Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps . . . When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
—1 Peter 2:21–23
The day care centre has been closed, so you have to see to the many demands of your elderly mother throughout the whole day. Or, you now have to take care of Dad because your siblings say it’s “inconvenient” for them to house him. (They seem to have forgotten that Dad is their parent too.)
So now you’re stuck with the tiring task of full-time caregiving during this Circuit Breaker, when you can’t even escape the nonstop chores—and that’s on top of continuing with your usual work and responsibilities.
It doesn’t seem fair. Why should you be stuck with Mum or Dad? Why can’t you be allowed to have a “normal” life like many others do?
If these questions sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. Resentment can arise when we feel that we’re not getting a good deal in life. It’s something that many caregivers face.
According to recent media reports, caregivers have been hit especially hard during this COVID-19 time, when day care facilities are closed and restrictions make it much harder to take care of elderly parents, siblings or children with special needs, or family members who are ill.
Many of us struggle with resentment because we have personal motives, desires, and goals. We may want to achieve a lifelong dream, be recognised, or be treated in a certain way. Many of these motives are not wrong in themselves, but we may not even be aware of them until they are exposed and tested by the stress of caregiving.
When the duty and burden of caring for others make it hard for us to achieve these personal desires and goals, a victim mindset can result. Victims blame other people for their plight and feel that they deserve better. This can fuel resentment and can lead to a deep-seated bitterness that ultimately affects our faith and walk with God.
How can you free yourself from this mentality? Here’s 4 things to consider:
1. Learn to see your heart as God does
Our brokenness was the starting place for the Holy Spirit to begin the work of transformation. Learn to see life from a new perspective—a biblical one. For example, Scripture teaches us to take responsibility for our lives and stop blaming God and others for family problems, bumpy friendships, and job hassles.
2. Trust the Bible on what it says about you
Don’t hang your identity on something as unpredictable as other people’s opinions or your own works. God accepted us as we are, so we don’t have to prove anything.
3. Learn to thank God
Thank God for accepting you as you are, warts and all; for redeeming you so that He can transform you to be like His Son; and for extending boundless grace to you. Gratitude helps to switch our focus from ourselves to others. It frees us to serve, and not to prove ourselves or earn the approval of others or God.
4. Learn to give grace
In moments of irritation or anger, choose to make a place for grace. When a parent blames you for not doing more or a sibling slips out of an agreement to care for mum, choose kind words—or simply smile, stay silent, and lift up a prayer to God. Like Jesus, you can lay down your right to retaliate and refute.
We can try to hide our resentment behind good works and a patient face; we can begin to justify our bitterness and blame everyone else for our woes; and we can seek to stand in the centre of the universe and scream, “What about me?!”
Or, we can lay down our rights at the foot of the cross, remembering that the call to caregiving is a call to a divine appointment with God—an appointment that will ultimately transform us and redeem others.
Father, give me the power to forgive those who have offended me, and help me to relinquish any expectation that they must perform to my standards in return for my forgiveness.