Are You Miss Fix-It?
During my junior year of high school, I got really stressed out. So much so that my parents thought it would be wise for me to see a counselor. That counselor didn't uncover some deep dark secret or a hidden wound from my childhood. She helped me see that I'd been doing too much listening. Let me explain.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 15. I was so on fire for Him I wanted to show Him to everyone in my small high school. I did that by trying to become the school counselor. I wanted to be the person that everyone came to when they had problems. What's more, I wanted to be the person who found a solution when people were stressed, mad, sad, or depressed.
But I couldn't fix other people's problems. I couldn't mend their relationships, lower their stress, or repair their broken homes. Everybody kept coming to me with their issues, and I couldn't figure out a way to make it all right.
I learned a valuable lesson through all of that—it's not my job to fix things.
As women, we seem made to intervene. We love to show compassion and come up with solutions. But when we feel like the problems of the whole world are ours to solve, we can end up feeling stressed, tired, and frustrated ourselves.
Here are some key biblical principles to remember when you see problems in others' lives that you can't fix:
1. God can work in the lives of others.
God is able to change hearts (1 Samuel 10:9), reconcile relationships (2 Corinthians 5:18), and change circumstances. He is able to create changes that we cannot. You may not be able to fix the challenges your friends and family members are facing. But He is more than able!
2. He is the perfect counselor.
Isaiah 9:6 describes Jesus and says, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
John 14:26 says, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
You may not be able to give the advice that's needed when people around you are struggling, but God can. He wants us to come to Him with our problems. That's why Philippians 4:6 urges, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
When your friends come to you with problems too big for you to handle, you can point them to God, their wonderful counselor. Try saying something like, "I'm not sure what to say in this situation, but God promises to be our Mighty Counselor. Let's talk to Him together about this." And then pray right then and there with your friend who is hurting. This lets you off the hook of having to know the exact right thing to say and will unleash God's power to intervene.
3. See prayer as important ministry.
First Samuel 12:23 says, "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."
Sometimes we see prayer as a small thing we can do for our friends. We throw around the phrase "I'll pray for you" when we really mean "I'm thinking of you" or "I am sorry you are going through a tough time." But the Bible teaches that prayer is a HUGE thing! When you tell the people around you that you're praying for them, you're not saying, "I don't know how to help you," instead you're saying, "I can do something really huge to help your situation by talking to God on your behalf." Instead of trying to fix everyone's problems yourself, take them to God. It's no small thing!
4. Take note of whom you are responsible for.
Ultimately, you are only responsible for yourself. You can't make the people around you make different choices, turn to God for solutions, or even accept good advice. I personally find myself in big trouble when I start thinking that the happiness of others is up to me. When your friends and family members come to you with a problem, pray for them, point them toward God's truth, and then make a mental note that you're not responsible for their choices or feelings.
I think it's great to be there for people in need. I love to be around people who are good listeners and wise advisors. But be cautious about trying to fix what's broken in the lives around you. That job has already been filled.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).