I was reading the March 2007 issue of Real Simple today. (Yes, I’m a little behind in my subscription.) There was an article about how to reduce stress, and it talked about how some people are receivers and others are transmitters. The author’s contention was that some people distribute their emotions to others while other people are receptors to those that surround them. It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I found myself squarely in the camp of the receptor. Any one who readily admits that they hate talking about themselves can never qualify for the tranmitter category.
The author suggested that receptors often take on the feelings of others and therefore increase their stress (again, not a surprise to people who know me.) The article further stated that one way to avoid this was to avoid the people who cause us stress. Through some carefully crafted techniques, people could minimize the amount of time that they committed to people who took more than they received. As someone who struggles with boundaries, this all sounded well and good to me.
However, one of the many things that I love about Christ is that He turned conventional wisdom on its head. While the Real Simple author’s suggestions sounded great, I’m not sure they were Biblical. God’s Word suggests that the problems start long before we categorize ourselves as a trasmitter or receiver. The problems start when we begin relying on our own ability to “love our neighbor as ourself” or to “turn the other cheek.” God did not intend for us to receive other’s problems on our own. We’re to use His strength; we’re just the vessels through which its poured. As Glenn Olds stated, “It is through dying to concern for self that we are born to new life with God and others; in such dying and rebirth, we find that life is lent to be spent; and in such spending of what we are lent, we find there is an infinite supply.”
In other words, despite Real Simple’s suggestions, we don’t need to worry about how to deal with a dearth of capacity when it comes to God’s goodness. We need to start worrying about how we are going to “manage” the overflow with which He fill our hearts.