I think it is natural for us to want to discuss things with our friends. We bare our hearts and our deepest secrets, and then say four words “what do you think?” We have just opened the floor, given permission to people outside of our problem to give their opinions and we hear it from all angles, things you never even thought of, motives assigned to your (mate, friend), motives that they may have never thought of!
We used to sing a song written by Joe South that said,
“If I could be you, if you could be me for just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside each other’s mind,
If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego
I believe you’d be surprised to see that you’ve been blind,
Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes”
That about says it all! Unless a person has gone through exactly the same thing you are going through there is no real way they can identify with it, and even if they have faced the same type problem, the people involved are going to have different personalities or points of view and there is no way it is going to be an exact match. All you will get is more confused, because everyone seems so sure that their solution is the right one and suddenly you are turning in circles not knowing which end is up! I wrote a note to a dear friend of mine recently who was facing a horrific problem. My words were “There’s no way to say “I know how you feel”, empty words, all empty. The only thing that actually counts are “I’m praying for you”, IF I actually am praying, and I am. Nothing else will do. Sick to my stomach”.
When you tell someone you “know how they feel” remember, unless you have walked in their shoes, that is not possible. When you are in trouble or have a problem, don’t go to every one of your friends and ask their advice, pick one person that you know is a praying person, maybe someone outside of your immediate circle because they will have no prejudice concerning the people involved. You also run the risk of being repeated over and over again, the more people you tell the more it gets told, even when you say “Please don’t tell” (maybe especially if you say that) because everyone has a “best friend” someone they trust completely, who in turn has a best friend and on it goes.
In crisis, the first step is to take your burden to the Lord and leave it there! Look in the Bible, go to the concordance, search for a key word that best describes how you feel and see what scriptures are listed, then look them up! When we go through periods of deep distress, it is wise, in fact it is biblical, not to surround ourselves with people, no matter how well meaning they might be.
Solitude is essential. Silence is necessary.
Words from others will, as I already said, distract. Stay in the Lord’s presence and see His mind during this painful time. In the soul-searching of our lives, we are to stay quiet so we can hear Him say all that He wants to say to us in our hearts!
In my dad’s last few months his hearing became so bad that if I wanted to say something to him I would have to turn down the TV or radio and make everyone get quiet because the background noise kept him from being able to hear what I was saying. It is the background noises in our life that make God’s voice obscure, so quiet that we think He is not speaking at all. Sometimes He is just telling us something that we don’t want to hear, but we need to be able to make that choice with a clear knowledge of what He is saying to us.
Psalm 5:11 “Let all who take refuge in You be glad!”
Get alone with the Lord and see what He has to say about your situation, write down what you are hearing and read it out loud to yourself, He knows what you are facing and He can help. To find out how Jesus is able to identify with us, read the book of Hebrews. God loves you and, even though I don’t know WHO you are, I have the love of the Lord for you that is why I am here!