November 19th: Caretaking

I have always been a caretaker.

Even before my marriage, all the way back into my childhood, I was taught to care for others first.

There have been numerous times in my life that I have thrown everything to the side to run head-on into another person’s crisis in order to help them get through it.

I always loved being needed… loved stepping in and saving the day… loved the rewards I reaped by seeming so “competent and together.”

But, over time I became tired, worn out. My own world neglected while I worked, usually to the point of exhaustion, helping someone else overcome their own chaos.

The “super hero” in me wanted to be there for everyone but often, by stepping in, I was teaching others to look to me for help first… before learning to come up with their own solutions to their problems or crisis.

I realized I was doing a disservice to my friends and family… impeding their own spiritual growth… each time I just “handled things.”

There is nothing wrong with being there for the people you love and helping them through troubled times: It is an admirable quality to be an anchor for someone during a storm.

But, when I use my care-taking to people please, distract myself from my own needs, work, or problems… or to save others from consequences of actions or learning how to manage their own lives… then I need to look at my behavior and change it.

Today, if it is a “true” crisis and I am called upon by a friend or family member to assist in the problem… I am present in their moment of pain and I wait for their direction to proceed.

I offer support when called upon instead of stepping in and doing what I believe is best for all involved.

“Dear God, help me to be present for friends and family during a crisis. Help me to be supportive while allowing them the right to navigate their own path. Help me to share my experience, strength, hope, and direction only when they ask for my guidance.”

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