Are you helping or hurting?
I say this jokingly all the time to my friends and family in various situations when it seems appropriate. Its usually when they speak and it’s not the most beneficial thing to say in that situation and can sometimes make people feel worse – but these are in light, joking manners. This question can be applied to much deeper situations as well. I’m learning to speak only when God tells me to. As I travel down this road with him I realize that other people need help with this as well.
Lately, people have been telling me things that seem encouraging but are so far away from being encouraging. In my life one of three things is usually the case. 1) I already know what the person is telling me; 2) they didn’t actually listen to what I said and respond incorrectly; or 3) it correlates but makes me feel worse.
I went to a session on marriage at my church and shared what I felt that Lord had for me to share. Yes, I am single but I went to learn for the future. So this well meaning church member decided to share her story with me and be “encouraging.”
Public Service Announcement: Not every single person is sad and/or lonely. I’m not sad, I’m single. Just. Single.
This kind, God fearing lady demonstrated reasons 1 and 2. I already know God sees me and hasn’t forgotten me. Also, she was talking as if I was sad or had an issue, neither of which I said or hinted to. I was just expressing what God told me to express.
Afterward, I friend of mine pulled me aside and asked if what she said correlated to what I was saying and I said, “No, not at all.” This reassured me that someone in the group understood what I was saying and that I communicated what I thought I communicated.
This example is the most recent but this has happened with school, ministry efforts, and even my summer traveling.
Yes, sometimes I need help and I’m expressing myself to receive help but you aren’t helping. As I reflect more I realize that in actuality I am more annoyed that you didn’t understand me. Like you now have the wrong impression of me (I know what other people think of me doesn’t matter) or am I annoyed that you didn’t actually listen to me.
I don’t want to be that person I spoke about from above. I want people to feel God when I speak and not just talk to fill the air. I want to be someone who listens to others and listens to the holy spirit in how and when to react.
…..Be slow to speak and quick to listen-James 1:19
God is good y’all