When we back away, offer solutions or try to feel what the person feels the thing that can be accomplished is rearranged behavior. This doesn’t get to the interior world or move someone closer to God.
I’m more likely to retreat. The reason is two-fold. Learning to keep peace, leave a difficult or uncomfortable situation as a child is still a battle I fight as an adult. As a result, when I feel confused or like I may not be able to contribute in a positive way I back away. So this has become a habit that I need to break.
All three of these things, retreating, advising, and empathizing are attempts to stay comfortable. True soul care is often uncomfortable. There is tremendous power in having someone stay instead of retreating when I share a painful and shameful experience.
My tendency is to give advice, because that’s often what people ask for with their words. I want to learn to hear what their hearts are asking for- God!
No dependence on the spirit
It will be a mistake as we will then look at our own offerings and experience and try to provide the immediate solution or comfort to the person being care for. We will rely on ourselves instead of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, looking from past happenings for both of us and will restrain us from seeing the potential of what can be achieved under God’s provision.
All of those things come completely from our own soul and experience, and leave no room for the Spirit to move. They use our own knowledge but not supernatural wisdom.
I used to be an “advisor” for many years, although I’ve learned to listen a bit better and become more of an “empathizer” lately. I care deeply about people and want to be a helper to them, and carry a bit of the burden. But ultimately, as I’ve journeyed in soul care, it is truly the best method!
Retreating is a reaction to what I am hearing that makes me want to back away. As Dr Crabb describes it, I want to move or reframe the situation into something I think I can handle. This stops the opportunity for progress toward what the Spirit may want to do as we lean into the problem just the way it is. Advising without sufficient understanding of what is going on in the person’s interior stops the movement of the Spirit and offers short term fixes vs. what the Spirit may want to do in this person’s life. Empathy is ok but it has no vision for what God may be up to in the person’s life. We certainly want to be empathetic to a person’s pain but there needs to be vision beyond the immediate. I am very empathetic and would be the mistake I would most likely make. I think because of the emotional pain I have experienced myself have experience would be why I’d make this mistake most.
All three leave out the power of God’s Spirit. Retreat is backing away from Soul Care. Advising only rearranges the person’s behavior and does address the core problem(s). Empathy isn’t necessarily all bad but once again it doesn’t change anything. It is easy for me to want to give solutions or offer a fix to someone. I guess often through my own experiences I see a similar problem and remember may solution and result.
When we are attempting to provide Soul Care and focus on our tendencies of retreating, advising, and empathizing, we can get lost in our inadequacies instead of exploring our deepest passion, for God. Instead, we should acknowledge our inadequacies through repentance and then wait and listen for the Spirit to speak to us and provide the wisdom to move into another’s soul. I am sure I will make all three of the mistakes listed, but advising may be the one I am more tempted to use in my attempt to do Soul Care. I think what predisposes me to offer advice comes from a fear of not looking foolish. If I made a mistake growing up, I was often met with ridicule or shame.
Retreating will make them think they are unlovable, advising is trying to fix them, empathizing is only the first step and leaves out the solution of allowing God to bring healing. It depends on the person and my energy level. Retreating if I am tired, advising is old behavior and empathizing is the one I would like to do so they will accept me.
Retreat back to our comfort zone. We bring the other person to where we are ‘secure,’ rather than journeying with the person at his/her crossroad with Jesus.
Advise as a “band-aid” solution. Often times, it portray a “expert” posture that we have the answers, when in fact we don’t have a clue how to move forward.
Empathizing to convey a “I understand” stance to the other person, when we aren’t ready to work through our interior world, and understand the other person’s interior world, and what the Spirit is doing in both our lives. Personal emotional responses (grief) is incomparable.
I retreat when I sensed this is going to be a super ‘hot potato” and when I can’t envision how to help the other person. The retreat is driven by fear of being stuck in a ‘sticky’ dependency. It’s a risk I have to take if I desire to involve in Soulcare – “a drowning man holds on to a straw.” Healthy boundaries, and always directing the person to Christ who is able, not me.
Predispose: I have been stalked.
Retreating, advising and empathizing are all common mistakes while attempting to provide soulcare, but none of these methods truly care for the soul of the other person or direct them back to God. Instead, these responses keep the focus on the problem. I am personally the most likely to empathize. I want to make the other person feel good, and I want to resolve the problem by caring for the individual. I feel like it is important to empathize, but it is also important to keep going and to uncover what is really going on in their soul rather than staying in that place of empathy.
Your not relying on Brokenness, Repentance, Abandonment, Confidence to achieve Release, to allow the Holy Sprit to move and keep and accept the realization this is to big for me but what is in me from accepting Christ as my savior is released and will go to work on both of us. Predisposes, I used to rely on life experiences that have helped me see different Journeying Reality’s and I relied on them to piece a soul story together but you can not do this for each person is different and solely unique, you need to Journey into their story, be curious of the red dot, not impose other’s history into someone else’s unique story and place.
When we focus on these three things we are not depending on the Spirit – we are focused on fixing the problem or getting away from it. When I don’t know how to engage – I think I lean towards empathy – because it’s easy. When I am feeling competent, I lean towards advise – giving people the “to-do” list. These are rooted in my own junk – my wanting to help so that I am needed or valued. Or my pride that wants people to think I’m wise.
Retreating just makes a person feel more abandoned and less likely to share their issues with someone. It can cause them to be more self reliant (lost) and less aware of their need for total dependence on God.
Advising is just rearrange behavior based on limited information and partial perspectives. It is outside in help. They need the Holy Spirit to guide them from the inside out. There are no recipes or prescriptions that soul care provides to fix people or problems.
Empathy agrees with the issue, but does nothing more. It’s like patting the back of someone with a paper cut or bullet wound.
In the past, I would say that I tend to retreat when I feel like I can’t help or the hole becomes too deep for me to see the light in the person’s life. I have to be VERY mindful NOT to give advice. Part of my job is to provide resources. I have to realize that most people don’t want advice, they just want a listening ear. Beyond that, they need the Lord. I struggle with that.
I think I am predisposed in that area because “it feels ” like the right thing to do. I want people to feel better, do better and find hope after talking to me. I really need to work to take ‘me’ out of the equation and be a lesser light to guide them to Jesus.