Not my circus
September 28 – Your Circus, Your Monkeys
4:271 – Your Circus, Your Monkeys

#faithbites #faithjourney circus


If you know me, you know I like to help others. I’m willing to do just about anything for anyone. Sometimes though, I get frustrated when people ask me to do things they should be doing. Not that they need help, but they should do it. Like when my youngest asks me to take her clothes to the laundry room. Or someone asks me to send an email instead of them. Again, we aren’t talking about help, we are talking about shifting responsibility. We’ve all heard the old saying, “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”. When they aren’t your monkeys, you can’t do it for others or they won’t learn and take responsibility. We would be enabling them if we always did it for them. Just to be crystal clear. there is a difference between helping some out and running their circus.

Today’s Questions: How do you say no but still be kind? What can you do when someone’s monkeys are trying to jump on you?

  • Galatians 6:5 – For each will have to bear his own load.
  • Ezra 10:4 – Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.

The key scripture today is our Ezra verse. It is clear that you have a task and need to be strong and get it done. At the same time, we are not abandoning you. We will help you, guide, you and support you. All in all, we all have to carry our load. Another point of clarification: the load we carry may not look equal but is based on our skills, abilities, and gifts. Handing someone back their monkeys and not taking over their circus isn’t being cruel in and of itself. It can be seen as helping them to carry their load. The key is that we are not abandoning them.

I often take on as many monkeys and circuses as I can. PT Barnum would be amazed by monkeys running around. The fact is, it isn’t healthy for me, or for the others whom I’m “helping”. Enabling isn’t helping and only leads to more problems down the road. We need to teach, support, and be with others as they learn monkey wrangling and circus management.

As we close, remember two things. You are not responsible for others circus or monkeys. You are responsible for yourself and for supporting and being kind to others. Sometimes it is hard to not do everything, but it doesn’t do anyone any good in the long run.


Lord Jesus, thank you for helping us set boundaries. You want us to help and support others but at the same time recognize that everyone needs to carry their own load. Help us to know the difference between enabling, supporting, and taking over. We pray that as we learn balance, others will know you, and know why we are doing it. We pray this in your name, Amen.

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