Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Am Not Doing Something Wrong

Some times the words we need to hear just fall out of our own mouths.  This has happened to me at least once and when it did it was so powerful that years later the words still echo in my mind.  Maybe these words are some that you need to hear to as we inch toward the end of a long, grueling winter.

I had a little help, actually.  I was sitting in my counselors office.  I was telling him about my relationship with a couple of ladies from church.  I was struggling with these relationships because I needed them so much.  My health was not good and I was particularly isolated.  These ladies were eager to help me.  They wanted me to come to one of their homes and they wanted to pray for me.  I had tried to tell them that I got sicker when I went to that home.  I had tried to tell them that praying was hard and emotionally draining for me because it seemed to me that God's answer was "not yet" (or maybe never in this lifetime) and that was heartbreaking for me.  But these messages were just not getting through.  I thought that maybe I wasn't very good at communicating.  It's not very logical, I guess, but when people don't get my point I tend to assume it's my fault rather than thinking maybe they just aren't listening.

So my counselor, who understood what I was saying very well, asked me this good question:  "If you could tell them one thing, what would it be?" 

And I answered instinctively, without thinking too much (for once), "Just because I'm having a hard time does not mean that I'm doing something wrong."

Just that.  Just because I am having a hard time does not mean you need to solve my problem.  Just because I'm having a hard time does not mean that I need to solve my problem.  Maybe I don't need to change anything I'm doing.  Maybe it's just a hard time.  Maybe what I need is for you to be with me in the hard time so that I am not struggling alone.

Now I get it.  Sometimes we are the authors of our own suffering.  Sometimes we reap what we sow.  And sometimes even if we didn't cause the situation that's making us suffer we can find ways to get through it better.  And sometimes other people can help us do it.

But sometimes not.  Sometimes we are not responsible for our suffering.  And sometimes we are suffering the very best way we can.  Sometimes we need friends who can be with us in the situation.  friends who can wish that our situation were easier while still accepting us.  Friends who know that we are not doing anything wrong.

And sometimes these are "big ticket" items, but most often they are the "everyday" situations that drag us down and can leave us feeling defeated and alone.

So I will write these words for you and also as a reminder for myself:
  • If you are in a job that you don't enjoy and are having a hard time getting up in the morning and facing another day with those co-workers... does not mean that you are doing something wrong.
  • If you're sweet, funny, smart kids are just about to drive you crazy most of the time, most days.... are not doing something wrong.
  • If your health has crashed and you can't figure out why or how to fix it... are not doing something wrong.
  • If your marriage is in a tough place and you are struggling to feel happy and communicate with your spouse... are not doing something wrong.
  • If depression has settled around you and you can't remember how to smile... are not doing something wrong.
  • If winter keeps pounding you and you've had one cold after another and you are physically and mentally drained... are not doing something wrong.
I'm not a "little orphan Annie" type of optimist.  I'm not going to claim that the sun will come out tomorrow.  I don't know when the sun will come out, although I have found that it usually does eventually.  All I'm saying is that for now, while we're going through those hard times, we don't need to beat ourselves up by trying to figure out how we're messing up.  And when we walk beside a friend who's in a hard time we don't need to try to figure out how to solve the problem.  Most likely we just need to be with them and let them know that they don't have to make it through alone.  It may feel scary to let go of the instinct to try to control and fix the situation.  But it can be a very powerful gift.  To give and receive the grace of knowing that just because you are having a hard time, it does not mean that you are doing anything wrong.


  1. Very good and helpful and wonderful.
    I have a friend who fully believes that people are in control of what goes on in their lives and if they don't like it they can/should just change it. I feel people who say that usually haven't had to deal with very difficult circumstances.

    1. Thanks! It's tempting to believe that if we just do the right stuff we will get the results we want.'s a trap!