When Carrying the Burdens of Others Becomes Heavy
|This is what it feels like, when we carry other's burdens.|
Most are familiar with the scripture from Galatians 6:2,”Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. “But what happens when this is out of balance, or you have a very tender heart and carrying other’s burdens makes you feel heavy? For the last several years, I have undergone many emotional and trying times. Previously, I was the “burden bearer” for everyone in my family, with my friends, and with my ministry. However, carrying the loads of everyone while I was undergoing massive upheaval began to weigh me down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I thought it was my “Christian duty” to help, listen, and provide emotional support to WHOEVER needed it and WHENEVER they needed it. But, I was drowning while I was trying to uphold the burdens of everyone else. Burden bearers are sensitive people and can perceive the emotional distress and pain of others, they often “carry” the weight of what is being told to them. They also have a misunderstanding of the scripture form Galatians 6:2, and take that scripture to mean at all costs!
After going on for years carrying the burdens of others and feeling the weight of everyone’s load, I collapsed. I was exhausted and burned out on helping others. I could not go not one more step, and was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue (this is caused from high levels of stress). I realized my “cup was now completely empty” and I was running on “fumes.” I had to pull back and take over a year to rest and get well, which means I literally had to stop helping! I am naturally a helper and I will give you all of myself even if I have nothing left to give. But during the last year of recovery, I realized some things, “Does God really want us to carry the burdens of everyone until we are sick or heavy emotionally?” I came to the conclusion that for me to maintain proper health, I could no longer do what I did before. There had to be changes to be made.
I am a great listener, and even have over 17 years of experience as a counselor, but I could no longer endure the daily grind of listening to everyone’s issues and carrying their burdens. So, I made the change of becoming a writer instead. I use all of my counseling experience as well as my personal experience to help people, without the burden of listening day in and day out of consuming problems that I would carry. Yes, I would give them to the Lord and pray, but somehow, I would think about their problems and really “feel” their pain. I tried not to, but I just could not do it. I get so invested in the lives of others. I also made a decision to start painting with my husband for therapy as well as start a small business with him selling our work.
I have learned to limit my time talking with people on the phone or in person, to save energy and boundaries with my time. I used to talk with people for hours, usually about their problems and needs. But now I limit how long I speak to others. I have limits and boundaries on my time, before I had none. If someone wanted to meet me to talk or to have lunch, I would find myself there with them all day, while they laid their cares upon me. People can usually sense when you are tender, caring, compassionate, and a good listener, and some WILL take advantage of that. Now, I will listen for a short time, and then offer to pray immediately. I have learned that sometimes talking it all out with someone drains me emotionally, but praying with them does not. I have also learned that sometimes others have to carry their own loads and be responsible for their lives. I cannot take responsibly for the actions of others. Sometimes, I do well in just carrying my own load, much less the loads of others. I have also learned that everything I hear or are exposed to, that I surrender it immediately to God. Then I wait on God, to tell me to what to do. Sometimes, it is simply to just intercede in prayer. I am learning not to feel the crushing weight that I do when I know someone is in pain or in trouble. How? By praying continually for relief and for their situation. I also ask God to cover me and shield me from all demonic exposure and false responsibly and heavy burdens. I am certain God does not want us carrying the burdens of others until we are wiped-out.
We can listen to others, but don’t allow them to consume all your energy and time. If someone is going through a crisis, of course, you may give a little more of your time; such as when someone experiences a death. But when the same person, with the same problems wants to continually talk, and talk, and talk and deplete you of your energy; it’s time to put limits. There are some people who are used by the enemy to wear you out and bankrupt you emotionally and spiritually. You will know because they have the SAME problems, they really don’t listen to anything you say to them, and you feel heavy, burdened, and exhausted after speaking with them.