We naturally want to resolve the many difficulties we face in life. But not all difficulties are problems to be solved. And all too often we can make matters worse by trying to do too much. We do well to remember that many times less is more.

Of course, it’s hard to sit by and do nothing when someone we love is suffering. And often there are many things we can do to support them and lessen their burdens.

But sometimes we only prolong their suffering in our efforts to help.

For instance, we might be tempted to do our kid’s homework because we don’t want to see him fail. But this robs him of his opportunity to actually learn. While we “helped” him to pass the assignment, he remains ignorant and ineffective on the subject at hand.

This is true if we’re always bailing a friend out financially as well. Helping out occasionally is one thing. But we’re only helping him to continue his mismanagement when we don’t allow the natural consequences of his poor choices to teach him as well.

Likewise, it’s not love in marriage to simply try to keep our wife happy while not also gently addressing the undone and immature parts of her heart as well. Sometimes love has to shake up the status quo and engage in many uncomfortable conversations.

Whatever it looks like, we often add to the hardships of others when we try to take on more responsibility than what is ours to own.

To be sure, life comes with many difficulties, tough choices, and risks. And in our zeal to help we must not rob others of the necessary suffering needed for them to grow.

This doesn’t mean we become indifferent to their plight. We can still actively care for them without feeling the need to take care of every situation for them.

Actively care for those in your life without doing too much. Respect their freedom and their responsibility for their own lives.

Photo by Robert McGowan on Unsplash

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