Are you one of those people, who when circumstances become difficult and painful, you think and think until you figure it all out and then you might speak? Maybe you are the opposite, when something is trying on your soul you just have to talk out loud and have someone process with you?
I don’t know if this is true of you, but one of the things I find most difficult is how to process out loud with someone and not get upset. We all know it is wrong to be so vexed that we are out of control in anger, taking out our rage on others. But that is not what I am talking about. I am referring to being passionate about something and wanting to express it.
When I am distressed I need to talk about it. I can get very excited and talk fast, elevating my voice. The person I am talking to can become uncomfortable, as if they fear my passion. If they do not share my views, they feel uncomfortable subscribing to be a part of my social world. This can cause me to fear expression for the simple fact of fearing the loss of friendship.
It is helpful to be able to process out loud and have someone process with me. It helps me to get the emotional heat off the situation and start to think with my intelligent mind. The emotion helps me to know something needs to be addressed, but the emotions are certainly not helpful tools for making wise decisions.
The initial emotional response can cause the other person to feel disquieted or unsafe. Their response might be to hug me and tell me it will all be okay. This is so infuriating because it just negates my processing. They are just afraid of my emotions and want to shut them down, so I receive the hug, say a few pleasantries and walk away with a troubled spirit.
Sometimes, I can find someone who will listen, but they instantly think it is their job to fix me. I was not seeking someone to fix me; I just wanted someone to listen.
It is a great gift to have a friend who will listen. I think some of the most loving ministry anyone has provided for me was to listen. The person who will listen to my rambling mind helps me to clarify what is really bothering me.
It is an unproductive and unhealthy habit to isolate and retreat into my calm faced demeanor when I am really at vexed on the inside. To stay safe I don’t talk, and that makes me sad. It is so difficult in this busy world to find someone who will take the time to listen and help us process to a wise place.
It takes courage to speak up and ask someone to process with us. To a great measure the key to breaking the isolation habit is to choose a wise friend and ask them if they would have the time to listen and help us think through something. It is as Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks our against all sound judgment.”
Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone is to listen. Do you have a wise friend who listens and helps you process? Are you the patient friend who will listen and help someone get the heat of emotion off the circumstances and process to wise thinking?