Caring For Others, Add Yourself

March 7, 2008

Jesus -tender-care

By Rev. Paul N. Papas II

Many of us who are caring for others, some by design, some by default forget to add ourselves. If our batteries are low we have little power to help others. If our health fails we then could become unable to help ourselves never mind help the people would depend on us.

Care giving creates stress which if not addressed can be debilitating. People who have severe medical, emotional or mental health conditions are pouring out their lives to people they trust and often place their recovery in the hands of the very same people. On one hand it is an awesome responsibility while at the same time being very fulfilling. Success or failures are powerful emotions that affect each care giver.

My grandmother had an awesome gift of a green thumb. She would take plants that appeared to be a lost cause, dead and would patiently nurture and personally care for each plant back to blossoming health. She never accepted anything from anyone other than a thank you for reviving their plants. To me she was a good example of how to help the hurting to heal.

An all too often scenario is an adult who was involved in or witnessed traumatic relationship experiences while they were young the most destructive of which is known as attachment trauma. Attachment trauma occurs when the person to whom a child looks for comfort and safety becomes the direct source of his or her fear and distress. The reasons why the person who created the fear and distress are long and include learned behavior and medical issues such as a mental illness which were not properly addressed creating a cycle.

If the care giver is not careful the very actions that they are helping others address become part of their own actions. The care giver can become desensitized. The care giver who fails to practice self care can become an unwitting victim and can actually do more damage than they purport to help.

Some questions asked by people I help are: “Am I worthy of love?”

“Am I capable of getting my needs met?” “Who can I trust or rely upon during times of my distress? “What does real love look like?” Makes one stop and think. How would you answer these questions? The answers depend upon your experiences and how healthy you are.

It makes no difference how long one has been hurting, if one is willing to do the work healing is available. Anytime is a good time to start…the sooner the better.

Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress are real and treatable consequences of witnessing trauma first or second hand.

Some signs to look for are: household bills piling up, reluctance to leave the house, losing interest in normal daily activities such as preparing meals or personal hygiene, marked changes in behavior, increased listlessness, not wanting to get dressed, long sleep hours or no sleep, problems with focusing or making decisions, restlessness, easily annoyed, quick anger, unexplained physical problems, even thoughts of suicide.

I urge every care giver to evaluate their own health and use the support services of other care givers keeping their own batteries freshly charged

Finding healthy outside activities unrelated to care giving or work are very effective ways to healthy minds, bodies and spirit. A healthy mind, body, and spirit foster the same in others, producing hope. Hope and faith go together to promote healing. A healthy person is a blessing to others.

The Necessity of Consequences

By Ann White August 14, 2018

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;

whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)

Being tenderhearted, it’s difficult for me to sit still and watch people struggle or suffer, even when it’s a result of their own poor choices. Yet, at times, doing nothing is exactly what we are called to do when ministering to people who repeatedly make unhealthy life choices.

Love– care– and forgiveness should always be unconditional – but consequences shouldn’t.

Our society sometimes places more emphasis on political correctness and protecting one’s emotions, than it does on natural and necessary consequences. Sometimes, celebrity crimes are overlooked, underreported, or even dismissed because of their fame and finances, and our children’s teachers are often restricted from appropriately disciplining our kids.

The danger in these type of practices is that it conveys a contradictory message and removes a person’s need to improve their behavior or strive for excellence. There should always be a proper response and consequence for unlawful, inappropriate, and poor behaviors. Just as there should also be a proper positive response for achievement and good behavior. Without consequences, we dampen the aspirations, ambitions, and drive of those we interact with.

God allows us to reap what we sow – both good and bad. He allows and often appoints, consequences in response to our sin. That way, we will hopefully think twice before repeating our same bad behaviors. King David suffered as a result of his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 12:13-14), Moses never stepped foot in the Promised Land because of his sin against God (Deuteronomy 32:48-52), and Jonah will forever be known as the angry and disobedient prophet in response to his defiance toward God and his unwillingness to have compassion for the Ninevites (Jonah 4:1-3). Jesus corrected Martha when she was consumed with her tasks and critical of Mary, and He pronounced seven woes upon the Pharisees for their consistent hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-30). God rebukes and corrects as an act of love and out of a desire to see us learn from our mistakes. Therefore, we must anticipate the impact of our poor choices, learn from our consequences, and let others struggle when necessary, to avoid interfering with a potential life-change.

Parents must establish suitable consequences when children misbehave. Employers must execute a proper response when employees violate their policies, and in general, we all need to establish appropriate consequences for those who sin against us or violate our boundaries.

Where there are no consequences – there is no respect for rules or boundaries – leading to chaos.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,

it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Hebrews 12:11

What consequences have you endured as a result of past mistakes? Did the consequences inspire you to make better choices going forward?

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