We’ve been under a winter storm watch here in Indy. It started snowing one day around 2 pm and didn’t stop until the next morning. Of course, you can imagine how much snow we ended up with. Thankfully, I work remotely and had no reason to leave my house, but that isn’t the case for everyone.
After the over 16-hour snowfall, I got up and went to work from my living room. I definitely thought about heading outside to shovel snow, but that quickly faded.
I sat near my window drinking coffee while working and watching people get stuck and push each other’s cars out of the mounds of snow. I didn’t budge from my seat except to get more coffee so I’d be motivated to continue working. Deep down, I wanted to go help because I felt like an extra hand was just what they needed, but I realized that I would have been standing almost knee-deep in the snow, just looking on.
I do own a shovel, though that didn’t qualify me to be helpful. I’m sure I would have made it much worse for those drivers. So, I stayed inside. I mean, all I would probably be good for was yelling encouragement from my porch. But, the snow was so high, I could barely open my screen door.
Are You a Helper or Hinderance to the Process?
No, this isn’t about those passing by and getting stuck in front of my house, though that is a concept. This isn’t even some life lesson about a foot of snow being a metaphor for blessings. Nu-uh, although that’s probably a good angle as well.
What this is about is staying in your lane. Like I said before, my owning a shovel did not qualify me to help anyone get their car out of the snow; it’s just not my area of expertise.
But it did make me think of all the times when I tried fixing situations that I was grossly unqualified to fix just because I was present and willing to lend a helping hand. I had to learn that availability did not mean capability. I also learned, the hard way, that I was putting unnecessary and unfair pressure on myself. See, I figured out that no matter how much I was trying to help, I was not called to carry certain things.
I was only exhausting and overextending myself.
So, What’s the Playcall?
The same advice applies to you. Though you see yourself as the happy helper, you can’t do it all. You’re not equipped to, though sometimes it’s easy to forget. Every weight is not yours to carry nor is every problem yours to fix.
I know it can be tough not to step in and offer assistance when you have the time, but here are few things to keep in mind before you’re all in:
- Always pray about it. I know that not everything seems to warrant a prayer session before taking action, but a quick listen for the Lord can make the difference between sending good thoughts and giving what you don’t have. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- It may not be your area of expertise. And there is no shame in that. Had I gone outside, I would have only been in the way. But, the neighbor across the street? He was equipped and able. It’s okay not to be the one who saves the day. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:4
- Ask God how you can help. There will be times when people ask you to do what God has specifically told you not to. Some of those times, He will give you instructions on how you can be part of a solution. Heed God’s voice. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Being led by God is key. Remember that if He is leading you then your help will be more valuable than whatever you can think to do on your own.