved or could my involvement distract this person from his hand in their lives? God doesn’t need me to run interference.
#2 – I have my own responsibilities that must not be neglected. I do have to answer for my own actions.
It is very easy to get caught up in what others are doing and going through. I need to check myself to ensure that I’m not comparing my issues and life with theirs in order to feel superior, or as an excuse to ignore my own stuff. While DW is my responsibility right now and I bear the responsibility for her parental guidance eventually she will choose her own path. I keep that in mind. However, as for anyone else, as my bestie says, “Not my child. Not my issue.” It is okay to feel for what someone else is going through. It’s not okay to get so caught up in their stuff, that I neglect my own.
It’s good at times to put myself in the other person’s shoes. It’s also important to remember to put mine back on when it comes to walking out my own life. ❤