Lessons Learned in Helping Others:
Change takes time
I have learned that change does not happen overnight.
Change takes lots of time and must happen line upon line. Often there are two steps forward and one step back. However, we do not have to endure this process alone. Through the pain and exhaustion that often comes, we can turn to the Lord for help. I found this out as I was helping someone who was spiritually struggling. I knew the Lord wanted me to help them, I knew of their potential, but I found myself very worried about them breaking my trust. I was worried at the hurt I would feel. 'What if...' thoughts consumed my head as I created all sorts of possible scenarios in my mind. I felt I could not function. I couldn't concentrate on helping anyone else. I could not concentrate on my children. My patience was gone. I found my own grief seeping back into my mind. I knew all of these feelings were not from God, but from Satan. Over the next few days I prayed and studied and read about not being judgmental (See prior post: The Lord Looketh on the Heart: My journey to becoming less judgmental.)
"Heavenly Father, I just can't bear this anymore. I can't focus and be a good mom. I can't help other people. If I am supposed to help this person, then please lift this pain so that I can do my work."
Then it was literally gone.
The pain was replaced by understanding, empathy and peace.
That's how I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.
Praying when I felt that way,
allowed God to show me how the atonement
could enable me to be His hands.
If we are truly doing the things that God wants us to do and we don't have the ability to do it on our own, He will enable us with those abilities. That is the enabling power of his grace. Remember, God can take weak things and make them become strong.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27
As I turned my will over to God in this matter, I was also given understanding. My worries and lack of trust were lifted. I knew that the process of change that this person needed to go through would be up-and-down. I knew that it couldn't happen overnight. I understood that for every two steps forward there might be a step backwards. The Lord gave me patience to deal with the situation. He gave me distance and perspective to emotionally withdraw myself. I knew that I had to unconditionally care about this person no matter what, and the Lord gave me the tools that enabled me to do it. That was a testimony to me that I was on the right path. If ever those feelings have tried to creep in again, immediately, I remind myself of the answer to that prayer. As soon as I have done this those feelings have left my mind.
Lessons Learned in Helping Others: Becoming Vulnerable Can Help Heal Pain part 1