It’s What I Do…

While visiting my friend here in Washington, we talk quite a lot. She has a fine mind and a very high emotional quotient, at least in my opinion. During one of our conversations, she challenged me when I was talking about how I offer emotional support and encouragement. “You say that with such pride and arrogance, ‘It’s what I do.’”.

This caused me to pause and reflect for a few moments. Then I revisited the comment early this morning.

As I examine myself in this regard, I don’t have a sense of arrogance about the statement “It’s what I do.” It’s more an observation, similar to any statement of fact. I might as well say “I am a man,” or “I am human.”

It isn’t about pride at all, but she was right when she said “You do that to make yourself feel better.” That poked a bit.

I wondered why I bristled at the statement. Perhaps it is not OK for me to offer support if the motive is selfish — I do it to make myself feel better.

Furthermore, I wonder if it is arrogant for me to interfere with another’s suffering. Is that state something they need for their personal growth? I’m reminded of an aphorism I read about suffering well, in recognition that we all suffer and that suffering is a primary path for growth. If, in offering support and encouragement, I interfere with another’s suffering am I short-circuiting their path to growth and stymying God’s will for them?

That would not be what I want at all. If “It’s what I do” is interfering with the other person’s growth and I am doing it for the selfish reason of feeling better about myself, then that can’t be good at all.

Therefore, I think I need to reflect on this idea a bit more. It’s OK, I think, to be sensitive to other’s suffering, to be kind and gentle in one’s dealings with others. But to interfere, well, that might not be a good thing. Perhaps it’s better to keep to myself, to offer prayers (without even saying so), to mind my own business and take care of my own affairs.

Sometimes I think I talk too much and say too little. That is another rumination, though, and one I think I’ll save for later. This bit is enough for today.

5 thoughts on “It’s What I Do…

  1. Remember that God may be using you and your words for a reason. God works in mysterious ways.

    1. I agree, Glenna. Therefore, it’s a fine line to walk and requires great discernment and sensitivity. It’s something to pay attention to and to meditate on.

      If I intervene in another’s suffering and it’s God’s work for that individual to suffer as part of their growth, then I am subverting God’s will for that individual. However, if it is my place to intervene and provide comfort, then by standing down and not providing that input, I subvert God’s will. As a result, I think that great care and sensitivity are required before interrupting the process.

      And now my head hurts from thinking too much. I think I’ll get another cup of coffee…

  2. I take the line “It is what I do” to be an honest assessment of your self knowledge … It would say to me “this is how I deal with life. It doesn’t have to be how you deal with life .” Each person needs to findtheir “what I do”. I have a few lying around myself .. Yet always open to GODS correction, which may come through a trusted friend .

    1. Thanks, Becky, for sharing your insight. The notion that “it’s how I deal with life; it doesn’t have to be how you deal with life…” is interesting. I don’t think that was my friend’s point at all. She challenged me to think more deeply about my assertion. That is a good thing to do, because it’s easy to be wrapped up in the complacency of doing, of a long history of doing. It is good to stop, assess, review, and reflect.

      The last few years were my season for that and it seems that will continue for a while longer. I am still learning and have much learning to do. I have to remember that my way is not necessarily God’s way and remain sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. I think it has been some time since I did that. And we both know about making assumptions.

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