Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
I recently attended a workshop here at the church put on by our very own Kristin Chaney and the lovely Katelyn Watson called “How To Hear”. While I learned so many things about myself, listening, question-asking, relationships, and society, there was one thing that really stuck out to me and may be something that strikes some of you as well:
“Sometimes people need a journey-er, not a fixer.”
You see, a combination of my personality, birth order (oldest of six), and my current stage in life of being a parent to three young children, has lead me to a place where it is not only natural but almost expected of me to be the fixer in many of my day to day interactions.
“Mom, I can’t find my other shoe”
“We haven’t had dinner”
“We are out of milk for the baby”
“A volunteer is feeling under the weather and we are down a Sunday school teacher”
These are all minor daily issues that need fixing and it has become second nature to quickly find a solution and put that plan into action to get the job done. And while that works for a lot of these scenarios, you can quickly get into a mindset of working with the intent to “fix” even when that is not necessarily what is needed.
So this idea of being someone who comes alongside someone in their journey vs. being the problem solver is not only unnatural, its can be uncomfortable and down right hard at times.
Example, the other day my husband came home from work and he had a pretty rough day. Just a day full of difficult conversations with challenging people. I sat quietly and listened to him tell me about his whole day and fought every urge to interrupt or ask questions so that I could gather more information and then make a plan to help. I just listened to the whole story. And when he was finished I asked “would you like some help solving this problem or was it more helpful to you just process your day out loud?” And after looking at me in a little bit of shock, he simply said “No. I think just saying it all out loud was really helpful. Thank you.” And that was it. While I was left feeling a little helpless and like I really didn’t do anything, I actually did exactly what he needed in that moment by just being a listener and following along on the journey. It was one of the more simple interactions I had last week but it was such an encouragement.
It also made me stop and think, if this is how I have been listening to others in relationships, how have I been hearing and listening to the Lord? Am I truly listening and doing what is needed or am I just doing what I THINK he wants? And how many others are doing the same thing?
I am in no way an expert and unfortunately I do not even have my own answers all figured out yet. I am just taking this life one step at a time with everyone else. But from one work in progress to another, I want to encourage each of you to take the time to listen with intent. Whether it be listening to the Lord through prayer and devotions or just actively listening in a conversation with friends. Try to find a time this weekend to be what someone else needs instead of what is easy for us or what we THINK they need. I have a feeling our relationships will be much more rich and fulfilling if we join our friends on their journey instead of waiting for them at the end with what we believe is the right answer. At least I hope it is. I’ll let you know how it goes!