Question from a reader:
“As someone who has been through an abusive relationship and now offers counseling words to others facing the same issue, I have a question: how do you do it? I have a friend in an abusive relationship who comes to me for counsel; it’s triggering me and it’s wearying to me. How do you remain strong for all of us but take care of yourself at the same time? How do you be a caretaker when you’re still a little broken?”
This is such an excellent and important question. Because life does not stop for everyone else when we go through a crisis, there will be times when our sad seasons will overlap with our friends’ or family members’ or children’s rough patches, and so a great skill to cultivate is learning how to take care of ourselves and others simultaneously.
So I have three tips for you.
Get filled up. If you are in a situation where you are counseling or walking someone through a difficult life circumstance, it can be draining even for people whose lives are going just fine. Add the dynamic, though, of you trying to get through your own thing, and it can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not careful.
So, I would make sure that you are in counseling, in a support group, in a small group, have a mentor, and/or have a friend that is there to listen to you.
Know your limitations. When I was in college, I decided to apply to be an RA. I wasn’t immediately accepted and I think I know why. I recall describing to the interviewing team that a friend had come to me for help, how I prayed and fasted […]