compassion fatigue, being wise and encouraging each other

I’m a “cup half full” kind of person, always wanting to believe that, even if you have to rummage around in there a while to find it,  there is good in everyone, that there is always hope and that tomorrow will be a better day.   I don’t think it’s a naive way of living, but  rather a confidence that comes from knowing that nothing we do with the best of intentions is wasted, that the God who loves us will use “everything for good.”

Yesterday evening, after I spent the day with dear friends and colleagues attending a seminar in Columbus sponsored by the Salvation Army on “How Mental Health Counselors Can Help Victims of Human Trafficking,” the most vivid thing I could remember as I closed my eyes was the terrified little face of the tiny little girl in the video filmed somewhere in Asia, knowing she was being sold to a man who was going to rape her.  The woman selling her claimed she was 11 but she didn’t look a day older than my almost 5 year old grand daughter.

Then I got on my email this morning, and saw a very encouraging response to a blog I had posted some many weeks ago on “men who love porn and the women who love them.”   The writer said it was such an encouraging article, and that they had re-blogged it onto their site so they could refer to it often.   My first thought, “okay, this is why you do this, this is why we little band of encouragers keep doing the work we do, to help others.”    So, naturally, out of curiosity, I clicked onto THEIR blog site to see what gems of wisdom they were spreading.   It was a porn site.  I only allowed my eyes to stay there long enough to realize what I was seeing, and then I wanted to throw up.

All of this to say, is that if you care about others, you will get hurt.   If you open a book, listen to a lecture, or attend a seminar on a subject that not many people will acknowledge exists, you will have your heart changed forever.  You can never go back and pretend “it’ doesn’t exist anymore because you KNOW.   And if you reach out to share,  you may have your hand slapped.   If you cry at the heartbreak of others,  you will be laughed at and scorned.   But do it anyway.   Because it does make a difference.   Remember to take care of yourself.  Compassion fatigue is real.   Single moms know it better than anyone, so love on them a little bit extra today, and take care of YOU.

I want to leave with you with a poem by Mother Theresa, who knew better than anyone what compassion fatigue felt like first hand.   She also knew she had a faithful Protector at her side as she worked alone in the slums:

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Bless each and every one of you today.

10 thoughts on “compassion fatigue, being wise and encouraging each other

  1. Thanks for sharing this today. I have been struggling this past week with feelings of “why do I care about and do so much to encourage others when many times I feel like it’s all for nothing”? Where are they when I need encouragement or just someone to listen? I do it because I have a heart and I have feelings. I do it because it’s what we are called to do, to love others. That’s what God does with us, He loves us even when we feel we are un-loveable, He is always there to listen and you can find all kinds of encouragement in His Word….that’s why I do what I do, even though many times I do get hurt. Thank you for being a blessing to me and for sharing the way you do!

  2. Papa says we will comfort others with the comfort we have received from Him. That means sometimes we have to step away from the “others” and get our own cup refilled. The kind of compassion you are talking about can’t be generated in our flesh – it has to flow from Him, to us and through us to others. Satan probably chuckled when you went to the porn site, he set that up to zing you. But you, with the power of Christ, get the last laugh. Your words are anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit, I would not be surprised one bit if someone checking into that porn site and seeing your words falls under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and gets more than they bargained for! Praying you step away for a bit and get refilled by His love and grace and that His peace saturates your soul today – take heart, He has indeed overcome the world.

  3. Morvan, I refer often to the blog about men and porn, but for a very different reason than the individual you spoke of. Your article led me to the truth of the life of abuse I had suffered. Do not allow a twisted soul to silence you. Your blog changed my life. I am fighting my way free because of the words you wrote. Thank you and God bless you.

    • Jenn, your words are such a gift to me. I am blessed beyond words to be a part of your healing journey. Hang in there, dear one. There are lots of people out there to offer you support. If you attend a church that doesn’t “get it”, then keep going until you find one that models Christ’s love to you. Praying for you. Stay in touch, and let me know how you are doing.

  4. This is quite possibly my favorite post to date. I’ve said it so many times before, but I’ll say it again. . . I’m blessed to know one who is making such a huge impact in the world.

    Bless you, Morven. Bless you.

  5. This was absolutely beautiful and so very encouraging to read. I plan to work somewhere within ending human trafficking, and it’s difficult to remain positive in this effort when so many people so negatively approach the subject. Absolutely ADORED this post 🙂

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