Category Archives: Self-Control

NOMB Part I: Letting God Be The Fixer

by Lydia Floren

NOMB (None Of My Business) Part I: Letting God Be The Fixer

Fixing Things

I am a fixer by nature and nurture. By nature, according to the Myers-Briggs personality test I am an Extroverted-Intuiter-Feeler-Perceiver, and ENFP’s like me enjoy solving problems. You could say that my tendency to want to fix things is hardwired in my DNA. By nurture, I grew up the middle child. As such, I was the de facto ambassador in parental negotiations and the swing vote in sibling disputes. My fix-it-ness was reinforced in medical school, where I learned to analyze and diagnose and advise and treat all sorts of ailments. You could say I had a “license to fix.”

But nothing has fine-tuned my fixing skills more than motherhood. As every parent knows, moms are required to fix all kinds of stuff like scrapes, scuffles, bad manners, and hurt feelings. Oh yeah, and spilled milk, throw-up, and crises in the carpool. And—lest we forget–moms are more often than not responsible for fixing dinner.

No wonder it is hard for me to turn off that fixing nature. (And why would I want to? I’m so good at it! But I must—MUST– resist the urge. Fixing other people’s lives is waaaaay out of my job description. It is one thing to help someone solve a problem when asked (such as in my role as physician), or when someone depends on you (as in mothering a small child). But most of the time people don’t need—or want–me to diagnose what is wrong with them and try to correct it. That is almost always the worst thing a person can do. Ask any teenager.

Folks, including teenagers, just want to be loved and accepted. They want to be enjoyed for who they are. They want someone to believe in them and pray for them. People want someone to listen while they talk out their dilemmas so they can come up with their own solutions.

SIGH.

OK, so how does one curb this fixing habit? Here’s a great start: Remind yourself every day that YOU ARE NOT GOD.

Note to self: I am not God.

I am not God. I know this shocks those of you who know me, but I just wanted to get it out there so you could get used to the idea.

Here are a few additional reminders that are helping me curb my fixing habit:

  • I don’t know the big picture. I do not have enough information to even judge what another person’s problems are, much less to solve them. I might see glimpses, but they are just that—flashes of insight. It takes much more information than this to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend a remedy. As we in medicine like to say, “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
  • I don’t have the skills. Another axiom in the practice of medicine is, “Know your limits.” Not only do I lack adequate information, I also lack the ability to “fix” someone else.
  • It is not my job. As much as I might act like it sometimes, God has not asked me to fix anyone. I don’t think He ever would, and it would be beyond me if He did.
    My “fixing” might hurt more than it helps.

What about you? Do you ever have the inclination to try to FIX THINGS?                                            If so, then repeat after me:

“I am not God. I am not God. I am not God.”

Oh, gracious! There I go again. Now I’m trying to fix YOU! Ugh!

note not God-rec

Recent Series: Learning to Fish, Our Problems Are Not The Problem, Four Practical Steps

Four Practical Steps to Overcoming Problems – Overcoming Series, Pt. III

by Lydia Floren

In the Overcoming blog series, we have been talking about—well—overcoming problems. In this process, it helps to:

  • Remember who Jesus is, and what God can do.
  • Accept the truth that problems are a part of life.
  • Jesus has overcome the world. He has conquered the ordered system of evil we live in.

But how do we apply this to our everyday lives?

4 practical steps

Four practical steps to overcoming problems:

1. Face your problem

  • Face the problem honestly. Don’t avoid it, blame someone else, or pretend it isn’t really a problem. In intense emotional reaction to a situation, especially if it seems out of proportion to the facts, may be a clue to you that you have an unidentified issue; examine it with courage.
  • Identify YOUR problem. Ask questions. For example, if you have a problem with a coworker, ask yourself, “What is happening? What is my reaction? What reasons might I be reacting this way? Am I making false assumptions? Generalizing? Why?” Asking questions helps you get to the real problem, which may be that this co-worker triggers something from your past and brings up old pain.
  • Don’t let problems become your identity; keep the problem the problem. For example, say “I experience anger in certain situations” not “I am an angry person.” And don’t generalize about someone else, as in, “They are a no-good-very-bad person because they make me angry.”
  • Be willing to change in your reaction to the problem. Problems are opportunities and avenues for change. Be flexible and teachable. Own your own emotions. Be willing to change.

2. Focus on God by giving thanks.
Giving thanks is a powerful way to return our attention to God, and put our problems in perspective. Give thanks for the following:

  • The situation, and that you are learning from it.
  • Who God is, and his faithfulness to you.
  • What God is showing you about the dilemma you are facing, and what His perspective might be.
  • What God offers you: strength, direction, His presence, and–most important–his promise to work everything to a good end.

3. Follow God’s Leading: ACT

  • ACT: Step forward in the direction you sense God is leading.
    If you really don’t know what to do, wait for clarity, if possible. If a decision is pressing, align your choice with previous ways He has led. Use your best judgment, after reviewing as much information as possible.
  • Sometimes you will misunderstand what He is telling you, and head off course. That’s OK. It happens a lot, actually. It is part of the process of learning to listen and follow. Think of it like this: it is much easier to steer a moving ship than one that is dead in the water. As you go, God will adjust your path and redirect you as needed.

4. Repeat

  • When you face difficulties, it is great to have a solid habit in place for dealing with challenges. Repetition creates habit. As you choose over and over to face, focus, and follow, you will build a pattern of strength and wisdom to address the next problem. Which, after all, is only two weeks away!

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 NASB

Share with us! What practical tips do you use to overcome problems in your life?

Related posts: Learning to Fish, Our Problems Are Not The Problem