But true God-given compassion and the kind of care that so many practice and are imprisoned by are polar opposites.
Cares That Are A Curse
1. When we care too much about the opinions of others
The key words here are “too much.” When a person has a healthy kind of respect for how others respond to us, it’s a good thing. So, how can you tell the difference? By the way it makes you feel. If it’s healthy, it registers in our emotions as peaceful respect for the opinions of others. Healthy care is a safeguard against haughtiness and self centered pride.
However, if you feel worried that you’ll be rejected by others it’s unhealthy. If you try to mold what you do and say into what you think is acceptable to others, it’s unhealthy.
Admittedly, many people that don’t care enough and claim that they’re “just keepin’ it real” with their “in your face” brutish attitudes need to learn how to speak their minds with more grace. In my experience, “speaking one’s mind” is best saved for “after a cool-down” period. The thing about the “cool-down” period is that it puts stuff in true perspective. Rule: Never trust reactionary emotions. The more heated the feeling, the more need to “zip it.”
Another important discovery I made when I lived under the “caring too much what others think” curse was the realization that most people I was worried about pleasing didn’t really care that much one way or the other.
2. When we care too much about our regrets over past “mess ups”
I think this affects parents more than most other people. Maybe I say that because I’m very familiar with this particular curse.
I was just talking with a lady in a half-way house program that mourns over “what could have been” for her daughter if she hadn’t made such self-centered, life-altering destructive decisions.
The truth is that she’s in a very good place now, making excellent decisions, and setting herself up to take advantage of excellent opportunities that God can bring her way.
Focusing on past failures is destructive and will cause you to walk right past present opportunities. There are faith building things to remember, but there are also many things we must “put under our feet.”
It’s a lie to believe that if you stop caring about the past failures that you don’t care enough about the people that were effected.
Allow yourself to only think about the God who is the “Restorer.” The Bible is over-full with examples of how He can make all things new.
Some need to let go of the fantasy that things won’t be as they should be until everything is restored to our original desires. That’s not true. That’s why we have grace.
Grace takes the heart of what could have been (but was destroyed) and clothes it with something that’s even better. How does He do that? I dunno, specifically. That’s a mystery found in grace, but it’s a God thing of the grandest order.
3. When we care too much about what we don’t have
“You will NEVER have enough time, enough resources, or enough money to do the perfect thing. But what’s truly amazing is what you can achieve without “enough” of these supposed requirements. Sooner or later you will come to realize that it’s not what you are missing that counts; it’s what you do with what you have.” – Marc Hack
Instead of caring so much about what we don’t have enough of, it’s much more fruitful and joy producing to be consciously, consistently grateful for what we do (especially the little stuff.)
How Can I Tell The Difference Between “Caring Too Much” and Compassion?
As I stated earlier, it’s about inspecting the fruit. In I Peter 5:7 (KJV) we find the counsel, “Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.”
The word, “care” is used twice in the King James English translation. But, they mean entirely different things. Our “care” is best described as anxiety, worry, and fear. God’s “care” is best described as the acts associated with love.
The fruit of caring too much that is a curse: Fear, anxiety, worry about….just about everything.
The fruit of the God kind of caring: Actions of compassion, honor, and respect for yourself and others.
Do you know what it is to care too much? Have you solved it? Are you in the process? What have you discovered is helpful. Please share your comments: