UGH...Is this compassion fatigue?
I’m a fixer. When I see something amiss, I want to fix it or at the very least I want it fixed. I will think every thought. I will read every book. I will say every prayer. Most often I am looking for the way to fix myself that will result in a resolution of the current situation. Maybe it’s a perfectionism issue. Maybe it’s a control issue. But I need it fixed. My theory has always been that if people are happy my life is easier.
However, at the ripe old age of 49, God is teaching me that sometimes I am actually not the problem in every situation. And when you are not the problem, you must respect the mess that exists, know that your part in it is actually not to fix it and move on. By moving on, I mean, find peace in giving up control and resisting the urge to aspire to perfectionism.
And even when you are in the thick of the situation, God still may not be calling you to fix it. God’s teaching for you is different from what he has for others.
I have heard the term “compassion fatigue” bandied about over the course of the past 18 months. Maybe that’s what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s something else. It’s an unnamed something that’s been stirring in me for far too long. My continuous worry for situations which I cannot resolve is wearing on me. We are called to feel empathy, to feel the urgency to pray for those who need us. But we are not called to fix it. God is our great big God. He knows the need. He also knows mine.
I’m now realizing that fixing all of these problems that are not mine is not true compassion. The real compassion is allowing the feelings to envelop me, to show empathy, to create comfort where I can but to let God do the work in the relationship, in the situation, in the mess. He knows it all. I’ll leave Him to it. Harder to do than it is to admit that it needs to be done.
For me, to keep my own peace and my own sanity, I must leave it where I found it. Not every problem I encounter is mine. Not every problem in which I find myself is mine to own. There is actually work to be done by other people. I am learning to get out of the way and let them do it. I am learning to get out of the way to let Him work in His own way and in His own time. That is my calling.