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A ‘mercy heart’ is one of the ‘spiritual gifts’ listed in the Bible. And it’s a gift and curse that I have.

It’s such a beautiful and glorious gift, and I love it, but it’s so very hard too. It essentially means that you feel the pain of others–deeply–as well as your own pain, and you have compassion on them and love them very much. In so many ways, it’s like being at the center of Jesus’s will: To love. But, like so many gifts, it has to be used wisely and well. It has to have healthy boundaries. Especially if you struggle with depression as I do.

There’s a balance in helping others, and in keeping yourself healthy and well. You have to know how you ‘fill up,’ and you have to find ways to do so. For me, I need healthy people around me: People I trust and have known for a long time, to speak truth into my life, and in whom I can feel safe to discuss the life things I’m going through or have gone through (gal friends, because bringing any guy friend into the mix is a disaster waiting to happen, as far as I’ve experienced). These sorts of relationships are life-giving and help me so very much.

The other relationships are life-giving as well, because all my friends are truly such a blessing to me. But some friendships can be harder than others, and sometimes you need to withdraw for a bit to keep yourself afloat: A hard thing for a person with an incredibly loyal heart, but something that’s true. Sometimes you need to lead with your head.

I guess the thing is to know your limits. Know when you could get sucked down deeper into depression, and when to give those people over to Jesus to take care of. He loves them infinitely, and He’s God, so He can carry those burdens that you can’t.

Be compassionate, and be wise.

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