Posts Tagged ‘Confession’

3 Different Challenges and the Types of Responses Needed

When you’re facing a challenge and are ready to talk about it with a trusted friend, it can help to be clear about the kind of challenge you’re facing. Identifying the type of challenge can also help you be clear about the kind of help you’d like.

A classic dilemma in my life has been when I’m dealing with a disappointment and what I really need is just a listening ear. But if I’m not careful, all of a sudden I will get unsolicited advice from a well-intentioned friend who is in problem-solving mode.

I’ve identified at least three different major categories of challenges that we may face and the types of responses that are most likely to be helpful for each. I will deal with each of these in more detail in future posts, but briefly these are:

  1. Situations beyond our control: This can include anything from a major crisis (like the loss of a loved one) to an everyday emotional blow (like getting overlooked for something we really wanted to do). When things happen that we cannot control, oftentimes our emotions are high. Because we may not even know what all we’re feeling or why we’re feeling it, it is not a time for decisions. When we share about these types of situations, we most need someone who will engage with us in active listening mode.
  2. Sin issues: Unfortunately, sin is real and we’re all guilty of it more often than we like to admit. But sins that we hide have a way of compounding, increasing temptation and causing even more harm. When something we have done or something we have failed to do is holding us captive, we can always talk directly with God about it in prayer. Still, talking about it with a fellow Christian can help us unburden our hearts and minds. When we need to share in this way, it is most helpful to have someone who is willing to fully hear our confession and remind us of God’s love and grace.
  3. Practical dilemmas:If a challenge doesn’t fit the other two types above, it may be something for which advice is appropriate. Sometimes the challenges that we face in life are “nuts and bolts” issues that we cannot seem to resolve on our own. Sometimes we’re too close to a project or task and we need a second opinion. When we share these kinds of concerns what we most need is a friend with experience or expertise in that area who can enter problem-solving mode with us.

The more aware we are of the kind of challenge we’re facing, the better we can get the kind of help we need when we share. Hopefully these descriptions can help you direct how and with whom you share about particular challenges.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these other posts about “How Christian Community Helps us Face Challenges.” (Please click the titles below to go to the posts.)

4 Simple Reasons Talking About Hard Stuff Can Enhance Your Life

Essential Traits of a Trustworthy Friend
What an Active Listener Does & Doesn’t Do

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4 Simple Reasons Talking About Hard Stuff Can Enhance Your Life

20131030-194041.jpgIf there’s one thing I’ve gotten a bit of a knack for it is admitting that I don’t have everything all figured out. I’ve become rather at ease identifying and discussing challenges in life.

These challenges can be anything from disheartening health concerns to outright sin. Sometimes challenges we face are beyond our control, and sometimes we bring them on ourselves.

I’ve tried to be honest about some of my challenges here on the blog. They’re part of my resume as someone who seeks to live with integrity and I think it is important to share about them as part of the total package of what it means to live out our faith.

I’m not saying everyone should get a blog to blab out their baggage and angst to the interwebs. But if that’s helpful to you, then go for it.

More importantly though, I believe firmly that we need people in our lives–people that we trust–with whom we share about our challenges.

Here are four reasons I think talking about challenges in life can be of great benefit:

  1. We’re not alone. The more I talk about my challenges, the more I find solidarity with others. While each person’s challenges may be unique to their situation, I find that the reality of hardship is universal.
  2. Sharing feels better. Denial of challenges can eat us up, steal our joy and keep us from experiencing all the fullness of life in Christ Jesus. By contrast, talking about challenges with someone trustworthy can be a great relief.
  3. Talking is a constructive outlet for concerns. Secrets have a way of festering and fueling negative thoughts and behaviors. Talking about challenges with someone trustworthy gives us a safe place to let it out.
  4. The truth sets us free. When we’re saddled under the weight of our challenges it is hard to be fully present with others. Sharing our burdens can free us up to see and respond to needs in the world around us.

This is why I continue to talk about hard things on my blog and in my personal relationships. I hope you too will find strength and hope by sharing about your challenges with someone you trust.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these other posts about “How Christian Community Helps us Face Challenges.” (Please click the titles below to go to the posts.)


Essential Traits of a Trustworthy Friend

3 Different Challenges and the Types of Responses Needed
What an Active Listener Does & Doesn’t Do

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