Are You a Listener or Fixer?
One of my many faults is that I tend to want to fix your problem no matter what it may be. If you come to me to talk about the problem, I feel the need to fix it. I sincerely mean well but maybe the help you are looking for is someone to just listen.
I learned a valuable lessons years ago. Our son, Chad, decided that he no longer wanted to manage an antique mall. He felt that becoming a policeman or a fireman was his calling. We pushed as hard as we could towards the fireman career. Getting shot at was way to dangerous. We did not know at the time that some of the fire stations in Memphis had ten foot chain link fences with barbed wire around them to protect the fireman from the neighborhood.
Chad chose to become a fireman. He went through all the necessary training and was assigned a station. During his first week he called me early one morning to discuss a call he was on that morning. The unit was called out to a head-on car wreck. An old man in one of the vehicles had gone through the wind shield and was laying on the street. I ask about the air bag. Chad replied, “Dad he went through the air bag and the wind shield. I was doing compressions on the man and it felt like compressing jello!” The man was actually already dead but they compress until the ambulance arrives.
My mind immediately went to “fix” mode but I had no idea what the experience called for so I just ask a few questions for clarification and listened to him. One the questions was, “Son are you ok?” He said he was and we closed the call. I felt like I failed him because I did not “fix’ the problem.
Shortly after I ran into one of his fellow fireman who had been on the job for several years. I related the experience to him. His comment was that I did good. Why? “We don’t need fixing! We just need someone to listen! We prefer not to take it home with us so you did right by Chad.”
What a lesson for a fixer who thought he needed to talk to fix the problem. I still have the urge to “fix” but that lesson has stayed with for fifteen years. What the Bible has to say:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “ So encourage each other and build each other up,”
Proverbs 17:28 - “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
James 1:19 - “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.”
Proverbs 18:2 - “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”
Without understanding it at that time I encouraged Chad by just listening. When others approach us, listen first and speak second! Make sure they want your advice before you give it..
God is really the only true fixer! Let them know that you will pray for them!
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