Compassion fatigue comes as we continually carry the cares of the world in our souls. Over time, it can begin to feel less and less like there is something meaningful we can do with the weight of that pain – people continue to suffer, all over the world, despite our longings for their relief. Particularly in working with vulnerable people groups, we can find the continued pain and difficulty of change frustrating, and it begins to exhaust our stores of empathy and compassion. Our human capacity to care is stretched until it breaks, and then we experience compassion fatigue. Suddenly, we notice we are feeling numb or apathetic about the things that used to deeply affect us. And when we begin to feel this way, our tendency is to try to snap ourselves out of it, do better… We may berate ourselves for our “apathy”, or we may hear other voices doing the same thing. As if we don’t feel guilty enough about our diminished capacity to care for the things that we have easily in the past, there are often others with unmet expectations that add to that burden. We have to do our jobs, or care for people in our immediate circle, even when we are feeling like some of our “give-a-darn” has seeped out, been lost somewhere. We allow the guilt (from internal and external sources) to keep us pushing forward, even when we feel like we’re failing at the very things we always wanted. But what about God? Is God offering us this same “Brush yourself off and get back into that arena of caring!”? Or is God inviting us into something different? Something new, something that acknowledges the pain of carrying all of these cares? Something that gives space for replenishment, nourishment? Our God is a compassionate God. It’s how God is described over and over again in Scripture: “Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in lovingkindness.” What if the invitation for your soul right now is not to try to convince it to care, when it is so clearly exhausted; but instead to be-cared-for? What would that look like, for you? What replenishes your soul? What gives life? Consider leaning in to one (or more) of those things today, as an act of caring for your soul with God.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-10-05 14:41:50 UTC