Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
I'm a pretty good listener, I would venture to say. And I am happy to listen to my friends and family who have hurting hearts, hard days or happy news. But sometimes instead of amazing words of wisdom and encouragement I sit there blank, speechless, without clever thoughts or inspiring verse.
Whether it's in crisis or in celebration, our words, our answers are incredibly important. Also, knowing that it's OK not to have the answers is just as important.
It's easy to want to put a band-aid answer on most situations or try to come up with a magical word phrase formula that will rock their world. Trying to enlighten their mind, to change their thinking is not my job. Trying to fix it for them, I cannot do. I wish I could but I can't.
You know, I wish that there was rolodex of answers and fixes that I could flip through labeled:
"large life changes", "relationship issues", "self esteem" "anxiety" etc. and find the right words to say.
But there isn't.
And what sounds good and is true for one person in the midst of trouble will not always be the same for another. Everyone's problems are different. Hurt hurts- that much is simple. But it can be a very complex thing, hurt. And it's complexities are far beyond my pensive mind.
So when I hear things like:
What should I do, I can't pay this bill?!
Can you believe she said that to me?
My marriage relationship is in trouble.
I just don't know what to do. I'm overwhelmed.
They aren't "oops, I washed a pen in the laundry, how do I un-blue everything?" type of problems.
I realize the fix, wherever it is, is very far beyond me.
I cannot conjur up change.
I cannot heal.
I cannot manifest money or restoration with even the wisest and most experienced words.
As someone who has issues with vulnerability, (which I am trying to work on, and am asking God to change almost daily) I often do not ask these questions of others. I find it hard to reach out.
I just mull. I mull over and over in my mind, keeping these questions or hurts to myself, wanting to find some glimmer of "fix" in my constant thinking, reasoning and rationalizing. I'd probably feel a lot lighter if I just got the words out, if I let myself be listened to. I'd probably be a lot freer if I just realized that no amount of thinking will fix it. My method isn't working either.
So how do we fix?
This is what we do:
This is what we do:
We brokenly collapse in front of our God asking for answers and for help.
We humbly lay down our minds at his feet realizing we cannot "think this one out".
We angrily question and throw a tantrum in His presence, hoping for release from the pain.
We let go of the possibility that there may be no explanations and no why's.
Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
While we are all in each other's lives to help and love, we cannot be the one's to offer the ultimate resolution. We cannot find our liberation and healing in another's company, friendship, words and advice. Our own experiences can help others but they don't fix.
This is a humbling thing for me to realize but an oh-so-freeing fact.
This is beyond me.
(by 'this' I mean, everything)
So while I pray over the words I will minister to someone, and hope that my experiences will be used to help another, I realize that only my God is Healer, Restorer, Rewarder, Comforter, and His words, living and true, are the only words that have the power to do ANYTHING in a hurting loved one's life.
This is where the cloud with a light bulb appears above my head.
'Pressure is off. But I must be ready.
There isn't a list of things I can do to be better at this.
It's as simple as being in the Bible and allowing my heart to be saturated so that my mind is being renewed. A renewed mind is a remarkable help in time of need. A soul in constant contact with it's God is a comfort in conflict.
When a loved one calls with an ailing heart or a clouded head, what I do offer, will be more of my God and less of me when I am fresh out of my own words and full of His.
A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver