Every day we make decisions about our lives. Often, these decisions only affect ourselves and maybe our immediate families. Sometimes, we are tempted to go beyond the bounds of what is ours to do!
Last week, I needed to deal with this decision when I received a phone call from a gal affiliated with an organization I work with virtual.
The gal was frustrated as she described a situation she was dealing with in the organization. Since I was already aware of some of the issues she explained, I understood her angst. I listened intently and tried to offer her some options. Unfortunately, I found myself becoming drawn into the story. She was right! Someone probably needed to intervene. But was that someone me!?
So I pondered, what was ours to do? More specifically, what was MINE to do? Since I come from the perspective of wanting to fix problems, my initial response was probably not correct. After all, just because I understood the issues, was it my place to intervene?
Over the last years, I determined to keep clear boundaries in my life. Of course, there is nothing wrong with listening, sympathizing, and even offering solutions. But how much do we get involved when we see someone struggling?
When it comes to our spouse/partner or our kids, taking a more active role is probably appropriate — especially when asked for advice. But how do we find the proper boundaries when it comes to the workplace or other social settings.
No cookie-cutter answer, but what I know about what is ours to do:
- Don’t respond until you have time to think through the situation. Snap decisions based on emotions can be misleading.
- Once you pull yourself out of the emotions, look at your role in the situation.
- If the conversation includes gossip, don’t repeat or take it personally, especially if the gossip is about you!
- Make sure your response comes from love and acceptation knowing that everyone is doing the best they can.
- When your decision is made, walk away from the situation and focus on prayer to intervene where you could not.
In this scenario, I realized that getting too deeply involved would not help. When I went through the steps above, I realized that prayer was the best response. I wish I had thought of that when I was still talking to the gal on the phone. The prayer may have helped her have peace as well.