As caregivers, we can easily become overwhelmed because we believe it is our job to fix, heal, protect, comfort and sustain the person for whom we care. We may find ourselves in the role of primary caregiver, but the truth is, only God has the ability to fix, heal, protect, comfort and sustain the person for whom we care.
With all that we do, it is easy to feel like the full responsibility has been put on us, that we are in control. We bathe, feed, and transport – to doctor’s appointments, therapies, school, etc. We develop schedules to keep it all on track. We advocate. We do research. We fill out tons of paperwork. We make very big decisions that have tremendous effects on the person we care for – surgeries, meds, etc. No wonder we think we are in charge!
But do you (or should you) share the responsibility of caring for this person with others? A spouse, relative, other caregivers? Perhaps their method of care differs from yours. You may find that frustrating, even infuriating. Having someone to share care giving responsibilities with can be a blessing or a source of constant conflict.
Perhaps, even more maddening, there may be people you think should be sharing the responsibility and are not. To have any peace about this, you must let go of the controls and put everything in God’s capable, loving hands. If you try and control everything – including who is doing the caring and how they are doing it, you are going to remain stressed and angry. Only God can provide true comfort and healing. Only He knows what is best for everyone involved.
The idea of surrendering and letting God run the show may seem impossible, even ridiculous when we have been so busy and in charge for so long. Here are a few steps that may help you relinquish control and gain some peace.
- Make a list of all that you do – really, all of it! What you do each day for yourself, your family and the person you care for – cooking, cleaning, working, carpooling, planning, advocating, etc. Take a good look at that list and acknowledge that no one person can do all of that alone.
- Make a list of the people you think ought to be helping. Be honest and list what is standing in their way. Are you not letting them (perhaps by being too controlling or over protective)? Are they just not willing? Are they too far away? Perhaps you can’t afford extra help. Being angry at these folks and/or feeling sorry for yourself is not going to make this journey any easier. Forgive everyone, including yourself. Open a spiritual door to receive help by saying, “I am willing to allow others to help us.” Then step back and allow those who show up to help in their own unique way.
- Step back. I am not advocating that you stop giving anyone their meds or make them miss appointments, but ask yourself if what you are doing is essential and if it is not, step back. Take a break. Don’t do it and see what happens. Did anyone get hurt? Did anyone get hysterical? Did anyone else show up to do it instead of you?
- Lord, I am only human. I lay down the burden of the responsibility for the outcome of this situation. We are all in Your Loving Hands.