“Until I read the Stuckness blogs,” Ann shared, “I didn’t realize how stuck I had become for being kind to a needy lady. Years ago, as a new Christian, I felt it my duty to give a lady who had experienced abuse from her husband a place to stay while she got on her feet. My husband honored my desire, but during her stay our household lost its peace.
“I thought we’d help her for maybe a week but she remained for several weeks. We suggested several times that she find a place. I felt sorry for her because her children refused to help her. Because her son reminded her of her abusive husband she didn’t want to be around him. But our home was changed because of her presence. Her stay grew to over a year, then another year. She didn’t try to find a job or apartment. She just lived off my husband’s income. No one could tell us how to get rid of her.
“During this time we had added havoc with both of our mothers becoming ill. Coping with rest homes, selling their homes and possessions and dealing with our siblings was a heavy load. Even with our high stress level we could not get her to leave.
“After both of our mothers died, the lady was still present. Eventually, after 7 ½ years we finally convinced her to move out. I considered my plight as a burden bearer which shoved me into increased intercession with the Lord. I grew spiritually despite the problems. Even though her leaving lifted a weight, other problems filtered in. When I think of what she did to us, I am greatly offended. And along with that, tremendous resentment has moved in. Walls have gone up. I’m reluctant to reach out to anyone else. Evidently, getting unstuck isn’t easy.”
Ann’s problems are common to many but there are solutions. First, I regard resentment the cancer of the heart because it creeps in undetected when expectations of ourselves or others are unfulfilled. As one gal who dealt with this same type of stuckness with resentment said “You can’t change the past, so put it down.” That’s why we need to pray and read what the scripture says. When we consider only our own minds, we substitute our own decisions into god and often suffer awful consequences.
Second, boundaries must be set but how can they be? Dealing with resentments is discussed in How To Get Along With Everyone in Chapter 6, beginning on page 89, with questions to ask yourself when someone is asking for a commitment to care for them. Resist immediate requests. Take time to pray.
Allowing a relative, friend or child of a friend to move in to your home almost always creates enabling which leads to problems for that person plus unforeseen difficulties for you. An interesting law exists in many states that if anyone is invited to stay in your home for an extended time, they cannot be asked or forced to leave because they have set up occupancy.
To avoid this possibility, the host should ask the guest on the first night to sign a paper with a stated date of departure. If the person refuses, you rescind the invitation. The signed agreement stands up in court. If the person you’re dealing is from another state call the Police Department of that state to find out what is needed to get the person to leave. Different states have different laws.
The Lord wants us to reach out and extend help to those in need. Helping others glorifies the Lord, gives us purpose and brings joy to all involved. Serving others is our privilege but must be mixed with practicality, wisdom and the courage to recognize when someone is taking unfair advantage of our generosity and ask them to leave. I speak from experience several times over in our ministry.
Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
When we do what the Lord wants us to do, we’ll have peace. God does not demand, gifts, services, and sacrifices to prove our love for Him. He yearns for us to love Him and communicate with Him every day. What He offers us is a satisfying personal relationship.