So You Care and Want to Help Someone. (consider reading this, and please share)
I can tell you from experience as a pastor and one who deeply cares about helping the hurting and possibly misinformed or misguided individuals that God’s wisdom and timing are essential.
It seems at times, in wanting to help people heal, grow, learn, or succeed, our desires for them often appear greater than their desires.
Teachers see it with students, doctors see it with patients, parents see it with children, and friends see it with friends.
If we care about serving others, we must learn to meet them where they are.
I had to learn this as a pastor, and I still have to remind myself of it today as I minister to many individuals.
I have discovered that sometimes people are ready to change, and sometimes they aren’t. Some people are willing to take one or two baby steps, and others are ready to jump in full force and be transformed.
When we try and force someone to change, it often leaves that person feeling overwhelmed, intimidated, judged, and frustrated. I will spare you some of my failed attempts to help others. I could share how I felt when the persistent dance instructor failed to realize I couldn’t dance.
Many people have no interest in changing and may not even think any change is necessary or possible.
Often others begin to think about change, even plan to make changes, and eventually start taking small steps to change.
The best thing you and I can do to help people is to help facilitate their desired progressive movement one step at a time. And this, of course, is if they are willing to receive what we offer.
I ask questions like, “Would you be interested in me sharing some things I think might be helpful in your desire to be your best?” Or, "Have you considered there might be things available to help you reach your desired goals?”
It’s not up to me to decide what’s best for anyone. If you think about it, it would be pretty disrespectful of me to think I know best how someone else should run their life.
Sure, I may have learned and even practice some things that have changed my life for the better, but one cannot force that on another, and for sure, before they are ready.
Finally, I strive to help them see that change is not bad; it may be difficult but essential to our growth and success.
We need to realize their knowledge base, customs, culture, emotional state, fears, past wins and failures, and a host of other factors that play into where a person is at this time in their life.
So we need to meet people where they are if we want to help them.
That means if a person is only willing to walk instead of run, walk with them and work with them.
Even if your intentions are positive and you are a very loving, well-meaning person, expecting someone to do something they’re not yet equipped to do or desire to do only pushes them away.
So if a person sees the need to change and is willing, start slowly by taking baby steps with them. Let them tell you when they are ready to speed up or move on.
Remember, our desires and priorities fit our life and not everyone else’s.
Even when you care and truly want to help, there will always be those who do not want your help. Don't take it personally.
For those interested, I have written an article entitled 7 Kinds of People it is Hard to Help.