Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't Be A Fixer

"He laughed at me," my six year old daughter cried as she approached me from the pool. I asked what happened. "I jumped in the pool backwards, and the lifeguard said not to do it again. Then he said 'You got in trouble!' and laughed at me."

Trying to lessen the blow of the boy's words I said, "Well, who cares what he says?" She looked at me with big soulful eyes, trying not to cry and said, "I do!" I pulled her close and told her how sorry I was for his hurtful words.

I messed up. I was trying to negate the hurt she was feeling, trying to make her feel better. What she needed was for me to validate her hurt. Tell her, yes, that words do hurt and it's okay to feel pain. I messed up, but hopefully I got on the right track after she was so articulate in conveying how she felt.

I was reminded of the time when I was talking with a friend before I gave my testimony about my childhood at church. "I'm afraid I'm going to cry," I said. "I cried when I read it," was the friend's response. No assurances I wouldn't cry. No platitudes that I'd be fine or everything would be okay. Just validating me that if I cried, there was in fact reason to cry.

Jesus provides a wonderful example of validation in the story of Lazarus' death found in John 11. As Jesus and his disciples headed to Judea, He told them that Lazarus had died, and that Jesus was going to raise him from the dead. When they arrived and Jesus saw how upset Mary and the family were over Lazarus death, He didn't say, "Stop crying! I'm going to raise him from the dead." He didn't say, "Everything will be okay, wait and see!" No, the Bible tells us Jesus wept. Jesus wept! That is the picture of validating their feelings! He wept with them, even knowing that Lazarus would be raised in a moment.

Is someone telling you how upset they are today? Why not validate their feelings instead of trying to fix them? Sometimes, we don't want someone to fix us. We just want someone to listen to us, to validate us, and maybe, even, to weep with us. Be that someone, like Jesus, today.

Chatty Kelly


2Thinks said...

This is very good advice. Perhaps the best advice. I know someone who needs to read this, but perhaps I need to take this advice also. I know I do.


Camille Sauvager said...

I like what you said here and the way you said it, Kelly. Too true.
My first thought when someone tells me something that hurt them is "I must FIX this!" I still have to work on that. It's a lot easier to grab a big stick and go stomping off in search of the offender.

Heart2Heart said...


WOW what a powerful post and one I needed to read more than once. Fixer here in the works!

Wanted to wish you a great weekend!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

HisPrincess said...

Timely reminder Kelly. Often the best thing we can do is validate someone's feelings, rather than trying to make those feeling go away.

Good to be back and reading your encouraging blog again!

Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Amen! We should rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning!

And we always teach our cherubs to return a "persecution" or hurt with a blessing. :) Not always easy...but His love works that way!

And I LOVE how these verses are together in scripture!

Romans 12:14-16
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another.

Love you friend! :) Good word!

Melanie said...

Yeah...sometimes when I cry, I just want someone to cry with me. Not to tell me all those things that I know are true. But just to feel the overwhelming sadness with me. Just a bit of it. Because there really is reason to cry.

You are a really great mom, Kelly.

Christy said...

Hey, I just found your site and love it. You respond to your day just like I do and its very fresh and unique.

I have two young daughters and I'm often doing the same things. Its like in life when you don't realize how important lessons were until it was too late. I don't know why life is like, "Oh, if I only knew this when." I count now as my blessing that we can blog and find each other who are in the same boat in life.

God bless you and yours and keep you ever learning and teaching too.