The Gift of Empathy
It is the special gift whereby the Spirit provides us with the ability of being uniquely able to get fully in sync with what is going on in the mind of another person. A special sensitivity, caring, and knowing beyond what a human being can do naturally, the ability to literally feel the depression, pain, joy, or confusion of another person (even a total stranger), and thereby being able to support them.
the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
A friend said to me a few weeks ago “Bran, you have the gift of empathy” after I had conveyed to her that my heart hurt for her situation. She had been separated from her husband because of missed and delayed flights. She was returning after just seeing her father go through a scary medical procedure, and desperately wanted to be held by her husband after an emotionally exhaustive trip.
When I read her words, my inside voice said “it’s a gift and a curse.”
I can very easily at the drop of a hat identify with someone’s emotions to the point where I physically feel the pain of what they are going through. My mom has always called me a drama queen as a joke because my emotions can seem so dramatic at times. I can easily switch gears when I have heard or witnessed something that would have an emotional affect on a person. Whether that be to sadness, happiness, joy, stress, pain, worry, etc…. I can easily put myself right there with them. I can instantly identify.
There are times when having this “gift” really is a blessing. It enables me to understand where a person is coming from, what their heart is saying and feeling, and walk with them through their circumstances, whatever that may be.
But there are times when it feels like a curse. Times when I feel weary from so easily identifying with what someone else is going through. Times I wish I didn’t think about them so much, because it pains my heart to do so. Times I wish I could just walk away without giving them or their situation a second thought. Times I have felt physically drained and I think “this isn’t my battle, this isn’t my problem, this isn’t my life….” There are times it has definately been unwanted.
I have often wished I could be calloused, just to escape it. Even still, these are the times when frienships are either created or solidified… through the thick.
But then I remember that my gift of empathy is a supernatural gift, given for a reason. I am that person that will sit with you while you cry, for as long as you cry, and cry with you so you don’t feel so alone. I will be angry for you, offer to go to bat for you because I can so easily sense what you feel, and I’m quick to honor that. I will rejoice with you during your happiest of times and take delight in your achievements, in your milestones, during your most joyous of occasions. It’s these times that empathy is such a blessing and can be a joy to be able to be fully aware and fully present.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
This is something God has equipped me with. I would do well to remember that and use that for HIS glory.