Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unless Life Gives You Water & Sugar, Your Lemonade Is Gonna Suck.

A fb friend just posted:
I get so tired of people telling me "you just need a positive attitude" when I'm sick and can't do something... "UNLESS LIFE GIVES YOU WATER AND SUGAR, YOUR LEMONADE IS GONNA SUCK."

Or in the words of Job, "What miserable comforters you are!"

Are those "positive attitude" people wrong? Probably not.

Is it what my fb friend needed to hear? Evidently not.

Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

I come from a self-proclaimed "family of sorrow", an identity which I do not claim for myself or my own nuclear family, so I fight tooth and nail against wallowing.

But not against comforting. Not against being a friend.

A friend we'll call "Joe" recently shared with a few friends that he's struggling with something emotionally. Having recently been in a similar battle myself, I can empathize and I understand that it is not an overnight process. But many of his friends are giving him advice that he already knows but just isn't up for emotionally yet.

There is a time to comfort and a time to challenge.

Challenge will not be accepted if the timing is wrong.

I'm convinced that no amount of exhorting will help Joe because he already wants what all this good and even biblical advice would accomplish. He's just waiting for his emotions to catch up. The rest of us need to be patient.

Sometimes what a person needs is sympathy, not a step-by-step plan to pick themselves up by their bootstraps or to change their perspective. Giving advice in that moment may make you seem like an unsympathetic know-it-all.

Maybe my "lemonade" fb friend just needs someone to say, "I'm so sorry. How frustrating! I'm praying for healing for you. Can I come help with housework or bring your family a meal?"

Maybe Joe needs someone to say, "This must be so hard for you. Is there anything I can do to help?"
Maybe Joe just needs someone to listen instead of talk.

Have you ever received good advice but it wasn't what you needed?

Have you ever given good advice that was received badly because they just weren't ready to hear it?

How did that go?

If Life gives you lemons... keep it away from open wounds...

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4