I’ve spent this morning waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve been waiting for the phone to ring and the person on the other end to tell me what a horrible person I am and how dare I abandon them in their perceived hour of need and how I let them down, thus perpetuating the shame spiral I have already started in my own mind.
You see, I have this great ability to not place healthy boundaries with people that I provide assistance to. I don’t say “no” enough, even when no is the greatest help that I can provide a person. I want to save them. I want to fix them. I want to be able to meet their every need. (notice all that “I’s”? Yeah, me too…)
That is wrong on so many levels, I realize that. First of all, I’m not God–I can’t meet one’s every need. Second, I overextend the level of assistance that my ministry is able to provide. This is not good because it creates an atmosphere for disaster–yes, every case is unique and will receive different types of help, but there need to be consistent basic standards across the board. Third, I sacrifice myself, my time, and my sanity to unhealthy levels–which damages other things in my life, my relationship with my husband, and ultimately, my health.
Yesterday, I put a hard line boundary in place. I was not going to drop everything I was doing at a moment’s notice to go and save a person stuck in a situation that they put themselves in. I had a long day. I worked hard. I was in the middle of something that yes, I could have stopped doing, but in the long run would have hurt me by walking away from what my attention was on. In the moment, I didn’t actually believe the words coming out of my mouth, saying that I would not take action in this situation. For a split second, dare I say, I even felt a little empowered by my choice.
But immediately, I was flooded with guilt. What if this person didn’t get the help that they needed right then? Would they be safe? Would someone else take care of them? The questions reeled around in my mind a million miles a second. I admit, the guilt overtook me. Unknowingly to the person in need, when I finished what I was doing at the time, I went to check out the situation to see if help was still needed. And it wasn’t.
I didn’t have to be the savior. I don’t have to be anyone’s savior. I can’t be anyone’s savior. That’s not my job–it’s way above my pay grade. That’s a hard lesson to swallow.
This tied right into the devotional that I read this morning about the double standards that I live. How dare I counsel someone one way, and yet live my life in another. I am not above God’s counsel. I’m human. I make mistakes and have to learn from them. I have to make earthly boundaries to protect myself from earthly things–from the entrapment of becoming my own little god. I have to remember to whom I’m accountable, humanly and heavenly.
Surprisingly, just putting this out into words has slowed the shame spiral I’ve been riding since last night. This too shall pass. And, if that phone call comes, well…it is what it is. I’m standing in what I know to be the right choice for all involved.
(and in other news, I lost another 5lbs.–45 total gone now, YIPEEE!)