"If your name's not on it, don’t pick it up."
I keep a little sign in my office with this saying. It reminds me not to “pick up” things that don’t belong to me. In other words, I don’t need to take on other people’s concerns. Instead, I need to focus on taking care of my own issues.
Of all the annoying things that people do, perhaps the most irksome -- to me -- is when people offer their unsolicited opinions/advice about things in my life. It's almost like barging into someone else's house and arranging it the way they think it should be. It drives me crazy when people do stuff like this to me. Why, then, would I do this to someone else? Why should I waste my time and energy providing unrequested advice and opinions to people who wouldn't care otherwise?
The truth is when I butt in to other people’s lives by offering unsolicited advice, I’m trying to save them from what I think are their problems. But in reality, it really isn’t about helping them; it's more about satisfying my ego and making myself feel better. I feel like I'm being a decent person by offering my services. But, as I'm learning, it's time for me to stop that.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that I will completely turn my back to someone in need. In fact, I pride myself in being a person to lean on when times are difficult. I just don’t want to create this legacy of butting in where I’m not invited. There’s a huge difference. When I only deal with what’s on my own plate, I think that I'll find a greater sense of peace and content with myself. Even when I still have things that I need to face, at least I don’t have to compound my problems by attempting to solve everyone else’s too – especially if I’m not asked to.
There is a God who can fix problems and I’m not it. God has the power and the will to handle other people’s problems just as He does mine. I believe that everyone is on their own journey with God – whether they accept it or not. That said, I don't need to get in the way of what God is doing by "picking-up" something that does not have my name on it.