Keeping My Hands to Myself

I was having a really hard time.  Why was I struggling while everyone else was okay…specifically the ones that I helped?  It just didn’t seem fair that I was the one with the short end of the stick when it was my stick to begin with.

| Keeping My Hands to Myself |

Whatever you think I’m about to say, forget it.  Growing up, my mama would say, “Keep your hands to yourself,” when any of her three children got into a little fight or just couldn’t stop annoying each other to death.  That’s not what this blog is about.  I will not be talking about physical touch.

Let me go on a limb and say I’m probably going to end up sounding selfish today, and I’m quite alright with that.  I hope by now you know that I mean well and am really more selfless than selfish.  If you have any questions about what I’m trying to convey today, feel free to comment below or message me.  Hopefully you’ll understand where I’m coming from by the end of this blog.

I don’t know why, but God blessed me with a big ole heart.  I have the capacity to love so deeply and genuinely that it sometimes scares me, and I also have the ability to care for people as if their situations are my own.  It’s not just sympathy, it’s empathy.  In fact, I am an empath.  (Empath: noun – a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.)  Couple this big heart and my empathetic nature with my Super Hero Syndrome (my need to rescue everyone), and you’ll find me – the woman who rushes to fix problems that are not mine to fix.  I’ll metaphorically burst into burning buildings, jump into deep waters, and leap in front of flying bullets just to rescue someone…just to lend a hand.  (Now can you see where I’m going with this?)

I’m always lending a hand.

Years ago, I had a friend in a bind who needed some financial help.  Though I really didn’t have it to give, I couldn’t stand to see my friend need something and I not attempt to help.  Without a thought, I adjusted and rearranged so that I could help my friend.  A month later, my friend needed help again.  Though I didn’t have it, I reached into my wallet and made it happen.  This time I was careful to ask if I helped this month would he end up in the same place again the next month.  Of course I was assured that this wouldn’t become a recurring situation, but we both know I’m about to say next, right?  The following month approached, and this time he was worse off than the months before.  Being the friend who couldn’t watch a friend struggle, I rushed in to save the day.  What started as lending a hand here and there became a continual thing, and by the time I got off that Mary-Go-Round that seemed far more expensive as time progressed, I was depleted in more ways than one.  I had nothing left to give and debts to pay.

Fast forward the clock some years, and I found myself struggling.  As life would have it, I watched that same friend seemingly be quite alright on his own two feet while I was still paying the debts of handouts that should have never been given.  I was stretching ends to make them meet while it seemed as if the other party was enjoying luxuries and bonuses.  I’m going to be honest with you, I was pissed.  I was angry with myself for caring and carrying someone else for so long.  I was also mad, highly upset, and boiling lake of lava heated with God for giving me this big ole heart in the first place, until he yoked my up by my collar and got me together.

And the conversation goes:

Me: God, how could you let them prosper while I am SUFFERING!  If it weren’t for me stepping in to help, they wouldn’t even be this well off.

Him:  First of all, I didn’t tell you to help them; you jumped to that all by yourself.  Secondly, they would have gotten there even without you because they had me.

Welp, that shut me right on up!

Ladies and gentleman, there are some battles that are not ours to fight.  No, I am not referring to the battle not being ours but the Lord’s.  I am saying some stuff ain’t got nothing to do with us!  (I intentionally used bad grammar.)  If you, like me, suffer from even the mildest cases of Super Hero Syndrome, then you occasionally often find yourself trying to save people from hitting rock bottom.  You don’t want to see the ones that you love and care about hit the ground at their lowest of lows.  That’s it!  Here is the revelation that life has taught me the very, very hard way: trying to rescue someone from hitting rock bottom may drag you down to rock bottom with them.  Don’t believe me?  Imagine someone falling then you running and basically leaping to catch them.  You both are airborne, and you know the old adage: what goes up, must come down.  Sugar, you are both gonna end up on the ground, but unfortunately, it’s you who would have taken the brunt of the fall, not the one who you were saving.  So in my case, my friend was over on his own side of the world falling because of his own missteps, and I ran to his side of the world to catch him.  Three things to note about that:

  1. I abandoned my stability to make sure he didn’t lose his.  I’ll remind you that I did not really have it to give it, but I gave anyway.  Where the heck did I pull that money from?  I’ll tell you…one of my own bills.
  2. His unnecessary weight that had fallen me!  Enough said.
  3. Because I couldn’t recover my footing fast enough , we still hit the bottom! All of that and we fell anyway.
  4. Last thing to see in that – and this is what ultimately made me mad – because I had his weight on me and I was on the bottom, he stood up first while I had to try shake off the pain in order to stand up.  Anyone who has fallen down knows that your body is sore long after you’ve fallen.  Ask me how I know after falling down some cement stairs yesterday (*insert eye roll*).  Long after I ran in to save his day, his week, his month, and even his year (reference to Friends theme song), I was left trying to shake off the pain of the fall, gain strength to get back up, and walk away despite the pain all while watching him trot steps ahead of me.

Y’all, I legitimately had to ask the Lord to help me with this one because I felt like I ended up 12 steps behind because I tried to help someone get two steps ahead.  I was angry that I had opened my heart, hand, and wallet just to be the one left lacking.  And to add injury to insult, it seemed as if my friend didn’t even look back to see if I was okay.

I don’t have a clever quote or a perfectly versed scripture today.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

Back to my conversation with God…

Me: God, how could you let them prosper while I am SUFFERING!  If it weren’t for me, they wouldn’t even be this well off.

Him:  First of all, I didn’t tell you to help them; you jumped to that all by yourself.  Secondly, they would have gotten there even without you because they have me.

I had NO RIGHT to be mad about what I’d lost in my exchange because I had NO RIGHT to intervene to save the day.  I hadn’t received one instruction from God to put on my cape and save the day.  Honestly, there was probably a feeling in my gut telling me to think twice that I ignored.  I’ve learned that God will sometimes allow someone’s life to fall apart so that He can rebuild it, and our intervention interrupts his work.  Maybe my friend’s failing finances would have led him to a rock bottom that taught him how to be a better steward of his money.  Maybe his rock bottom would have forced him to trust God as his source, but who came in adorned with her cape and magical bank card?  My dumb tail with big heart.  I didn’t seek God first, say a quick prayer, or even really think twice; I immediately jumped to action because it was my friend in need.  Unfortunately, my quick move meant that God had to use another means to teach the lesson that I foolishly interrupted.  But here was the part that left me with the “Boo, the Fool” face: as much as I wanted to pat myself on the back for helping him get back on his feet, I couldn’t really take credit.  God never nor will he ever need my help supplying a need.  He is Jehovah Jirah, the God who provides. I am Christen Rouson, the chick who only has what she has cause he gave it to her.  *side eye*

I still haven’t’ gotten to the moral of the durn story.  Here it is…

Chill all the way out!  I’m not saying you shouldn’t help your brother or sister who is in need.  As a believer, I follow the example given to me concerning good will toward men.  What I’m saying is sometimes you need to step back and ask God if this is your assignment or not.  There’s a difference between someone who has hit hard times who you are a blessing to and someone who continuously makes bad choices and you become an enabler for.  There are times when you have to allow someone to fall because he/she may actually be falling from his/her will into God’s hands.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE EVERYONE ALL THE TIME.  The world needed one savior, Jesus the Christ of Nazareth.  Christen the girl from Chesapeake is not that savior!

I have since been careful about rushing to save the day, and I’ve had to be intentional about not running into a phone booth to become a super hero.  This is so hard, y’all.  In my heart, I just want to help everybody; however, after this incident and the aftermath that I’ve had to deal with, I understand the importance of allowing God to lead me instead of just doing.  In my humble opinion, it doesn’t make a bad person or any less of a Christian if I don’t reach for things that aren’t meant for me to grab.

Before I go…  I believe that God will honor my big ole heart.  My intentions were pure and my heart was full of love when I extended my hand.  I believe he will bless me because I sincerely sought to bless someone else, even if I moved out of turn.

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Luke 6:38 [New Living Translation]

I hope it all made sense.

I hope this helps.
-Chris

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