Gut Reactions and Belief Systems

I am firmly convinced that people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes, though, the challenge is in figuring out just what that reason could be.

I know a girl who comes from a fairly dysfunctional family. She is neither a stranger to drugs, nor to “life on the street.” But I like her. I think she has a good heart.

I haven’t known her for long, but I think she is really trying to turn her life around. Unfortunately, she trusts too easily and people take advantage of her. She cannot seem to remove herself enough from her surroundings, and she keeps falling back into situations that make her life worse.

To meet her, she is kind of rough around the edges. She means well and she cares a lot, and she wants desperately to have somebody care for her. But she seems to have difficulty setting boundaries. She’s pretty fearless, though, and has a great deal of determination…and I admire that.

Recently, someone she was trying to help turned against her – again. Now, again, she is seeing herself as a loser. Of course, that is what she’s been told throughout her life. I think she needs a leg up. I think she needs to know that somebody cares about her. She needs a miracle in her life.

There is something about her that draws me to her. I go back to my original statement. I believe she has come into my life for a reason. I just don’t know what it is. It is a very strong feeling that I need to learn something from knowing her. So, what do I do? What can I do? I don’t know her well enough to be certain of her personality. I only know my impressions. I want to help, but I also don’t want to be used.

A friend recently published this quote:  “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (NIV) James 4:17. Should I offer her money? Do I offer her a place to stay? Or do I only offer prayers? I can see potential problems with a material offering. I know she could perceive me as an easy mark and then try to “hit” on me in the future. And yet…in my heart, I believe she needs someone to have faith in her. While prayer can be a powerful thing (and it may be my weakness of faith that, in my mind, says that only prayer is not enough), I believe she needs something more. Doesn’t Christianity mean giving selflessly? But what about the ramifications of reality? Will helping her put me, or those I care about, at risk from those who want to harm her?

Still, I cannot shake the feeling that she needs someone to believe in her…someone who considers her worthwhile. I see her as someone with a good heart who is trying to change her life. I see her as a good and valuable person. I believe God sees her as valuable as well. I’m trying to find the balance between being a friend, being Christian, and being realistic. I also need to find out why I believe I need to learn something here.

What would YOU do in these circumstances, and why?

Published by

The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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