You can look her up if you feel like it, but I won’t include a link to her original advice column because I’m sure she doesn’t need the hits as much as I do. I’m an atheist, and my intent is to show that we’re not amoral beings. Yes? Yes!
Dear Aunt Dara,
This school year has been very trying for my husband and myself. We’ve been helping friends and family with many favors lately…
Okay, breaking in to summarize because otherwise this is nasty long: lady has hubbie and kids, busy busy, her dad and his GF need cash, friends are also begging, expecting gal to babysit, etc.. “Wit’s End” is reaching her wit’s end. To whit:
I just don’t feel like I deserve God’s blessings because all I’ve come to do lately is just complain about these people. Can you please give me some advice as to how I should be feeling toward everyone? I feel wrong for having ill feelings toward these individuals but I can’t help it.
So, Dara’s advice:
While it is true that Christians are to follow Jesus’ example and do good to others (Acts 10:38, Galatians 6:10), it appears that you have taken this to the extreme and are wearing yourself out in trying to help others. Jesus frequently took breaks from teaching the multitudes and healing the sick so that He could meet His own needs (Luke 5:15-16). The Bible instructs us to be temperate in all things (1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Timothy 3:11), which means to show moderation,…
Without bothering to look up these verses, I agree with Dara. Complaining comes with the territory, lady, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by the needs of others. You really can’t help everyone and sometimes you just need a damned break. Dara again:
Additionally, God does not always give us what we ask for in prayer and sets conditions for His blessings (John 9:31, James 1:5-8, James 4:3, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Therefore, if God can deny requests and set limits and conditions for what He does for people, then we can do the same. You have the right to set appropriate limits and conditions with others…
Never mind any argument poking holes in free will and predestination; in the general sense, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take stock. Think about what your immediate family requires in terms of time and commitment and then dole out whatever is left based on what you feel you can handle. Don’t let anyone guilt trip you into taking on more than you can manage, either. It’s a hard line to walk, though, I agree. Some people are natural helpers and can’t bear to see others suffer, even if it means they over-extend themselves.
But, it’s still worthwhile to weigh that against what you feel you can realistically do to help yet not also lose your mind in the efforts of the doing. Recall, most martyrs wind up dead. Do you want to be dead? Probably not…
Are you actually helping these people, or are you fostering dependency? Helping means that you render assistance, and inherent in this definition is the understanding that such aid is temporary until the person no longer needs assistance (2 Corinthians 8:11-14). If the person is not moving toward gaining independence, it ceases to be “receiving help” and becomes a reliance or dependency on the giver.
Ooh, Dara makes a good point here. Is this something they really need help with, or could they learn to help themselves? I’ve had years of experience from a work perspective trying to train staff on the most simplest things.. yet part of me still feels like I should just do that shit because I can’t trust them to do it right…
You and your husband need to have an honest discussion with each other to come to an understanding of what changes need to be made to set reasonable limits with them to reduce your burden and stress.
I concur. You don’t want to hate family, and you don’t want them to hate you. Figure out, between the both of you, what you’re willing to do for these people, and otherwise, leave them to their own devices.
How else can they learn?
(edit nov 6: it was this one)