Care Without Carrying

Red Cross“I need to check in on them; I’m worried about the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, and I’m just trying to help them get out of it! ”

“No matter how much I do, or how hard I try, people don’t seem to appreciate me.”

“I believe I’m a good Christian, but lately I’ve been feeling resentful and used.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? If so, you could be the latest victim of a “virus” I lightheartedly call “carriersae,” commonly referred to as: “Carriers.”

 Virus Bug


This “virus” has swept through the land creating masses of burnt-out and resentful people. Experts are searching for known causes and carriers as well as cures for this debilitating problem!

Ironically, sufferers often report they have only been loving and selflessly focused on others. They identify themselves as “people pleasers” and “helpers.” However, people pleasers are unaware of how their “help” can come across.

Examples of underlying messages:

“You are incapable; you can’t do anything without my help.”

“Please remain a victim, so that I can feel needed.”

“I’m a martyr – I do everything around here; why don’t you do the same for me?”

These messages are like unintended sneezes when people have a virus; they’re not purposeful, but they leave both the sender and receiver of the message in a drained and weakened state.

What’s the treatment for a “carrier?” How can we care for people without carrying?

Red Cross

  1. First, recognize that unsolicited advice is self-serving. When we’re telling other people how to live their lives, there’s something in it for us – why do we feel the need to “straighten them out?”
  1. Then, ask yourself, “Is this something that person should be doing for themselves?” Galatians 6:2- talks about helping others carry their load when they can’t do it for themselves, while verse 5 instructs us to “carry our own load.”

Even if they ask you to do it for them, a healthier statement would be: “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.” Or perhaps you could offer to “brainstorm solutions” with them.

All of us have gone through difficult situations and when we’ve tackled it, we feel proud of ourselves, and more confident to handle other challenging circumstances. Why would we take away that feeling of accomplishment from others?

3. How much can we take on? Whether it’s in friendship, church ministry or loving relationships, we must set limits for ourselves. I vividly remember an illustration Bishop T.D. Jakes gave to a group of church leaders. He had a pile of oranges on a platter, and when he tried to add more oranges to the pile, the whole bunch began to fall off! The message was clear – “You can’t put more on a plate that’s already full!”

4. The book Boundaries written by Christian authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend was first published in 1992 and is still being sold in book stores and offered in libraries around the world. This wonderful resource is a great tool to help eradicate this “virus.”

5. Being willing to say, “They might not like me, but they will respect me!” is an excellent “treatment” as we begin to say what Dr. Townsend referred to as the “Christian Curse Word – no!”

As we learn to “Care Without Carrying,” we can experience the joy of serving from a place of abundance rather than a need for acceptance or appreciation.


6 thoughts on “Care Without Carrying

  1. Very well said Barbra and something we would benefit from as we apply this to our situations. I have been practicing…casting

    Very well said Barbra and something we would benefit from as we apply this to our situations. I have been practicing…casting my cares and my “care abouts” on the Lord. He said to me one day….what do you care about? I made my list and then he spoke 1 Peter 5:7 from amplified….I care for you affectionately and I CARE ABOUT you watchfully… I care about what you care about.
    That put it in a new light of letting go and letting God do the work (things and people I cannot fix, change or control)..not easy but brings great peace and freedom. Pleasing God and not people is surely a blessing and it’s taken me years to work it out and still am 🙂
    Thanks for you insights and wisdom

    Beve Jo

  2. I am somewhat new to PHD but have had peripheral relationships with members for several years and been to several midweek classes, etc. I very much appreciate this article. This is by no means a criticism, but having had the opportunity to interact with and observe a number of PHD folks who have come through Celebrate Recovery and some of the other ministries, I notice that a fair number of them seem to be so fearful of being “caught” being co-dependent that it’s difficult for some of them to enter into the healthy interdependence of friendship. I understand that no one wants to be robbed of the joys of learning things for themselves, but people with wounds from life that took place prior to when healthy individuation from a parent would have taken place naturally, have (unhealthfully) concluded deep down that it’s wrong for them to need anything or anyone. Sometimes their real needs never get met (or even acknowledged) because the best we seem to be able to offer them is: “Be less co-dependent.” These folks can become experts at “not needing anyone better than they used to be able to not need anyone.”

    Today’s society has more people damaged in this way than ever before and in the future it’s going to take more than “don’t need better” to truly have the heart of God toward them. Some of them might never know it was okay to “ask” for help and could welcome someone lovingly “reaching” for their wounded hand. They very well may need and want advice they would never even know to ask for, much less how. They are not the small minority once thought. If everyone is so busy keeping others at arms length for fear of appearing too needy (or the reverse, trying to help too much), I am concerned that it will take far longer than it should for them to receive God’s healing. Having God’s heart for them may look very different in the outreach than we’ve thought for so long it might. Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks for sharing, Sharon – I do appreciate your thoughtful response. Your point is well taken; I love your term of healthy interdependence of friendship — that’s what is needed. Finding the right balance is, of course, always the challenge! And I think sometimes we are so eager to go from one unhealthy behavior that we propel ourselves too far and wind up in another unhealthy place! I’d love to hear from others about this journey toward wholeness and inner confidence that leads us to do what we should do for ourselves, ask for appropriate help, and serve others!

  3. I love the phrase – unintended sneeze. You get a simile and meditate it all the way through. Pastor Cartwright does this too – he oinks and baaaaaahs as he realizes sheep are not supposed to be thinking pig slop is tasty! I tend to give way too much advice – after years of studying the Word. Now, please Lord, teach me to ask the right questions that will lead a person to their own answers, and I will stop ruling on family matters, spousal disagreements, and unhappy meals people have together.
    Your writing has a fresh, bouncing quality Ms. Barbra. It is “quick,” as Emily Dickinson would say.

    • Karen, I appreciate your comments and thanks for the kind words about my writing style! You’ve asked for big help from the Lord — what’s great is that He is a BIG GOD! I know with your big heart and awareness, that’s a fantastic team effort. I believe your prayer will be answered and you’ll successfully care without carrying!

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