Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Weight of Mercy? Part 1

this was written several weeks ago and has been sitting in my draft folder as I explore this deeper.  Part 2 coming soon
"My Yolk is easy and my burden is light."
If that is true then I am doing it wrong.  I have been born with the gift of mercy and it seems the closer I grow to Jesus the more I'm feeling the weight of it.   I looked for some books or articles on how to deal with this spiritual gift but most of what I found was "mercy is so great! woo hoo!"  That was not what I was looking for.  I found secular views of this gift, they tend to call it empathy and being an empath means you feel the pain and emotion of others.  They suggest shutting people out and not embracing the gift but rather sheltering yourself from it.   This doesn't feel right either.  If you are given a gift it seems a shame not to use it.  Why are we here on this earth if not to love and give?

I've been searching the Word and praying for a way to be helpful but not so affected.  See, when I walk in a room I can feel the emotional energy of everyone, and people are drawn to me like magnets to share their worries and uncertainties.  I am drawn to them too, drawn to sit and to listen, drawn to pray.  What I think I haven't been doing is releasing it after I am done.  If the burden is supposed to be light then perhaps I am holding too much of it on my own.   I also used to think of that verse as "My burden is light (the light of Jesus)" that divine spark can be a burden to those who glow,  but now I'm thinking I had it wrong.

Why isn't anyone one writing and talking about this?  I surely cannot be the only one who feels knots in the stomach, headaches, stress, anxiety, and can sometimes actually take on the symptoms of those I am caring for.
   One  blog I read said if your friend is in a well you shouldn't climb down in the well with them, you should get a ladder and tell them to climb out.  See, something in me is saying to climb down there and just sit with them. To assure them that they are not alone.  Be Jesus for a minute, an hour, and just sit with those who need to be healed.

I had a thought the other day about how Jesus must have felt.  If I feel like a mercy magnet then I can't even imagine what He felt like.  All day people came to him and searched him out, thousands of hurting broken people, and I guarantee he felt every single pain and emotion that they were soaked in.  So, if I can't find a recently published article I will look to Jesus and see how he dealt with it all, and it seems he didn't hold it.  He went in solitude and prayed.  His disciples of course were all like "Jesus, hey Jesus, you gotta bunch of people who are waiting to see you, what are you doing all by yourself, come on dude! They need you!"   (Those disciples wore sandals so I'm sure they said "dude")

Even Jesus knew he couldn't do it on his own, he couldn't take all that pain and brokeness without help from the Father.  I bet he used that time to release it to God and let it go.   
I have been hesitant to write about this or even speak about it for fear that people will read this and want to avoid bothering me.  See, I love this gift, although it can be overwhelming, I wouldn't trade it for another one.   This is a gift that has enabled me to connect to my husband, my children, and many others.  I love connection.

*After writing about this I went to a crisis responder training and heard about compassion fatigue... more on that in a future post.  Seek and you shall find