I’m a recovering rescuer. A fixer. The friend that was like, ‘oh you have a problem? Let’s find a solution.’ I became aware of my rescuer tendencies after my dad died. The solving. The encouraging. The pouring. It made me feel nice and warm inside to offer something.
Looking back I recognize that my selfishness took over when I felt the need to rescue. You wouldn’t know on the outside. No, on the outside I was always good. You need somethin’? Call Bekah. My identity came in being there for others, and my current work is to cut them co-dependent ties when I notice my inner motives warning: care for others so that you can feel good about yourself. If you’re needed, you’re valued. If you’re not doing something for others, you’re selfish and lame-o.
That belief system is lame-o because it places me at the center, needing to rescue all the things for all the people and I’m just not down with this anymore. I still help but I don’t feel this looming inner need to. I’m still learning. I mess up often. I swing the pendulum from one side to the next. I’m in process. I constantly fall back into my rescuer habits, but I’m aware. Awareness is the beginning of this journey toward wholeness.
Do you relate? Pause for a moment and consider your relationships. Who’s the initiator? The pourer? Is it equal or one-sided? Are expectations communicated or assumed? If you stopped taking care, how would your friendships or relationships fare? Is there freedom and space to be how you honestly are?
Sobering, isn’t it?
What I ultimately crave is space. Space to be where I am, for this moment in time. And to offer this space for others regardless if they are close friends, strangers, or neighbors. Young or old, I wonder if we all crave space?
Because here’s the truth: you certainly don’t need to be fixed. Nor do I. We’re all broken humans trying to traverse life together. You know what I really want? Someone to pull up a seat and offer space. Space to simply be. Space to listen as I say, today I feel this way.
Today I have a confession.
Today I’m wrestling with a decision.
Today I yelled at my kids.
Today I ate the entire box of Cocoa Puffs. Bless it all.
And to be loved unconditionally in my ever-changing space. This doesn’t negate the value of truth-telling or wisdom or grace, but healing comes when offering space and a seat. Space is more powerful than a thousand solutions, for it offers room to listen to ourselves instead of being told what to do.
Space says: You can be all the spectrums of emotions and I won’t leave your side.
You can be passionate or angry or full-to-the-brim of sadness.
You can be this way today and in a totally different frame of mind tomorrow.
You can fail or succeed.
You can be grieving or searching or button-pushing and I don’t feel the responsibility to do anything but sit and listen and know God is holding this whole blasted kingdom-on-earth and I don’t have to do any rescuing at all.
It’s quite a relief, actually. It allows me to surrender my savior complex and just shimmy up and pull out a seat and say, Come and sit. What’s going on? What do you need space for? There’s room for all of it.