It happens all the time.
In fact, it happened just the other day.
I was at a grocery store and I became aware that there was a man, in the corner of my eye, standing looking at something in the aisle. He wasn’t doing anything weird, just standing there looking at some food.
I couldn’t even see his face, but I instantly became flooded with a feeling of grief.
Not my grief, but his.
This is what happens when you can feel other people’s emotions. It’s been happening to me since I was a little girl.
I whispered to God, “this isn’t mine. It’s his. Lord, please help this man. Take this heaviness.”
It gets harder to surrender it to God, though, when it’s your loved one’s emotions. Because with these people, you are invested. You’re personally involved in their emotion.
Boundaries are key.. but creating spiritual and emotional boundaries can be as difficult, if not more than, creating physical boundaries.
After years of wondering what the heck was wrong with me, and wondering why being around strangers would lead me want to bawl my eyes out...
I learned about burden bearing.
Other people call it being an empath.
Regardless of what you call it, it makes life feel heavy, confusing, and honestly, it can be down right depressing.
It can feel like being with other people isn’t safe because you never know when you’ll be slammed with emotion.
Sometimes you just want to isolate because it’s easier.
And many many many times, you look at others who don’t seem to have this “gift” and wish you could be more like them.
Until that is, you recognize these emotions are not your own, and you understand that you aren’t meant to carry other people’s stuff.
God does not ask us to hold on to all of that, we can’t.
But you know what we can do?
We can notice the burden and give it back to God... where it belongs.
And because we have this little glimpse into the person’s soul, we can have empathy and compassion. We can help them know they aren’t alone.
It’s possible to love someone well without carrying all their stuff on our back.
So, if you find yourself in a similar place, ask God what’s yours and what isn’t.
And if it’s not yours, remember that you aren’t meant to fix it or carry it.
He gave you this gift for a reason, and that reason isn’t to weigh you down.
It’s to help you know how you can love and pray for others who need it, but may not be able to say they need it.
It’s an honor, really, to have a glimpse into someone’s pain.
But remember the ultimate burden bearer is Jesus. And so with Him is where burdens belong.
Because it’s never too much for Him.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog