Before my favorite aunt Geegee ever got involved in someone else’s problem, she’d try to ask herself two simple questions, “Is this my pig? And is this my pig farm?” And if she found someone trying to pass on a big ol’ porker of a problem that they should be carrying themselves, Geegee would quip, “It ain’t my pig and it ain’t my pig farm!”
Aunt Geegee’s homespun wisdom is brilliant. (And she never even lived on a farm!) When it comes to other people’s problems, are you stuck knee-deep in pig slurry? Do you have no peace because you’re carrying someone else’s pig? Are you worried, anxious or fearful for what the other person might think of you when you don’t lovingly receive their even-toed ungulate? Do you find yourself wasting hours of your precious time standing next to someone’s trough feeding THEIR PIG? Do your spouse, children or friends ever comment how much time you spend over yonder on other people’s pig farm? Over the years, I’ve made plenty of mistakes carrying other people’s pigs that they best be carrying for themselves. I’ve been drawn into battles, fights and taken sides in conflicts I had no business getting involved in. Just like those little piggly-wiggly’s, problems can smell real bad. Here’s a few signs that someone else is trying to get you to carry a pig they should be carrying on their own…
All Pigs Are Big Pigs
For the immature person unwilling to carry their own pig, all pigs are big pigs. They don’t distinguish between piglets, adolescent pigs, and those huge sow porkers. Every problem is a big problem. This kind of person is known for lots of drama surrounded by mucho trauma. We are called to carry “each other’s burdens,” but only those that are too much for one to carry on their own. The person looking to unload their pig on you tends to see all pigs as big pigs.
Every Pig is a 911 Pig
If your cell phone could be weighed by the sheer number of urgent 911 messages left by someone trying to pass their pig on you, how much would it weigh? Granted, some problems are urgent and needed to be responded to right away, but you still need to ask yourself, “Is this a true emergency?” Remember, pigs don’t run fast and unless someone is bleeding to death, every problem doesn’t need an urgent response. Give it the 24 hour rule and see if the pig has taken a sedative.
This Pig Squeals Too Much
If the sheer magnitude and urgency of the problem doesn’t move you to slide over to your neighbor’s mud bath, a sure sign that someone is trying to push their pig on you is whining, complaining, emotional manipulation, and self-pity the size of a pregnant sow. Don’t fall for it. Problems are meant to grow us, change us and create deeper character. A squealing pig creates a lot of noise and hysteria, but little good. Let the person carry their own pigskin for their own good.
The next time you get an urgent email, phone call or someone showing up with a pig in their arms just waiting for you to come to their rescue, take a minute to slow down. Breathe. Pray. Ask God whether you should get involved or not. Your most natural instinct may be to jump right in. Whatever comes most natural, you just may need to do the opposite. Who has the true need here? The other person or is it your need to help by being the hero?
Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Ask God if you should get involved. He may say ‘Yes’ or He may say ‘No.’ Ask Him if you’d be getting in the way? Give Him room to move. (Remember, Jesus turned plenty of people away…)
Then ask yourself, “Is this my pig? And is this my pig farm?” When you stop pickin’s up other people’s stinkin’ pigs, you just might find a little more peace and a bit more sleep. Sometimes, the best way to truly help someone is to let them carry their own pig. Even if it stinks.
Questions: Name a time when you carried someone else’s pig at the cost of your peace and their personal growth? How can we discern when and how to best help others?
I’d love your comments and questions.