Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Too often, when I hear stories that break my heart, I let the brokenness fade without ever doing anything about it. While it is tempting to chalk it up to pure selfishness, I honestly think there is so much more to it than that. I’ve been able to identify a few different reasons that I do this, and I’d like to explore some of them here.

As I become more aware of the needs and suffering in the world, it is very easy for me to become emotionally overwhelmed. I mentioned in my last post that I’m a fixer and an empathizer; when I am aware of a need, I tend to feel it deeply and desperately want to fix it. And because there are so many needs in the world, it is impossible for anyone to fix them on their own. For that matter, on my own, I may not be able to completely fix even one thing. I am only one person who is already stretched in many different directions.

A feeling of helplessness follows closely behind feeling overwhelmed. Too much is broken; there are too many people suffering all over the world. And I begin to feel as though anything I can do still isn’t enough. It feels like a tiny drop in a vast ocean of need, and I wonder if the small contributions I could make will actually be able to help anyone in any way. Unfortunately, I have learned that this doubt is all too often reinforced by Christian culture, ironically in an attempt to motivate people to do more. I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll save it for the next post. I don’t want this one to get too long. ;)

Have you ever insulated yourself from the suffering of others because you felt overwhelmed or helpless?

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