Posts Tagged ‘#problemsolving’

Anyone out there a fixer?

When something is broken, you want to jump in and repair it? When you hear of a need, you want to meet it? When a problem is presented, you immediately want to find a solution?

People like that drive me nuts! Probably because I am one of those people.

A few months back, I had a problem which I presented to my hubby. When I started, he interrupted and asked,

do you want me to help find a solution or just listen?

I just wanted him to listen …

so I poured out the story for him, but I was mentally distracted, for his question caused me to question the help I offer to my friends, family … to him. Because, like him, I am a fixer, and fixers fix … listening isn’t really part of our natural response system.

Last week I fixed something in our home that had been irritating to me for years. This fix took maybe a total of five minutes. There is a frame with various pictures of our family in it. The picture of our son was too narrow for the slot it was in, so there was white emptiness on either side of it. The other day I took it off the wall, cut a piece of black card stock to fit the opening, attached the picture in the center and hung it back up. Now there is no glaring white lines to pull my eye to it as I walk by … problem solved.

But …

those white lines … they drew my eye to that picture, like a magnet, reminding me of the imperfect fit of the picture to the opening … but also drawing my eye to the image of my son, reminding me to pray for him.

This story of the imperfect picture that reminded me to pray and the one of hubby asking if I wanted a solution of to just listen … they niggle at my ‘fixer’ instincts. They remind me that sometimes we need to not just see a problem to fix, but also a purpose in the problem … a learning in the midst of the problem … a creativity born out of the broken.

We live in a world full of problems, brokenness, heartaches, struggles … and we cannot fix them all … but we can always listen, we can always pray.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Beth Moore

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As a child I loved it when my mom would hand me what was once a tidy ball of yarn that had gotten loose in her knitting bag or scattered across the floor. She would ask me if I could untangle it for her. Or my grandmother would do the same with a necklace, whose chain had knots.

I would eagerly take on these problems, these messes and straighten out what was knotted. It was a game, a challenge for me where I usually had success and I loved it.

Problem solving has become my life. I have used this skill in my profession, helping students learn in unique and creative ways. In the running of a home, utilizing form and function. In childrearing … in so many ways. In helping in so many situations and circumstances.

Give me a problem, a puzzle, a challenge, a mystery. Invite me into your struggle, your situation, your sorrow. Let me untangle that knotted mess of yarn that is that part of our life.

What I am not good at is acknowledging when I cannot solve the problem, when the mess is tangled beyond my problem-solving capabilities.

Recently I ran into a snag … problems that I simply could not untangle. This failure of ability (for it was not a failure of desire to solve the puzzles) was getting to me. I looked at it from every side, tried to see if moving things would help. Yet, I was quickly faced with the reality that all problem solvers hate to face …

the tangled mess was out of my ability to straighten it out.

This self-acknowledgement wore on me, for that which I love to do and do well, I was powerless to accomplish.

Besides, I am a follower of Christ, a believer in the power of Christ in me … I mean doesn’t Matthew 7:7 say “ask and you will receive” … and Mark 11:24 says, “whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you”?

Of course I am taking those one-liners out of the context of the Word, as a whole … rubbing my Bible-Genie making my one wish. But, what I ask is so desired, so good, so sincere …

Then I saw an image. It was the one at the top of this page. It was the mess of the first screen that got me … as soon as I saw it, my eyes did not see a pile of letters, but a pile of yarn, twisted and knotted … a problem waiting to be solved.

That was the problem I was dealing with.

Then the reminder … the God-response … not the I love you, for I simply do not have the capacity to not know that God loves me, or others. It was the two words,

I know

He knows.

He knows the knotted, tangled, ugly messes of our human lives. He knows that situations that break our hearts, that mess with our confidence, that even make us question if we are still in his will.

He knows.

“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10

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