Relationships and Problem Solving

Problems. WE ALL HAVE THEM. Yesterday we looked at how we handle the emotions that surface in our problems. We found effectively dealing with emotions to be the first step in solving problems in a healthy manner. The second step in facing, addressing, and solving problems is to incorporate people. The “right” people are key.

Let me start today with a very meaningful and real quote to ponder on, not just for today, but for a lifetime. “Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgement.” ~Seneca (5 BC-65 AD)

A main human tendency we all have when a significant and painful problem occurs with kids, in marriage, in finances, in family relationships,….you fill in the blank….is to withdraw. We pull our head into a shell like a turtle, or go into a “cave!” Spending a little time in a “cave” in order to deal with and examine our emotions is not a bad thing but staying there can be extremely harmful!!!! Relationships with the “right people” can be SIGNIFICANT in solving problems. I love the scripture found in Ecclesiastes 4:10-12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

WE were created for relationship. It is God’s design but too often when we have problems, staying in our shell too long or never coming out can create even bigger problems. Having a connection with people who know us well and who we trust enough to allow them on the “inside” can be a life bridge and life blood when problems occur, and they will occur. It is important to remember those relationships are key when it is time to celebrate and encourage in the “winning times” as well. Staying to ourselves and trying to “go it alone” is not a virtue, it is a weakness, a sign of pride and self-sufficiency! NO matter your track record on reaching out to relationships for help, it is never too late to start.

There are TWO IMPORTANT elements to involving relationships in solving problems: connection and reality!

Connection provides fuel for life…. a “blanket of love, comfort, support, empathy and encouragement.” Someone to walk along beside you and “keep you warm” as scripture states. If problems are seen as “cold,” then we need “warmth” during the cold times!!!! It is a well documented fact that people who allow safe people in their life during storms have a better quality of life and a better ability to solve major problems, or at least face them!

We can all get caught in the trap of thinking our problem is unique and no one has ever faced exactly what we face. But the truth of the matter is that there is only a finite number of problems in the world. Chances are you know someone or can find someone who can help you “navigate” the same waters they crossed before you! That’s connection. Finding commonalities with others who help us weather the storms of life and we can, in turn, do the same for others. Dr. John Townsend uses the analogy of “snowflakes.” Even though all are unique and different, they can all be used to make a “snowman!” I love that!!!!

How does reality fit into relationships? We will pick up with the second element of relationships tomorrow…. REALITY! REALITY! KEY, VERY KEY……TO PROBLEM SOLVING……. How does the right advice, wisdom, which is not necessarily knowledge, experience, expertise and competence fit? Are we looking at what is happening in real time?

Too often we underestimate the power of quality relationships and utilizing them in the right way, and how God can use them to turn a life or a problem around! I have heard it said, “No road is long with the right company!”

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