Monday, April 03, 2006

Is this yours?

"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.


7 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

mmem said...

Good advice, I surely wouldn't want to pick up stuff that doesn't bear my name.

jayson said...

What a great post! I love the analogy of rearranging someone else's house, even though it is personal stuff. As I re read this I think to myself who am I to play God and take on your things when He is very capable. Boy it is part of those unforced rhythms of grace that I need to look at.

Thanks for the insight.

rhynoman said...

Amen to that!

There's nothing left for me to add!

Diane said...

I have been guilty of taking sides in some things in the past, out of misguided loyalty to an ideal, and I allowed myself to be used of Satan. I was spiritually hurt, and I learned a lot, the hard way. You are so right when you say my problems are enough, without taking on my brothers', especially if it is unsolicited. It's the old mote and beam thing, too.
A good post, and nicely worded.
Thanks, Andre, I needed to be reminded. :)

natasha said...

Very nice!

I totally agree with you Andre. Nothing annoys me more than someone telling me what to do with my life; especially when they don't have THEIRS together. Your post really challenged me to avoid this bothersome habit!

Anonymous said...

If all else fails, you can just tell these people to STFU!

Andre said...

@ mmem: Thank you for your comment. I think it's not only irresponsible to pick up other people's stuff, but it can also backfire on us.

@ jayson: I think you're on to something. You're right when you say that we shouldn't get in the habit of playing God. I believe that sometimes God works through us (especially in the medical field), but it's still ultimately His show.

@ Diane: Overcoming the traps that Satan set for you is a true testament to your Christ-likeness. For you to continue being a true light for Christ, I think that it's important for you to keep your own cup clean before you try trying to clean for others. Thanks for your comments.

@ natasha: Great minds think alike. Thanks for sharing your insight.

@ anonymous: Telling people to "STFU" is not exactly what I had in mind. I think that we can be respectful enough to turn down unsolicted advice. But, at the same time, we should be careful...and respectful enough...not to do the same.