Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How Can I Speak Less, to Say More?

When fixing is hurting, not helping 

Fixer Upper

I’m a fixer. I like to fix things and I like to fix people. My immediate inclination is to listen for a preliminary trigger statement, then jump on the opportunity to show my wisdom. At home, this tactic steers conversations and interactions into hostility, and many times demonstrates my inability to listen.

Fixing is what many refer to as rescuing. In Transactional Analysis, it’s known as a destructive form of helping.

Proverbs 18:13
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

Matthew 11:15
“He who has ears to hear, let him listen.” 

I have learned that the quickest way to push people away is to give advice where none is asked. Listening to understand and not to impulsively speak to fix is a challenge that has only become easier with practice and time.

The Art of Brokenness 

While we are all fundamentally broken, I’ve found the best way to treat people is not to see them as broken and needing to be fixed by my own will. The approach to viewing people as broken feeds into devaluing their abilities and, more importantly, God's abilities.
For a period of time in my life, I was in care ministry visiting the hurt and dying in hospital/hospices. The biggest lesson I took away is that being intentionally present with someone hurting is the best gift; to let my presence speak for itself. I'd come away wondering if I said the right things or if it was enough. It was only after I left this ministry that I realized it wasn't about me—it was all about Jesus. This is how Jesus uses me, beyond my abilities and fears. Then what did I do?   I simply showed up.

What Can I Say?

What are helpful tactics when someone is hurting? 

Here is a link to one of my favorite articles on this topic: Ten supportive things I'm glad somebody said to me.


Take the Cup of Connections Challenge and reach out to someone who may need a lifeline.