Life at the Level of Our Transformation

God never expects us to live past our level of development.  He never shames us for where we are at, but fully understands the why of where we are at.  He gently, wisely and competently joins us to help us grow in our ability to live life well.


My stomach tightened as I heard of the reactions of my friend’s  ‘support people’.   She has been undergoing significant life challenges and has made some poor reactive choices which has only served to escalate problems,


One is giving her lectures of ‘what is the right thing to do’.

One is exuding non-verbal exasperation and impatience.

One is volunteering to step in and take over aspects of her life in order to ‘be helpful’.

One is giving ultimatums as to how it needs to be different because she does not want to be an enabler.

One is frustrated at the others who are ‘pouring money on the situation’ because it is only a ‘Band-Aid approach’.


All are frustrated with my friend’s instability and choices!   The support she is receiving is characterized by judgment, advice without full knowledge, impatience, criticism…  She feels more shame than loving support.

I wish it were possible to come to her defense, bringing about a greater level of compassion and insights as to how to truly join her in supportive ways!


A colorblind person will never be able to do well at interior design, picking out colors.  No matter how many times you simply state you want the teal blue rather than the bright, their handicap will make it hard for them to comply.

Regardless of how urgent it is to escape danger, a toddler will not be able to run fast on his developing legs even if you scream clearly the urgent need to run.

A person with cataracts will struggle with night driving regardless of being told to be careful or told when to turn.


It only makes sense that we cannot expect and require a person to live beyond their level of development, transformation or handicap.  Instead they need others to join them where they are at and help them with the challenge at hand.

But it is not always so easy to discern. Especially when they appear ‘grown up’ on the outside.  And often our own sense of discomfort and urgency gets in the way.  We want them to do better for our own level of comfort.

My friend’s poor choices have come from her lacking level of maturity and heightened emotional desperation.  She is in need of having others non-reactively join her, understand her desperation and inability to come up with wise choices.  She is in need of safe people knowing how to join her in ways that enable her to get back to calm and think wisely as she makes decisions.  She is in need of  ‘some Band Aids’ to help her out of the desperation.  But that will not be enough.  She is in need of someone joining her in ways that help her grow in her ability to live life well.

As I took a deep breath and considered the position of each support person, I was aware of how each one is significantly impacted by the life choices of my friend.  Their lives have become more complicated.   Financial issues have encroached along with time constraints.  Life has become hard for them by the ripple affect of my friend’s reactiveness.    Their capacities are being stretched to a breaking point.

As I reflected on my reactions to the situation, my own frustration with the ‘support people’ came into focus.   Each can only offer to her what they have.  Out of the capacity they have.  They have reasons why they react as they do and cannot be expected to live past their own levels of transformation.  They too need others to join them with patience and care.

My God!  Really!  How incredible that You do not get exasperated with us, whether we are living out of desperation or are the ‘non-supportive support people’!   You are ‘non-shaming-ly ‘supportive of us at the level of our transformation. You desire to join us in ways to help each of us continue to grow in our abilities to live life well!

No little thing!  You are remarkable!  And I want to grow in this remarkable life stance of love!


  1. Dave on February 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    So good. Thanks for sharing. Reminds me of Job’s friends, and the book In Over our Heads by Robert Kegan.

    • Maribeth Poole on February 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Dave. Thank you for taking time to jot me your encouraging note! I have not heard of the book- and am curious to heck it out. I hope you are heading into a week with many God sightings!

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