I used to be seriously broken. For years I was broken. As much as I tried to shield them, my family and friends had to bear the consequences of my brokenness.
Then I got better. I got strong. I returned to my previous functionality – in fact I was better than before because through that brokenness, through hitting bottom, I’d grown and was now much more able to be who God had made me to be.
Having seen the world through broken, damaged eyes for so many years, and now being on the other side, wanting to help, to fix people, I’ve come to understand a few things.
THE GOAL: We want this person to come to a place of peace and stability.
THE OBSTACLES: As human beings, we’re limited. Because of that, three things can happen when we try to fix someone.
1. We become tired – tired of hurting for them, tired of offering help and being turned down, tired of giving them what they say they need, and having them crash again and again and again. Yes, tired.
2. We become discouraged. It feels like a constant exercise in failure – seeking supports, advocating for the person, giving of our time, money, love, energy, putting our own lives on hold, hearing the advice of others, trying to implement it, or knowing it won’t work, but the others still insist that if you followed these steps the broken person would be fixed, and taking on that burden of responsibility. Yes, discouraged.
3. We want our own life back. Sounds selfish, so we try not to dwell on it, but it’s true. When we’ve tried and tried to help someone, often for years with no lasting results, we want to give up, tell them they’re on their own, we’ve had it. We simply don’t have the energy to care anymore.
That last one, I think, is the hardest of all. Do we have to turn off the love and hope we have for someone so we can get on with our own life? Is that something we should even attempt? It goes against everything most people stand for.
If you were hoping for answers, I don’t have them. I’m asking you.
What’s your take on this? How do you handle it when you can’t fix a broken person who’s front and centre in your life?