I like to help people.
Actually I like to fix people.
Alright. I like to boss people around.
OK, OK. I have issues with control and I like to be in charge of mine and everyone else’s life.
Last night at dinner with my dear friend Rita, she repeated some sage advice she has given me many many times before. “When you try to fix situations, you are interrupting God’s work.”. Rita, she never pulls any punches.
So how do you know when you are legitimately helping and when you are hindering God’s work in peoples lives? It’s a slippery slope that many of us have difficulty maneuvering. Maybe you are like me and are action oriented. I despise sitting and waiting. Maybe your helping has moved into an enabling situation and the boundary lines are blurred. Maybe the recipient of your help is smothering and you cannot understand why they do not just do what you have told them. All of these situations can leave you frustrated and even angry. Worse, you can do serious damage to important relationships when you cross the line of helping and begin to, as my friend Rita says, interrupt God’s work. And the reality is none if us want to stop what God is trying to do in others lives, not intentionally anyways.
So here are a couple of suggestions to keep you on the right side of helpfulness.
- If they have not specifically asked for you help, they probably do not want your advice. This is a hard one for helpers (ie controlling manipulators) like myself. Sometimes it is sheer agony to see someone I care about struggle in a situation that I could clearly rescue them from. But when I jump in unasked to rescue them….I am interfering in God’s work. I am asking God to teach me the value of waiting until am asked before I give my thoughts, opinions, suggestions. You get the idea. Becasue in the end, God rescues on a much better level than I.
- People will not change until they are ready to make a change. Save yourself alot of frustration. In all honesty, you are probably not nearly as influential as you think. Most people have to hit rock bottom, get sick of their current situation, or feel the unmistakeable conviction of the Holy Spirit in order to make lasting or effective change. Until that time you can help, but you will only feel a repeated sense of frustration if you try to effect change in someone else. All that help you have been investing? You were actually just interrupting God’s work.
- When you focus on fixing a situation you miss a chance to see God do something beyond what you could ask or imagine. Don’t tell me how long you have been waiting. I could write a book on waiting on God to move. Let’s agree to stand still here together and wait for God to work a miracle. Let’s agree that interrupting His work can ruin the very thing we long for.
The truth is, God usually uses us the most when we try the least. He’s not looking for fixers. He wants lovers. Lovers of Himself and others. and so in all things, I ask Him to slow me down, keep me quiet and wait……After all, praying for God to move in a situation is the greatest help you can offer.