Meet my #livingfreetogether friend, Gretchen. She’s a mom, wife, and a woman who loves encouraging women in their faith.
I love what she had to say. In fact, I’m going to read it a second time, and a third, because it has that much power to bring rest. ~ Suzie
“You are over-responsible”
. . . and with that, the marriage counselor labeled me.
Rightly so, I must admit.
When we are over-responsible, it just means that we try to do too much for others and try solve other people’s problems. It took conflict early in our marriage for me to identify this in me. In my effort to love my husband, I often tried to “fix” him. This caused him to feel disrespected and me to feel pressure to manage him.
As soon as I learned about this, I wholeheartedly agreed with my need to resist it.
However, understanding the label didn’t automatically remove it.
It is engrained in me to feel burdened on behalf of others. I struggle with feeling the need to “help” others carry the weight of their troubles or even going a step further to solve their problems for them.
And this is exhausting.
To me and everyone around me!Lord, help me to stay in my own lane. I'm not you, and you don't expect me to be.… Click To Tweet
It can cause anxiety from over-focusing on other people. It can cause frustration because they aren’t fixing their own problems the way we would, or at the rate we would. It can be a continuous strain for the over-responsible person.
But aren’t we supposed to get involved?
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
I learned quickly that yes we are supposed to help others but that is different than carrying their burdens for them. When we care more about a problem than they do, or when they are not asking for our advice or heeding it, then we may need to take a step back.
Jesus expects us to carry the responsibility for only one life, our life.
He actually refers to it as our cross to bear.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 ESV
“His cross” denotes a personal one, for each of us.
I cannot carry the full weight of burdens for someone else nor can they do that for me. Apart from Jesus bearing our full burden of sin and guilt on the cross, there are limits for each of us in this.
How can we understand these limits and more importantly, when we may be close to crossing them?
I learned a mental cue that helps me recognize those boundaries. I heard the phrase of “staying in my lane” from a co-worker and it clicked immediately for me. I was able to quickly picture when I was veering out of my lane and into others.
Two benefits quickly emerged.
First, I began to see how often I actually verge into God’s “lane”. Regrettably, I not only presented my requests to God, I advised Him on how He should handle them.
The Holy Spirit began to reveal the extent of my over-responsibility.
I was trying to manage God.
Second, I began to see the feelings brought on from my over-responsibility as running over the raised lane reflectors on the highway. When I veer outside my lane driving, I feel the vibrations as my tires cross the boundary. That thumping sound catches my attention and guides me back to safety.Father, correct my course. Help me to find peace in my own lane. #freedom #livingfreetogether… Click To Tweet
Now when my anxiety starts elevating, I can quickly associate that to my veering outside of my lane of responsibility to someone else’s.
I correct my course and find peace back in my own lane.
Q: In what ways do you “get out of your lane?”
Q: Most people get out of their lane because they want to help. How can it be the opposite of helpful?
Q: What is the difference between helping and over-responsibility?