Friday, March 17, 2006

Only Abby Knows My Pain

Have you ever given advice or encouragement you wish you hadn't given? Or at least put more thought into? Giving advice and encouragement comes second nature to me, but there are times I should know better to just keep quiet.

The world is quick to come up with answers, few of them real solutions. I have a hard time not following their lead. Someone has a problem and I immediately -- in all sincerity -- begin to try and help them from easy to hard.

Most people immediately recognize my earnest intentions and accept what is good and let slide what is worthless. There's more common sense out there than we often give credit for. That I deal mostly with Christians, I can think back to grace put to practice many times by friends who have suffered through some of my more tortured recipes for a better and more satisfying life.

The problem is when I get going, either God is fully behind it and it's all good, or I'm forcing it, and it's got all the characteristics of a mess. My own personal solutions usually involve the unHoly Trinity of bad ideas: impractical, irrational, and aBiblical.

You'd think someone of my average intellect would be able to tell by now when God is using me and when I'm straining for answers that aren't there, but I still get derailed by the best of intentions. Sometimes we are simply asked to love someone and we have no other means to assist. When God has called us to be his ambassador, believe it or not, just passing on His love is often the solution. Stepping out like that, however, takes a lot of faith. We're rational, so we look for rational and practical answers, but experience has taught me I'm never so rational or practical on my own in that moment of need.

So I'm striving more discernment. I think that's a good place to start.

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