Consider Where You’re Standing
Happy Hump Day!
A few weeks ago our pastor said something in church that really ‘clicked’ with me. This is what he said…
“The farther you are from a problem, the simpler the solution appears. The closer you are to a problem, the more complex it appears.”
I keep thinking on this statement and how true it is, no matter what situation I apply it to. Politics. Relationship advice. Parenting tips.
I know sometimes it is easy for me, personally, to look at somebody who is struggling and from my distance think, “Oh – you should just do _______ and then everything will be okay.”
Several years ago, I went through a really difficult season and I got advice from a lot of people and some of the advice I got was pretty bad, not because the people doling it out were bad, but because they weren’t close enough to my problem to see how complex the solution truly was. Because of that particular season of life, I’m not one to hand out a lot of unsolicited advice to my friends when they walk through serious problems, because I assume – in most cases – I’m not close enough to the heart of the problem to offer a sound solution. I can offer encouragement and a listening hear, but I’m slow to offer a “You should ______.”
I feel like this principle is never more clearly displayed than with parenting. Before I had kids, I walked around talking like a parenting-how-to-book. It was so easy to see a kid acting out in Target and say, “Oh my gosh! That mom needs to take that child to the car and spank him and then remind him of the family rules and the Bible verse of the day.” I laughed just typing that out. Parenting is the most complicated gig I’ve ever had and now that I’m 2 kids in and smack dab in the middle of this tornado called Motherhood, I’m surrounded by murky water, ya’ll. When I’m at the heart of the problem, I’m often left with more questions than answers. Like with parenting…I always wonder, “Am I too strict? Am I letting too much slide? Should I make them eat the asparagus or else send them to bed hungry or should I throw some mac and cheese on their tray and know their bellies will be full and call it a day?” (My mom always told me when it comes to motherhood, pick and choose your battles…she just never told me that somedays everything would have potential to be a battle.)
I believe there are some situations where when you provide yourself some distance from the problem, you gain clarity, which is why sometimes outside perspective is so wonderful. People farther away from the issue can clearly see the solution, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek help and guidance in life. In fact, in most cases we should seek it.
The whole point of this post is just to encourage you to think before you quickly tell someone you love what they ‘should‘ do next time you’re presented with the opportunity to hand out your words of wisdom. By all means, offer guidance and insight – that’s what friends are for and it is such a blessing. But present your advice with grace and humility by recognizing that you may not be close enough to the heart of the problem to posses the best possible solution. Or perhaps you do hold the answer key, but remember that you’re farther away so your heart isn’t at the core of the issue. What may be a simple solution from where you’re standing (i.e. “Just go to marriage counseling” or “Just file for divorce” or “Just quit your job and find a new one”), may be an excruciating decision for the person in the middle of the problem.
I just felt led to share this on the blog. It’s been a great reminder for me the last couple of weeks so I thought it may be valuable to someone on here too.
In other news, I got in my first official run for my half marathon training plan! I’m not finished creating my training plan yet, but I’m hoping to wrap that up today and share it here on the blog soon.
Whoop Whoop! 5 miles with Ob with a few hills thrown in at a 7:58 pace.
It felt good and I’m grateful for that!