Discernment for Caregivers

prayerEver 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.

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