Today I rose with a number of things volleying for my attention. They were fleeting thoughts of people I know who are experiencing life, being challenged. Those whom I wonder about: why they do the things they do. And thoughts of the trip I’m about to take, what to pack.
I wrote my thoughts down. As I looked back over them: “Imagine that, all of that from me, my life, my day.” In the middle of my pondering I heard: “God has us all on his heart.” Sobering it was: “Did I really have the right to have these thoughts? Am I treading on God’s territory, taking his job?”
In reflecting on each person, or situation, it started to become clearer: Is what I’m thinking the right thoughts? Or are they the wrong thoughts? What is a wrong thought? I was thinking of their circumstances, but what about it? Am I focused on their problems, or solutions?
I must admit their problems had my attention: “They’re going through such a rough time. What can I do? Will money solve their problem? Have I done enough?”
Are these thoughts going to help them rise above their mountains? Or am I adding more stumbling blocks through thoughts?
Have you ever felt this way? Instead of helping a person to go beyond the problems you slip into the boat with them, and add your hopeless thoughts to theirs without even realizing it.
Would this please God? I thought, “But, God, they’re not condemning, judgmental thoughts. It’s not tearing them down.”
“Lord, where is all of this going? What is the lesson for me today? What can I do to change the path they’re on? Nothing. Can I fix their problem? No. Is there a purpose to what they are going through? Yes!
How do I know? I too was there, going through challenges, setbacks, struggles, feeling hopeless. What happened? The light from heaven shone in my heart and filled me with a presence and power to overcome step-by-step. They too have a race to run, and victory has already been established.
What we learn in our trials strengthen us in preparation to help others. So if you have someone going through, here are some tips to guide you as you encourage them:
1. Don’t give up on them
2. If speechless. . . Ask clarifying questions
4. Words of encouragement
5. Pray for their strength
Keep the faith