June 11, 2019

When Someone You Love is Struggling

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 11, 2019

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

All of us experience times when a family member or friend is going through a trial. Perhaps they are edgy, irritable, depressed, or impatient—and it hurts us to see them hurting. So, we may want to take away their pain—not only because we want to see them delivered but because we want to be delivered ourselves from carrying their burden.

If you are in relationship with someone who is struggling, here are a few things to remember:

You are not responsible for the other person’s emotions.

If you are a people pleaser who likes to always get along with others, or if you grew up in a family where there was a lot of unhealthy conflict, you may be uncomfortable when things aren’t going perfectly smoothly in your relationships. This may make you feel that you have to “fix” the other person.

But here’s a liberating truth: You aren’t responsible for another person’s feelings. Admitting this doesn’t mean you stop caring. It just means that you don’t take responsibility for their experience. It’s something they need to work out with God. He will heal them. The best thing you can do is pray.

You aren’t responsible to make them happy.

When you understand that you aren’t responsible for another person’s emotions, you will know that you aren’t responsible to make them happy. If you are a positive person, you may feel uncomfortable with sadness so you will try to cheer them up. But this can make them feel as if you are not hearing them. So instead of being cheery, practice empathy. This means you will be willing to sit with them in their pain.

To do this, you can say something like, “I am so sorry that you’re hurting. This must be difficult for you.” When you practice empathy, you are showing them that you care, and you are not taking on the responsibility of their emotions or trying to fix them by being positive. It makes them responsible for their emotions and you responsible for yours.

When you feel drained, it’s okay to lay down a boundary.

Sometimes if you practice empathy often, you may feel emotionally drained. And this may feel like too much. So, you can calmly say, “I care about how you feel and I’m sorry that you are sad, but I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I’d like to talk about this later.” You can even dismiss yourself if necessary. Again, this means you are not ultimately taking responsibility for their pain, but still showing that you care.

Finally, if needed you can seek out godly counsel who can help both you and your loved one through your difficult time.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind”( 1 Peter 3:8).


Lord, please give me wisdom and strength to love and care for those around me who wrestle. Help me not to believe that it’s my fault or my responsibility to fix. But help me to trust you, stay hopeful, pray, show compassion, and have boundaries when needed. Amen.


Read the below Scriptures, then think about how Christ must have felt in each situation. Then thank Him that He understands.

Related Reading

Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 4:2; Proverbs 3:5-6

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When you feel drained, it’s okay to lay down a boundary with someone you love. #WisdomHunters #Struggles

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