I imagine we all have that streak in us that wants to see the people in our lives succeed. I want to believe that we all in our individual right want to see our loved ones win, or at least take the necessary steps to get help where such instances as alcohol, physical or emotional abuse, depression, erratic behaviour, unnecessary spending and any such instances take root.
I have a friend who over time, I’ve come to realise struggles with a really morbid view of the world. She feels life is out to get her and shuts down completely when challenges come her way. This very intuitive, incredibly gifted gem has gone through some things – as have most of us – but has let those things cut at her core such what when things go south, she is quite literally out of commission for weeks on end. In some instances she will isolate herself, leaving those concerned for her worrying what’s going and how they can help. Naturally everyone is out trying to figure life out so after a time, they carry on, pushing her into a deeper spiralling into a deeper form of depression and state of rejection.
After a season of walking with her and listening to her ongoing woes, I got to asking myself whether she in actual fact does want to get help to manage her emotions, thinking and overall condition. I know that she is a believer in Christ as she openly speaks of her faith in GOD. I know that she reads the WORD of GOD as quoting scriptures comes naturally to her. But I can’t help but wonder if she believes that life can be brighter for her, notwithstanding the pain she has endured.
How do you, or have you responded to similar circumstances, when anything you say or do – even interceding for your loved one – doesn’t seem to be making a difference? I thought about this today, taking into account all the aunts I know in abusive situations, friends and cousins who are mad at the world on account of self-defeating behaviours, or struggling with something less controllable like depression or living in an abusive situation:
1. Pray. As someone who has morphed into somewhat of an intercessor by GOD’s grace, I know that even the smallest or shortest word of PRAYER makes a difference. The spiritual atmosphere registers that a prayer has been sent up and GOD steps in and takes care of the rest. Sounds rather simplistic I know, but I am a recipient of the grace that has come from others interceding for me since I was a little girl. I know that prayer works because I am a product of prayers sent up to the heavens by those concerned for me in my darkest seasons.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:13-16
“He said, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” – Exodus 34:9
…and GOD answered Moses’ prayer, going with them and forgiving the sins of the Israelites in spite of their many sins.
“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.” – Job 42:10
GOD sees and hears your prayers, and is sure to answer those sent up on behalf of those in need, in as much as He will answer your personal prayers concerning something completely unrelated.
2. Be available when the person you are concerned for comes knocking. It’s been such a life changing process to be able to be vulnerable and the person on the other side of the phone is present, just to hear me out. Understand that if the person withdraws, it’s unlikely that they aren’t interested in your counsel. It’s quite likely however, that they don’t want to trouble you with their woes – again – are feeling shamed, don’t know how to ask for help, or are struggling to confront or find solutions to their issues.
We are all wired differently and therefore respond differently to painful stimuli. If they come to you looking for someone to talk to, its likely they have considered you as the person who may be able to help, or were led of GOD because you have what they need to help. Avail yourself. You may carry the breakthrough they’ve been crying for.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – 1 Corinthians 12.26
3. Ask open-ended questions. Just because someone tells you that they are okay, it doesn’t mean that they are. If there’s anything I am learning on my journey in ministry, and having gone through some trying times myself, it's that speaking up isn’t the easiest of things to do. A lot of us fear embarrassment, judgment, having to open ourselves up to a line of questions we aren’t even sure we are ready to answer and so on.
What is sure is this – if you ask GOD to show you who should be speaking to beyond surface level, or if you pay attention to verbal cues like tantrums or non-verbal cues like increased alcohol intake, uncontrollable weeping or abrupt silence – there could very well be something going on there. Asking questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ will pave way for dialogue. With patience and subtle prodding, hurting people will share. You can offer help when you know what’s going on and what the other party is doing to work through their situation.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” – Hebrews 10:24
There are more people struggling with one thing or another than not, and a time will come when the shoe may very well be on the other foot. As women of faith, it’s important to be in tune with our intuition, not only as it relates to our personal journey but those of others. We can’ t solve every problem out there, but we can care enough to be conscious that the other party may be in need of support, doing our part to help help them or point them in the right direction if the situation is beyond our scope of knowledge.