Ever felt in a muddle about something? Unable to understand your feelings or reactions to what is going on around you? Sometimes, as caregivers, we’ve simply taken on too much, bit off more than we can chew. We are left exhausted, unable to keep our perspective, easily angered, and wondering what’s the matter?! Sometimes we are faced with making important decisions about our own health or that of our care receiver. When it seems we don’t have the right information or enough information, we can become frustrated and confused.
What can be done to settle or clear our muddle? Time spent in prayer asking for guidance from God is a great place to start. The next step is to begin listening. Listening for God’s guidance can take many forms. Bringing the muddle to a trusted friend or your pastor can begin the process. This isn’t about asking for advice. It is about relating the muddle as best you can to whomever you trust and listening to their reactions. It is in the inspired reactions of friends like these that sometimes light begins to shine on a solution. Very often one conversation like this can help us resolve whatever question we have. However, there are issues and questions, especially with regard to healthcare, that are best addressed by professionals who deal with the issue at hand. A lot of times a second opinion from another doctor or accountant or even plumber can clarify a situation immensely.
Having a network of supportive friends and having the discipline to use it are essential tools in a caregiver’s toolbox. Of course, having a friend who’s a doctor, an accountant, or a plumber is not always possible. However, sharing your concerns, your muddle, with others, with God, opens the door to sometimes unexpected solutions.
In the Quaker tradition, a clarity committee is sometimes utilized to help an individual reach a place of clarity about an issue. These committees are not always about discerning an absolute answer. Episcopalians have discernment groups for those considering seminary. Various faith traditions offer different perspectives on the discernment process.
If you’re facing such a muddle, considering calling on your community of faith for help in clarifying or discerning the actual issues and possible scenarios for resolutions.
Most of all, pray, then listen.