Sometimes life is just hard. Sometimes for us, and sometimes for other people. We see those people struggling and think about all the times we wish someone was there for us when we felt bad, so we do everything we can to keep that person from feeling the pain we felt. We try to fix their problems for them.
I get wanting to help people. It’s generally a good thing. But, sometimes helping looks different than we think. Most often, if I’m going to someone with a problem, it isn’t because I need them to fix it. And, if they fix it, then I won’t learn it as well (see this post, I’m Such A Mom, if you’re interested in more thoughts on this topic). I’m a smart kid. I know that if something’s really wrong, I need to go to my parents. But, sometimes life just sucks, and I need someone to talk to. Sometimes I go to a friend, or a youth leader, and I just need to talk, or vent. I don’t need them to fix everything for me, I need them to listen. Not every problem is a crises that needs fixing.
Some of my favorite youth leaders have always done a really good job of not fixing things for me. they’ll ask me questions to make me think through things. They’ll listen when I need someone to talk to, but, when they see something they think is important to point out, they talk to me about it. Without pressuring me. They give me space to screw up, and always remind me that they’re there when I need them.
When life is hard we don’t always need answers, or solutions. Sometimes we just need to cry. Just need to vent. Just need to talk. We don’t always need fixes, or people pressuring us to fix things. We need to be reminded that we’re loved, that the people who love us have our backs, and that eventually we’ll learn our way through what’s going on, and we’ll be stronger in the end because of it.
I think what I wrote is valuable and important, but I also think there’s another side to it. Check back on Thursday at 5pm for the second half to this story.