I have noticed that when I am feeling short on rest, I often turn to blaming the people or circumstances in my life for my lack of physical energy and for my mental and emotional exhaustion. But when I really examine my life carefully, I am embarrassed to admit how much energy I have expended and how much rest I have forfeited simply by getting involved in problems that were never mine to solve.
When it comes to relationships with the many people in our lives, there are, in general, four different verbs that best describe our roles and responsibilities:
Comply – Those to whom we must submit because they have a position of authority in our lives and we have the responsibility to comply, cooperate and conform to their directives: bosses, governing authorities, guardians, parents (of minor children)
Cover - Those over whom we have a position of authority where our responsibility is to care for, correct and cover them with our protection: minor children, adults under our guardianship, those below us in the chain of command of an organization.
Coach – Those over whom we have influence and have a responsibility to coach, counsel and challenge in order to help them to be successful: students, colleagues, anyone who is a few steps behind us on a common journey.
Collaborate – Those with whom we have intentionally chosen to coexist – we choose to share our lives with them at home or at work in a spirit of encouragement, cooperation and collaboration.
Of these four types of roles, in which one do we have the unquestionable responsibility to find and implement the solution to a problem? Only one! In the role of covering we have both the responsibility to find solutions to problems for those under our care and the authority to implement those solutions. In all of the other roles, we are participants who can be part of a solution to a problem, but only if our contribution is desired.
My husband, Bob, is a man who works hard, but also experiences a great deal of peace and rest in his life. I think this is because of one very simple rule that he lives by; outside of his covering roles at work and at home, he only gives advice and gets involved in the problems of others when he is invited to do so. Yes, I know – it sounds so simple, but, in reality, it is very difficult. But he actually does live by this rule that he has set for himself. As a result, he not only experiences rest and peace in his life, but he is seen by others as a person to be respected and one who is worthy of being listened to.
I, on the other hand, tend to think that it is my duty to get involved and try to help, even when my help is not directly requested. Perhaps it is because I am concerned, compassionate and caring. Perhaps it is because I am prideful, fearful and unwise. Most definitely, it is because I have not heeded the wise advice from scripture that I should mind my own business!
“Now about your love for one another…we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders….”
1 Thessalonians 4: 9-12
“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.”
As I have thought about it, I believe that, many times, I am exhausted for one of two reasons:
1. I am expending my energy to solve problems that do not belong to me and into which I have not been invited.
2. I am expending my energy trying to solve problems into which I have been invited, but the person who invited me is not really all that interested and invested in really finding a solution. There are times when all of us are not quite ready to solve a problem as we are processing some of the issues and emotions around it. In other words, what looks like an invitation to help solve a problem is really an invitation to be attentive and listen.
When I am feeling like I have a lack of rest and an abundance of exhaustion, there is a long list of questions that I can ask myself regarding getting enough relaxation and sleep, taking on too many commitments and taking good care of myself in general. But I have a very important set of questions to add to my list:
Am I expending energy and forfeiting my rest by getting involved in trying to solve problems where…
How about you? Are you involved in something that is draining your energy where it would be wise for you to ask yourself these questions?
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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