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As a writer, the big rule is:  Save your work!

So much of our lives is about saving.  Saving time by taking the highway, not the back roads.  Saving money by clipping coupons.  Saving electricity by turning off all the lights at night.

For the last few years, I assumed that because God kept putting people in need of encouragement on my path, it meant He was telling me to take care of them all.  As in, be their counselor or clergy, and let them unburden themselves onto me.

Oh boy, was I wrong!  I think now it may have been a nudge in the opposite direction, as in, “How can you add to your caretaker duties when you’re not even taking care of yourself?”

You can’t save everyone.  That’s not why you’re here. It’s not a pleasant analogy, but they say that if the plane starts going down, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first, then put your children’s masks on them.  Why?  So you can breathe.  You know.  So you can live.

First Corinthians 13 is a beautiful Bible passage, describing what love is.  I spent a good part of the last few years learning what love is not.  It’s not allowing people to bring you down just because they’ve been wounded and they want to pick at their scabs.  It’s not allowing people to vent the toxic fumes of their regret to the point where you’re about to pass out.

“Love is patient. Love is kind…  Love never fails.”

It never said, “Love is a doormat.  Love has to carry other peoples’ burdens at its own expense.”

The most amazing thing I realized is that you can love people from afar.  You can essentially put them out of your life and wish them well, knowing that being drained and bombarded with negativity isn’t good for your own well-being.  If that’s the only way to save your own sanity, keep your oxygen mask of faith on all the time and leave the saving-souls-business in God’s Hands, where it belongs.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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