Have you ever tried to talk someone through something, blindly? Just like a blind person has to rely on other senses, talking someone through something you can’t see also requires the same. A blind person relies more on their sense of smell, their sense of touch, and their sense of hearing than a seeing person does. Talking someone through something you can’t see, but you know what the outcome should be, and you understand how to get there, it’s very similar. To be helpful, you have to rely more on your patience and understanding for sure. But, most importantly is your ability to communicate in a way they can relate to and follow easily, as well as your willingness to listen and demonstrate graciousness and consideration.
Last night I told my son to clean a mess he has been neglecting: the hay that falls out of our bunny’s cage. He didn’t want to, and in his frustration he did something that caused him to hurt himself. Nothing serious, but it would have been avoided had he not reacted with frustration. So, then, that started a chain reaction of his getting more frustrated, which caused him to push my frustrated button. But, instead of giving in to it, I let him just continue to react, because I wanted my husband to see what I sometimes deal with when he isn’t around. After a few minutes of loud growls, a little stomping, and vocal complaints, my husband snuck upstairs to observe, then interact with him. In his frustration, he neglected to follow some of my instructions, and also wisdom gained from past experience, and he clogged the vacuum, which gave fuel to more frustration. Since his dad was outside of the situation, he was able to handle it much calmer than I was. The situation was resolved, the mess cleaned up (for the most part), and he and I talked things out and worked through it without arguing. Peace is such a beautiful thing!
It’s difficult to communicate in a way that is received well and respectfully, heard accurately, and is easy to follow. Like the old example of explaining how to make a pb and j sandwich to someone who has never made one. It’s a funny, realistic, eye-opening way to see how people follow what you are saying. Sometimes it’s not how you say it but how someone hears it. It takes trial and error.
Recently, I was working with a loved one trying to honestly help them with something and make it as easy as possible, blindly over the phone. I had the picture in my head and the knowledge of what should have been the outcome, but something entirely unexpected happened instead. I realize it was time to step back and wait for them to be ready to try again. Working frustrated does nothing to help any situation.
I have this picture of God doing this with us. He knows the direction we need to go in, and He is communicating through various methods: His Word, Godly people, to our spirit as we seek Him, even through nonbelievers. Are we listening? I can see Him encouraging us, gently giving us instructions, excitedly explaining what to do, where to go, what to say…. And I see Him asking “Why did you stop? You are so close to hitting the mark! You are almost an overcomer. Don’t give up! I can see what the outcome will be, just follow the sound of My voice, just do as I instruct. You can do this! I have full confidence in You! You are so close…..”
What areas do you see where your own communication skills can be honed? What areas can you improve your listening?
Most importantly: have you faltered in following after God? He is our Help in times of frustration and trouble.