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Wife Fail! :) Lesson Learned

I attend Celebrate Recovery every Thursday night. It's a Christ centered 12 step recovery program. It's for anyone who has a "hurt, habit or hang up" that they need help overcoming. It's a tool to help people grow to be more like Jesus.

One aspect of the program is called "share group". Basically, each participant gets an opportunity to share whatever is on their heart, without being interrupted, in a completely safe environment.

Confession: I used to really dislike share group. Because suddenly when it's my turn my mind goes blank and I can barely form a coherent sentence. But I have participated because I trust the process and I assumed that at some point it would "click" and I would "get it" and be glad I went.

Well, I think the day has come.

The other day Michael started to tell me a story. It was about something that had hurt his feelings and was bothering him.

He didn't even get finished before I said something to the effect of "that shouldn't hurt your feelings".

He immediately stopped talking.

In my mind I was helping him see the situation differently so that he would feel better about it. But it was rude. And arrogant. And unhelpful.

I should have just listened silently. Instead of trying to fix or help, I should have just listened. Because the benefit of any advice I could have given would not have done for him what just letting him talk it out and process it would have done.

People need that. People need to be heard. People need a safe environment to share what's going on in their hearts and to process it so they can move on. And I'm supposed to be out sharing God's goodness with others and this is one way I can and should be doing that. The Body of Christ should be one big, giant safe place.

But how can I bear anyone else's burdens if I don't listen long and well enough to hear the problem? How can I be sad with people who are sad if I am telling them why they shouldn't be sad? How can I hear their heart if I'm talking?

I eventually got to hear the rest of the story. But it took a while. Because on top of the hurt he was already feeling, now he felt scolded and rebuked for feeling his feelings. Not cool, Hannah, not cool.

I think I've learned my lesson though. I'm not saying I'll never mess up but I intend to be super intentional about it. It is my mission. To listen. Not fix, not help, not criticize, not think up some (not so) sage advice. Just. listen. Intently. And with my whole heart.

Because you deserve it. No matter who you are. No matter what you've done. You deserve it.

James 1:19
Proverbs 18:13
Proverbs 18:2
Proverbs 10:19

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