Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pinpointing the problem

Something that's struck me in my Christian walk is the way that issues in people's lives can remain unresolved because the core of their issues are not addressed and people only deal with the symptoms of their issues or just gloss over them altogether.

I've battled with relentless anxiety and depression my entire life. I've been a Christian involved with church over the past ten years and I've spoken to many different people about my problems in the hope to resolve them. No doubt they've meant well but it's been a deeply frustrating time for me to say the least as nothing has seemed to work.

I've been told that I need to listen to more Christian music, that I need to confess forgiveness more often, that I need to pray more often, that I need to focus more on others etc etc and though all of these solutions have been good ideas within themselves, they've never addressed the root of what's been happening with me and have just left me frustrated and often discouraged.

It was only once I collapsed on account of burnout in the middle of last year that I was finally able to get insight into the core issue causing depression and anxiety in my life - thanks to the insight of the Holy Spirit. Now that those issues are finally starting to heal and unwind, all of those other things that people have been telling me to do have suddenly become much easier to work out in my life. What I was being told initially was not wrong by any means but it didn't address the core issue which just left me in a place of despondency and frustration.

One thing this has taught me is to listen to what people are saying when they are talking to you about their problems and not immediately try to jump in with a solution as if you give them the wrong one, regardless of how well you mean, it's just going to frustrate them. The best way to help is to pray for insight from the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you to pinpoint the darkness in their lives because He's the one with the best knowledge of the situation. It's also possible that you can't help them right then and there because God may have other plans. If that's the case, the best you can do is just listen to them as best as you can and don't try and shove any solutions down their throat. Most of the time people just want someone to listen to them to show that they care.

I can't help but wonder how many people have walked away from Christianity in disgust because they were unable to find any healing for the issues in their lives and though the Christian people they've met were able to pepper them with well-meaning ideas, nothing really spoke to the core issues in their lives and so walked away from the one thing that could truly uncover their problems and help them to heal.

For this reason, if someone comes to me for counsel I try very hard not to just ram solutions down their throats and try to actually listen to what they are saying and I'll pray for insight and will share a word of knowledge if I receive it. The fact is they know their hearts and themselves better than I do, and so does God so I need to be able to listen to them and the insight of the Holy Spirit if I'm to have any hope in pinpointing anything in their lives. It's only once issues are fully faced and pinpointed that healing can begin.

In conclusion - when people are coming to you for counsel - listen and pray. Don't jump in gung-ho with a solution as often you can just frustrate them. Listen - pray - then listen some more. Both to them - and God.

I hope this is of some help to someone. All the best.

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