Why We Need to Be Fed By God in Order to Help Others

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Have you ever met someone who sucks the life out of you? You know, the one who you keep trying to help but they never take your advice, only care what you have to say if it's exactly what they want to hear, and yet they keep coming back. They keep "needing you help".

If you're anything like me, there comes a point when you are torn between self-sanity and self-sacrifice. Do you keep pushing forward trying to help someone that seems like a lost casue? Or do you let yourself take a breather and not allow that person to burden you or take advantage of you any longer?

Tired and Used

Unfortunately, I think this happens a lot. Most of us have a desire to help others, so we pour all of our time and energy into a person in need day-in-and-day out. We feel good about ourselves because we are trying to help. But then something happens. The person we've been trying to help starts to weigh us down. They seem to become more needy and dependent. They start expecting us to bend over backwards for them.

Next, we start wilting. We become so drained by the person in need that we feel like we have nothing left to give. So over time we back away from the relationship. We realize how used and drained we feel and we decide that we shouldn't try so hard to help people anymore.

We decide that instead of trying to help others, we need to be fed by God. We decide that giving all of ourselves to help others isn't worth the price. So we focus only on God working on our hearts, and not so much on trying to encourage others in their lives.

This is pretty common. But why? How do we go from desperately wanting to help others, to being completely closed to going out of our way to help those in need?

Like most things, the problem is a lack of balance.

We Need To Be Fed

The truth is, we have to be fed by God in order to have a lot to give to others. When we try to give to others spiritually and emotionally, we have to let God do the same for us. We have to seek God's grace, love, and strength for ourselves in order to be able to give grace, love, and strength to those in need.

If a person has volunteered to help build a home for a needy family, and they start their day without eating and hydrating, they aren't going to be of much use (at least not for long) on the building site. They need nutrients to give their all for others. It is the same for us as Christians.

Seeking God in His Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with other believers is a necessity. We need it as sustenance to make it through each day. We need it for ourselves, and we need it for the sake of others.

We Also Need to Feed (Help)

Needing to be fed does not mean we only seek food for ourselves. The idea that we just need to keep getting fed without reaching out is a form of spiritual gluttony. I have friends- friends whom I love- that take the view that people will use us and suck the life out of us, and therefore we shouldn't go out of our way for them. Most of the time, an attitude like this is coming from a past of being deeply wounded and used. I understand. But that view is so destructive when it comes to living out our calling to "love our neighbor as ourselves".

We expect people to love us, to help us, and to "be Christianly" towards us, but sometimes we are needy too. Sometimes we drain people without realizing it, and we all can have times where we use people (even un-intentionally). It's human nature and it's bad, but it's also "normal". So, if we know that we can do this from time to time, shouldn't we be understanding when others do that to us? Shouldn't we be willing to give of ourselves, even if we may get a little drained?

So what if someone expects you to give them a ride somewhere and is taking advantage of you- do it anyway. The fact that you are willing shows them love- love that they may have never seen before.

Finding the Balance

Clearly, we still have to use common sense here.

If you are so tired you can't see straight, you are feeling super cranky, and you feel like you have absolutely nothing nice to say, then it may be best to take a breather. We can't help other's 24/7. Take time to rest, rejuvenate, and be fed by God. I am so bad about not going to God for that, and I know others are too. But we must. We need it desperately.

Then, after we have been fed, we can go out and feed others again much more effectively!

Don't use needing to be fed as an excuse to stay in your own bubble, and don't use feeding others as an excuse not to rest and be renewed. We are smart cookies- we can tell the difference!

Do you tend to lean towards one extreme or the other? Why do you think that is?
Comment below!


A Few Things to Remember

Even though we should give of ourselves freely, there are some things we need to watch out for.

* If a person you are trying to help is keeping you from being there for others in need, or from your spouse and children, something is wrong. Of course you should give outside of your family, but if you are investing so much in one particular person that you are neglecting your family, your priorities may have steered off course. Be aware. You shouldn't feel like you are so trapped in one part of ministry that you're incapable of helping anyone else.

* If the one in need is trying to make you feel guilty and manipulate you into helping them, that isn't healthy. You should still show them love, but by no means should you do everything they want, simply so they will see Jesus. They aren't seeing Jesus at that point- they are seeing you as a door mat. Jesus was not a door mat.

* If your job or your school work is suffering due to trying to "help the world", then something is off.
Your employer counts on you. You committed to doing a good job with your schooling. Be faithful to those things too. Find a way to minister to the needy and be faithful to your commitments at the same time.


  1. I think finding balance is critical. There are times when we will need to take care of others but ultimately we need to take care of ourselves. Also, we can't fully give ourselves to others unless we are taking time for ourselves.

  2. Great advice. Sometimes for me it's difficult to recognize when I'm in starvation mode until after I've "lost it" with someone. One reason it's particularly important to have regular time with The Lord.

  3. I think finding a balance and setting boundaries are so important! I learned that the hard way with a few people and now things are much better that boundaries are in place!

  4. Wonderful advice! This a a very common struggle!

  5. Balance is definitely important, and I don't think everyone realizes, along with this, that when you're in the right sort of service and ministries--the one's God's called you to and has gifted you for, they tend to energize you, not drain you. Service itself often is spiritually nourishing.

    1. I pretty much agree with that too, Rachel. I would only add that sometimes we are called to a ministry for a while despite it draining us, to persevere. And then sometimes, a ministry was there for a season and when it starts draining you too much, that may be a sign the season is over. But as a general rule, I agree. Often ministry is energizing when we have the right outlook and it is where God wants us :)

  6. This is so great, Kristin! We can't help others if we are drowning ourselves. Like on Mom's Night Out, when he says you have to put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child; it's crucial to being able to keep on keeping on. :)

  7. I definitely need my daily time with God to fill my cup. I feel called to what I do everyday, but I need a fresh dose of Him to be able to share what He's put on my heart.

  8. I am actually a really shy person, so it is hard for me to get out and encourage others, unless its through the blog or my close friends. It is definitely something that I have to really prepare myself to do!

  9. Yes you certainly need to be fed by God to help others. My father has this wonderful gift of compassion for others and I've seen him get used time and time again so I'm a little more skeptical when it comes to helping people. But I know we are supposed to be helpful so it's a constant struggle for me. Hopefully I can live up to what God expects of me one day. Good post :)

  10. You need to take care of yourself first before you can be helpful to others.

  11. I have trouble finding balance. Sometimes I try to make up for having too much alone time. Then I end up taking on too much and draining myself, like now unfortunately.