2017’s One Big Thing Was Compassion

At the start of last year, Pastor Rod challenged us to let God pick our resolution. So I did. It was so successful that I’m going to do it again.

To recap, here are the questions.

What one thing do you desire from God?
What one thing is missing?
What one thing do I need to let go of?
What one promise do you need to hold onto?

The Four Questions Answered

My desire for deeper relationships? It happened. My circle grew a little, but the ones who were already in it I grew closer to.

What was missing? Compassion. I was doing things mostly from duty, not moved by emotion much of the time. Cultivating compassion was my one big thing and led to fulfilling my desire for deeper relationships.

What did I need to let go of? Non-restorative distractions. Podcasts took up a lot of my time. I cut them down to what I enjoyed or needed to learn.

The promise I need to hold onto? That I was being prepared for something. All through 2016, there was a sense that I was in training. People were saying I was growing fast.

If you read the last post, this past year turned out to be the year of preparation. Preparing for a greater role in Deaf Ministry on the leadership team and teaching people in the class on Sundays.

How Do You Measure Compassion?

When I made the resolution I kept it secret from all but four people. The test is if people who don’t know see it. By July I asked Pastor Jaime if she was noticing anything.

I was getting concerned. She said that compassion is something that works deep inside and takes time to reveal itself.

Nevertheless, since the start of the year, every quarter I was evaluating my compassion levels based on this questionnaire that was done by a study. Yes, I have embraced my nerdiness. It was on a scale of 1 to 7.

At the start of April, I was at 4.76. Better than 50%.

July I was at 5.09, very little growth. Yeah, I was worried.

By the time October arrived it had exploded to 6.19.

The Progression

It started with empathizing and sympathizing. Matthew 9:36 was constantly coming up, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” It became the verse of the year for me. I was mourning the world and the broken people in it.

God was enabling my heart to break easier and more often. So much so that He burned out my emotional reserves. I went from wondering if I was feeling to asking Jaime and Daisy how do I manage while feeling so much.

That was the month where I saw so much brokenness and pain that it cracked the shell of my sociopathic tendencies. I was seeing people as people, feeling for them, and overwhelmed trying to help.

I had to start finding ways to balance out. Relearning how to set boundaries and not be naive. Searching for the balance between mercy and justice, assertiveness and meekness. Still working on that.

Emotional Chart

Looking at the year’s insights, I began tracking what I called emotional events. These were the times I felt enough to write about it in my journal. I tracked by the week and averaged by the month.

That first week…3 emotional events. The last week…33. The all-time high is 39.

The monthly average in January was 5.25. In November it was 30.2.

God took an emotionally stunted individual with sociopathic tendencies and made him blossom with empathic tendencies.

Why Is This Important?

Life’s more vibrant now for one. Secondly, leadership is influence, influence comes from relationships, and no one cares what you think or knows until they know how much you care. I can’t positively impact people if I didn’t identify with and feel for them.

God knows that wasn’t my nature, and to prepare for 2018 He had to supernaturally change my nature. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s next. Try it, prayerfully go through the questions yourself to see what your one big thing is in 2018.

I’m going to do it again.

What are your thoughts about this?

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