One of the keys to fulfillment in a person’s life is knowing what actions to take and then following through with them. Our lives are filled each day with decisions we must make and we don’t always have the luxury of a wealth of time to make “best” choices.
There are also times in our lives when we observe someone else in their own existence and think that we know what’s best for them as well. Sometimes we keep this to ourselves, but many times we feel obligated to tell them what we think they should do. Are we playing God in their lives?
Looking back on my own life, I can honestly say that I’ve made some very poor choices. I suppose I did what I thought was best at the time, but looking back can see the error of my ways. It’s also been said that making mistakes for many is the best way to learn valuable lessons. In that case, each of should be well-versed in important lessons of how to live life. The bottom line is that I don’t always know what’s best for me.
There then are those times when we see somewhat else in a situation of their own making and we can attempt to change their pathway or offer them kindly advice on what to do. Sometimes they solicit for advice, but then again many times we tell them what we think is best without being consulted. I have found that is especially true when we think there’s something we can do to help them out of the difficult situation.
But wait a minute, isn’t that what loving people are supposed to do… help other people in their hour of need? My answer would be yes and no. Yes, if there is an obvious immediate need, I think it’s great to offer assistance. But I also need to consider that people need to become adept at figuring out the answers to their own problems without anyone else’s input. They have their lessons to learn as well. I recently found some words that express it well:
“Shakespeare said, ‘All the world’s a stage, all the men and women mainly players.’ He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection just as I did. There is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of the bad in the best of us; we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.”
A.A. Big Book, p. 449.
Many times when I am trying to help someone else, there’s an another motive for wanting to do so. If they will only do what I say, I stand to benefit something from it. I’m attempting to manipulate the world so that I have an outcome that is beneficial for all, but most importantly beneficial for myself. This is an example of self-centered thoughts and actions that are usually not what’s in anyone’s best interest.
That for me is where my faith life comes into play. I have to know that there is a God watching over all. He helped me and nourished me through the most difficult time in my life, but He is also willing and able to do the same for anyone who asks. We have to allow others get to the point where they are asking Him for help instead of trying to solve all their problems themselves.
I think we also need to be aware that there are many times when people don’t really want our help anyway. If you’ve been trying to get a relationship or circumstance to go the way you’d like and despite repeated attempts, it’s just not working out, you have to assume that it’s not meant to be the way you want it to be. This lesson is one of the most difficult life has to offer.
Once again, I find someone else’s words that seem to express it best:
“This is how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.”
AA Big Book, p. 62.
May God be with us all this day and lead us to do those things that He would have us to do in His name. Give us the guidance, wisdom, and strength to carry out Your will. But above all else, help us to understand that sometimes the best thing we can to do help someone else is nothing at all.