Helping a Friend–From One Who Struggles with Thoughtfulness


I’m not a very thoughtful person. Please don’t write me to convince me otherwise. I know it’s true and I’m ok with that. Thoughtfulness is not a strength God gave me. However, this week a couple of times I did something out of my norm. I rearranged my schedule to be thoughtful. I know—many of you do this all the time. As I look back on the week I thought what was different this week? Honestly, at those times I clearly felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I can’t explain it, but I can tell you what it was not. It was not guilt-inducing. It didn’t sound like—You should. . . I didn’t feel pressured in any way. Instead I heard, “It would be a nice thing for you to. . .” Or “If you did ______for ______that would help her.” The prompting came in a clear and simple idea from God.

Why am I not thoughtful more often? Sometimes I think I have to solve the person’s whole issue, instead of doing the one nice thing God gave me the idea to do.

I’m learning to listen to God’s still, small voice that says “You could do this.”

I’m learning to not take on a load of guilt from the enemy who tries to convince me I must take on the whole issue until it’s resolved. God will use many people in each of our lives to accomplish His plan. It’s not all up to me or up to you. It’s each of us doing the thing that God clearly shows us. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Now for the hard part.

Yesterday I texted with a friend who I felt could use help in her situation. I wanted to help her. I wanted to rescue her. But I did not have the previous prompting from the Holy Spirit. But I felt my own limitations holding me back—my own responsibilities, knowing how much I can do before I come unglued or get sick (actually happening), my schedule, etc. I felt bad. I wanted to help, but knew if I did I would not do it well and would most likely crash.

I had no idea of her actual needs or if anyone else was helping her. So after a time of fretting and praying, I responded to her with “Do you need anything?” I don’t have a good reason for the words I chose, but typed them out of frustration. I wanted to help, but felt ill-equipped at the time. She wrote back she was doing ok.

The moral of the story— We can’t be all things to someone at all times. I had helped previously, but this week was a different story for me. I had to trust God to care for her, even using others to do so. As I stated previously—God will use many people in each of our lives to accomplish His plan. It’s not all up to me or up to you. It’s each of us doing the thing that God clearly shows us.

For those of you with the spiritual gifts of mercy and serving (helps) this may sound harsh. But God has given each of us limitations in our lives. We are not superwomen. As we allow God to prompt us to slow down and care for ourselves in our times of exhaustion or nearing burnout, we must also allow Him to care for others. Yes, there are times when God gives us super strength to serve for a season—that was my week last week. But then He also tells us when to care for ourselves so that we have something to give in the future—this is my week this week.

Can you relate? How do you know when to help and when to let others help?


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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