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Burdened by Empathy, Freed by Faith

July 13, 2010

The last few days my heart has felt heavy.

A few people I know have been going through some difficult times, and I care about what they are going through. My heart has felt the loss, grief, struggle, and pain of empathy for these people.

My college education includes degrees in social work and counseling. I have never worked a day in a paid position doing this work, but I use many of the skills and a lot of the knowledge I gained as I work with people. In fact, since people are an intricate part of life, I use those skills every single day.

One of the reasons I never pursued opportunities to work in those fields is because of balance in life. As a single woman who is driven by her heart, I found that I had a very hard time letting go of the issues I faced every day. I took the situations and stories to heart and the burden of them was too much for me unless I had a consistent outlet. I knew that my friendships, and even a marriage would not be able to provide that outlet and stay healthy.

Until I found that balance and that answer I decided I could not work in these areas as a profession.

Over the years I have volunteered in a lot of areas, and served in various ministry roles. It still has been difficult to not carry things for others, or to become too involved in stories, but due to limited time in these roles and a job that balanced my serving I was able to make it work…most of the time.

A few years ago due to a difficult situation in my life I was pretty well taken out of action. I could no longer work through things in my life and still be actively involved with others. I tried, and each time I did a very mediocre job. In many ways I wish I had not chosen to be involved, not because I feel I failed, but I did cause some issues along the way.

Sunday night I found myself weeping in a prayer meeting at church as I thought of these friends, and of those in my life who have never come into a relationship with Christ. Yesterday, again my heart felt heavy, and I knew I wasn’t walking this out right.

Then I shared a wonderful lunch with a new friend who asked me about my heart for people, ministry, and students/young adults.

As I shared, I realized that this past year I have stepped up to serve, give, and lead like never before in my life and the weight of that leadership has been far lighter than ever before. Somewhere along the line, I had found the balance and answers I had been looking for. I had not even realized it had happened.

A year ago I learned the deep-seated truth, my faith was based more on me than on God!

Unbelief marked the lives of many in the Old Testament, and it is so intertwined in our lives that we do not even recognize it.

As I read notes and talked with friends this past week I was brought face to face with our lack of faith (mine, and sometimes theirs). Did I really believe God would hear my prayers and answer? Did I believe he would provide what was needed? Did I trust that things would be okay? Did I believe that we can overcome our desires and have a changed heart to live only for him? Did I believe that neither I nor my friends had to do anything to change the circumstances? Would we really love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, or would we seek to work things out on our own by grabbing control, trying to kill our own desires, or grieving over loss when the Lord calls us to rejoice in him?

Today, I stopped being in charge of my life and gave it back to God.

Today, I confessed my need for control and my lack of faith.

Today, I walked in the spirit and rejoiced with the Lord.

Today, my heart is not heavy with the weight of trying to share the burdens of my friends, because I gave the burdens to the Lord and his yoke is light.

Today, I will remember that unbelief is not the life I want, and I choose to believe.

Believing changes things.

It has been an amazing day!

One Comment leave one →
  1. lost sheep permalink
    July 13, 2010 6:59 pm

    beautiful post–brings tears to my eyes—i was just writing to someone today about believing–must be my word of the day to–i also working on my masters in social work and hope to try and find a balance–thanks for sharing your thoughts

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