Friday, July 8, 2011

When You Want to Help Everyone

I'm an idea girl. I hear something, which triggers another something in my heart and my brain, then I say, "Hey, we should...."

I overheard a conversation between two moms at school. One was talking about how she has left the church and won't be returning. The other encouraging her to try a new church, offering her hope and resources. Hey, we should study The Purpose Driven Life together!

I meet a young mom who's feeling overwhelmed with the demands of caring for her two small children. Hey, I should offer to babysit for her sometimes!

I listen to the stories of the struggles of a few of my single mom friends. Hey, we should pay her rent this month!

A couple shares a few tidbits that lead us to believe their marriage is struggling. Hey, we should do some marriage mentoring with them!

I overhear a group of women talking about how they long to spend a weekend on retreat growing closer to God and other women from the church. Hey, we should plan a retreat!

Ideas come to me like flashes of lightening. But the reality is...I can't help everyone. I don't have time to do everything I want to do. I can't afford to do everything I want to do. And I'm not called to do everything I want to do.

Can anyone else relate to this desire to do something to help everyone?!

So how do we decide what good things to do?

1. Don't blurt.

My biggest downfall is my big mouth. I think "Hey..." and then I say it. Once a word has been said, it's very difficult (not to mention humbling) to retract it. When an idea comes, I'm learning to say, "You know, I have an idea here. Let me take some time to pray about this and if God prompts me I'll share this idea with you."

2. Do pray.

A few years back I prayed, asking God to give me His eyes and His heart for the people I encounter each day. I'm pretty sure that's why I wish I could help everyone. Even though feeling deep compassion for everyone you meet brings a bit of confusion, I strongly recommend doing it. Because if we don't have His eyes and heart, we'll miss out on every opportunity. I'd rather accidentally over commit and try to bless too many people than do nothing at all.

3. Ask Him each time.

I am learning to take each of my "Hey, I should..." to God. I'll pray, asking Him to show me if I can be a blessing to this person and how. The funny thing is, He often prompts me to just pray. Not just for that person, but with that person. Right then and there. While our society tends to put a lot of emphasis on practical help, our God puts His emphasis on spiritual help.

4. Obey.

When I ask about those things that stir up my heart, sometimes God tells me to do something practical. Like babysit her kids or invite them to a marriage Bible study. Sometimes, like I said, those ideas are impractical. I don't have the time, money, or energy to follow through on them. Yet God tells me to do it anyway. It's when we need to tap into His strength to bless others that we can truly experience His power in our lives.

5. Wait.

Other times, when I ask God, He tells me to do nothing. Nothing. It's hard to stand back when I think I can be a help, but sometimes it's not my job. When we step in to fill a gap that God hasn't called us to fill, we are stealing the blessing of obedience and service from someone else.

Have you learned any lessons about doing things that God hasn't asked you to do? Or maybe not doing things that He has called you to?


  1. One of our dear friends gave us this advice when our family was moving to the Philippines for full-focus mission work, "You can't meet all the needs." This really was an encouragement. Freeing us from the expectation that we need to meet all the needs. Living here, it is especially difficult not to get overwhelmed by the needs of the people. It is vital that we take the time to hear God on what need He would like us to meet, and how, when...I also try to keep from missing the ministry in my own home to my four precious daughters. It really doesn't matter how many others I minister to if I fail to minister to my family.

  2. So true, Lisa. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.

  3. Hey Tyler!
    I think I'm also a lot like you... it seems like every day I have new ideas of things that would be awesome to do, and when I don't follow up on them, it is easy to begin to feel guilty... I really like your approach, and especially your first point about not just blurting out immediately. Thanks!

  4. I am an idea girl, too.



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