How to Avoid Compassion Fatigue


Poverty. Refugee crisis. Foster care. Homelessness. Natural disasters. Orphan care. Sex trafficking …

The scope of today’s personal and political crises is unprecedented. Everywhere we look, someone is hurting. Every time we turn on the T.V. we are bombarded with stories and images of people around the world who are experiencing deep suffering.

The paralyzing problem of too many needs

21.3 Million Refugees
(over half of whom are under 18)

143 Million Orphans

428,000 Foster Kids

The numbers alone are daunting. Is it even possible to wrap our finite minds around a number like 143 million? So we take foster care classes, bring broken children into our lives, and invite hurting families into our homes. We take meals to the suffering and pray through the lists. And when we learn of a new need or crisis, we jump to get involved.

We should care about these needs. God has commanded us to take the love of Christ where it is needed.

But if we are being honest, our desire to help combined with our insufficiency to fix what breaks our heart can leave us overwhelmed, burned out, and broken. Furthermore, our realization that we can’t fix it all often precedes our guilt which sometimes leads to our conclusion that we can’t make any difference. And then sometimes we are tempted to stop trying.

Not caring is easier, but not caring becomes another crisis in this country called apathy.

3 keys to avoid compassion fatigue

Avoiding compassion fatigue is important for you, and it is important for the person or people God intends for you to impact. So here are 3 quick tips to avoid it–

  1. Be realistic about your limitations. Inadequacy isn’t a sin. It’s a sign that we aren’t God. Find the area(s) of need that you are most interested in spending your time, effort, and energy, and commit to those.
  2. Recognize (and appreciate) the source of your strength.  No person can single-handedly fix the problems plaguing our world today, but God can. We are not the solution to the world’s problems; God is. Our strength is found in Him. Ask Him to protect you from burnout. (Psalm 16:1–Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.)
  3. Refuse to quit. Remember why you were called to care in the first place. Find, evaluate, and cling to your motivation. The motivation to begin should be strong enough to motivate us to continue.

Love ONE

Start by loving ONE. And when you have capacity to love one more, do it. And when you enter a season in life in which you can love yet another, do it again. But start with ONE. One child. One cause. One crisis.
Empowered by ONE all-sufficient Savior. 
Doing nothing isn’t any more of an option than trying to do it all.

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
–Isaiah 40:31

Love ONE.



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