Helping on Empty
As a social worker, I interacted with so many different families, and listened to so many of their struggles. In order to maintain professionalism, I couldn’t get attached and emotional every time a client spoke with me so I learned how to separate my feelings from someone else’s pain concerning divorce, suicide, grief, bullying, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug usage, etc. Honestly I didn’t feel like anything could shock me anymore; I’ve heard the worst of the worst. Everything seemed okay until it got personal.
I stopped being mentally and emotionally available around my husband, family, and friends. In fact, one time when someone I loved was venting to me about their stressful situation, I just couldn’t get myself...to care. That moment was when I realized something wasn’t right with me; I had become desensitized to people reaching out for help.
Long story short, I made the difficult decision to leave my career for the sake of my personal health and relationships. I was retreating and hiding from people that ‘needed’ me because I wasn't in a place to give anything of myself anymore. It was crucial that I entered a season of rest to receive all of God's comfort and restoration, so I could give back to others again.
Ask yourself, what’s getting in the way for you to be compassionate? Are you struggling to let your guard down and be vulnerable because the last time you were open, you got hurt? Maybe you're spending a lot of time and energy on something that is harming you more than it's blessing you. Or maybe there’s some unresolved pain you're struggling to confront. I've learned the hard way that I'm not very effective in helping anyone if I'm neglecting my own needs and feelings.
Jesus said the most important commandment is to "love God with all your heart, mind, and soul" (Mark 12:28-31), but He also said the second most important commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. How could I truly love others, if I don’t love myself? How do I show respect to anyone if I have zero self-respect? And if I don't allow myself to be in a place of healing with God, how could I ever convince someone that God truly is our Comforter? The only way you can take care of others, is by first taking care of yourself. But the only way you can take care of yourself is by allowing Jesus to take care of you.
When we allow God to mend our wounds, we have the opportunity to share that same healing to the hurting people around us.
- Jasmine Gutierrez -
“He gives us comfort in all our troubles. Then we can comfort other people who have
the same troubles. We give the same kind of comfort God gives us.”
(2 Corinthians 1:4)