“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.”
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?
- 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?”
- 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.