“You’re Not Equipped to Carry Two Crosses: The Fear of Saying NO”

“I’m not designed to carry two crosses, it would be wrong of me to steal someone else’s victory by becoming the captain of their controversies,” I consistently have to remind myself of this fact when I feel stretched too thin.  The most VALUABLE lessons in my life arrive when God sits me down (not the same as giving up, being lazy, or losing your motivation by the way).  I’ve been critically ill, I’ve been homeless living out of my car, I’ve been laid off and I’ve been hospitalized and all these things occured during moments in my life when I barely had time to take a nap, much less halt in my tracks.  One of the things I learned during these “moments of pause”…is that there are things that God needs certain people in my life to experience for themselves to make them strong.  There are also lessons of growth in those moments for me as well but I’m choosing to focus on one. I truly believe that if I am the strongest person I know, I’m a hinderance to someone else’s journey. Assistance from your fellow man is appreciated, but learning to depend on God for sustainability is a lesson I can’t afford to deprive others of.

Pouring myself out to people and their: issues, relatives, finances, encouraging and supporting them for years is noble, but it must be God-mandated and boundaries must be established.  When God sits me down, forcing me to check out of responsibilities, it’s a signal that I am getting in God’s way.  It’s a signal that I said “yes” when I was supposed to say “no”.  Of course, the hope is that as I do unto others they will do unto me, but depending on others past God’s expiration date serves me no justice either.  I’m learning not to feel guilty when my answer must be “no”.  “No” is not only self-preserving, it is the most gracious response we can gift another, when needed.  There’s a thin line between helping and enabling.  If I’m able to lead someone in need to the proper resources that can assist, without taking on everything myself, that’s a win in both directions but not always possible.  I’m learning to give people their stuff back: “here’s your baggage, here are your insecurities, here’s your drama, here’s your debt and here’s your brokenness.” There is no room in my life to store all of that and still have room to grow in the ways God requires of me.

I’m a better friend when I allow my loved ones sort through and grow from their own challenges according to God’s grace.  This does not mean abandoning them but rather seeking God’s permission regarding my contribution to their journey before coming to the rescue.  I feel drained when I allow others to rely on me when I don’t seek God first. Like many, I tend to get frustrated when I haven’t received sufficient recognition, or when my sacrifices are forgotten but that’s because I was an enabler, not a helper.  I’m forced to check my reaction(s) to these situations on a regular basis.  I don’t want to have to go through “moments of pause” in order for me to recognize God’s will.  I don’t want to be so defiant that these hardships are the only means God has to use to get through to me (or worse).  The cross that I must bare is more than enough weight, I’m not willing to carry anyone else’s when it’s outside of God’s plan for my life.

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