focus on listening instead of fixing

Why we need to stop fixing and start listening

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We’re human. I think sometimes we forget that. So, let me say it again: We’re human. And humans go through difficult things; we wrestle and we struggle. We experience broken relationships, lost loved ones, trauma, addiction, sickness and fear.

In general, we don’t know how to support one another well as we move through difficult things. I know that I can think of so many times where I have been speechless when a friend is going through something difficult; where I simply don’t know what to say and so I create distance.

And on the other side, I can think of so many times where people rushed into my difficulty to try and fix me or to fill the silence, when what I really needed the most was for someone to sit with me and listen; where I simply needed someone to be with me.

Have you ever been there? You know the place. It’s where your heart feels in pain, but people keep sending you frozen casseroles, staying busy all around you, trying to give you strategies to overcome the hurt you’re feeling. Meanwhile, all you are longing for, truly longing for, is their intentional presence here with you.

It reminds me of Jesus with the woman who had been caught in adultery. She is in the epitome of struggle and brokenness. And all these people are casting judgement toward her ready to punish her for her sin—they are trying to fix her, so that she may be pure again. And Jesus goes and he bends in the sand with her. He got to her level; he restored her soul by being with her and then, he spoke the truth in love.

Isn’t that such a powerful model to follow? He removed all the distance. He established connection first. Then, he spoke truth that forgave her and set her free.

Here’s what I am convinced of: I am convinced that what we need is less fixing and more listening. We need less advice-giving and more being with people. We need less stone throwing and more kneeling in the sand. Because isn’t that what we’re all after? Relationships, feeling connected, and finding people we can call home.

We don’t need more perfect lives, perfect feeds and perfect stories. We need more people who are willing to get real with where they are and who will head into the mess to sit with people and listen. So the next time you see a friend struggling in difficulty, let’s make a commitment.

A commitment to embrace the uncomfortable and awkward. A commitment to ask people what they really need. A commitment to not give up or give distance at the hardest points. And a commitment to do whatever we can to walk with people through the light and the dark.

Because I think what our life is measured by is not our successes or even our followings, but truly measured by how we walk with and love people.

Prospective candidates for officership gather in Southern California

Prospective candidates for officership gather in Southern California

The Western Territory’s prospective candidates for Salvation Army officership

The Salvation Army in the Caribbean ready for Hurricane Maria as Irma response continues

The Salvation Army in the Caribbean ready for Hurricane Maria as Irma response continues

Category 5-rated Hurricane Maria is passing through a swathe of Caribbean

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