Colorado Life Coach: Stop Helping People!

Good Samaritan

Several years ago, I heard a sermon called: Get off Your Donkey.

It was a great message based on the Good Samaritan from the Bible. In the story, a man is beaten by robbers and left to die. A priest and a rabbi saw him, but passed right by on the other side of the street. Neither helped.

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10: 33-34).

It’s a great message.

Something happened inside me as I looked around the church that day. I saw young moms with small children fidgeting (the moms, not the kids). I watched people with addictions (not just alcohol and drugs) squirm. Those out of work looked mighty uncomfortable. Sometimes this is good! Sometimes we need to be called out of our comfortable lives to help other people.

This wasn’t the feeling I had that day.

I was in the middle of leading 2 groups of women through a process designed to help them heal from deep issues in their pasts. They were really struggling with things that had happened to them, how it impacted their entire lives, and how they could heal and change. They wanted to be healthy. They wanted to help others.

They couldn’t even help themselves, yet.

I hear this so often.

How many times do we try to help others when we’re a mess ourselves.

I think it happens for many reasons:

1. Guilt. I’m told to help others. What kind of a person am I if I don’t help. I’m not worth much anyway, maybe by helping others I’ll feel better.

2. Can’t say “no.” I know so many people-pleasers who fit in this category! They don’t want to help in this particular situation. It’s not even something they are good at. They just can’t say “no.” They say “yes” so the other person won’t be mad at them, so they won’t feel bad, so they’ll look good, so they’ll appear spiritual. The problem is this: They are angry about it. They don’t really want to help. They are exhausted themselves. They say “yes,” and then carry around resentment and bitterness.

3. They are in denial of their own situation. Some people are such a mess, but they don’t want to deal with it. If they stopped to deal with themselves, they wouldn’t have time or energy (for awhile) to help others. Rather than deal with themselves, they continue to “help” others.

Here’s the problem: We’re called to help others out of the overflow of our own lives, with a grateful heart.

~If we respond out of guilt, this is not the case.

~If we respond only because we can’t say “no,” this is selfish. We’re so afraid of upsetting anyone, we don’t speak truthfully. What if we said, “I can’t help you this time, ” or “I’m really not good at that,” or “Normally I’d be the first to volunteer, but I’m working on my boundaries and can’t do it this time.”

~If we respond as a way to avoid working on ourselves, we’re helping no one.

Have you ever needed good counsel from someone? Have you ever asked for help from someone, and half-way through your discussion, you realized they’re in worse shape than you are?

It is not helpful. They cannot offer what they don’t have themselves.

My suggestion? Get help for yourself first! Deal with your own stuff and get healthy. Then you’ll be able to respond to others out of love, not fear.

Sometimes we need to take time out and deal with our own issues. Then we’ll be ready to help others.

What if you’re the one who needs to be put on a donkey and nursed back to health?

The bible doesn’t say the beaten man jumped up and tried to help others. He let others help him.

I bet after he was healthy again, he helped others.

If you’d like help dealing with your own stuff, so you can finally be healthy and truly help others, click here.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole.

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