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Sometimes I can be so focused on my own thinking, ideas and ‘the way I like things done’ that I fail to really listen to another person. A recent conversation between my husband & I led to a revelation about the value of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. This is what I learned…

I came home one day to find my husband feeling down and quite sick (we have a recent diagnosis of an illness we now finally know how to treat).

When I see him this way, my instant reaction is to try to ‘fix’ him and give him a ‘pep talk’. The proactive part of my personality comes out and I start being all efficient and putting things (including my husband) in ‘order’.

This makes me feel really good because I have a measure of control over the situation. But when I paused for a moment and looked at his face, I realized that I was going about ‘helping’ him in completely the wrong way…

I stopped what I was doing and asked God to help me help my husband – the right way. As I sat processing with God, He gave me some valuable keys to use whenever I’m in a situation where I have the privilege of helping someone.

  1. Ask “What do YOU need?”

When we ask this question, it helps in 2 ways.

  • Firstly, it gets the person asking for help to really think about what they need. Is it to be heard? Is it to get advice? Is it for encouragement?
  • Secondly, it helps the person being asked for help, to actually do what is being asked. This helps the ‘asker’ to feel honored and truly helped. The ‘askee’ gets to feel valued and as if they contributed well to another person’s life. Win-win.
  1. Ask “How can I help?”
  • This question helps to clarify exactly what the ‘askee’ thinks you can help them with. When you know that, then you can really partner with God to bring that strength of yours to bear in the situation. The fun thing is that in partnering with Heaven like this, you’ll get even more wisdom for the situation that goes beyond just your good ideas.
  • You will also get an insight into how you are perceived by others. This is a wonderful gift because then you can embrace your role within your team/family and be great at it. This leads to…
  1. Be Grateful
  • To the ‘askee’ – for the opportunity to help. Whenever I coach someone I always thank them for the tremendous privilege of being invited to contribute to their life. (Mat 5:42)
  • To God – for His wise help towards you both. The absolute wonder of being able to partner with our good Dad, to bring help to a situation. Wow! (Pro 8:10-11)
  • To yourself – for what you carry & contribute. Celebrating the Truth that God made you to be a unique and valuable contributor to people. (Psa 139:13-14)

Food for thought (and journaling)

  • Where are you trying to help someone on your own terms?
  • How can you really listen to the people around you today?
  • What can it look like to partner with God to bring answers beyond your understanding?
  • Ask God to show you the unique and valuable contribution that you bring. Let Him brag on you.

I would love to hear how you are applying this to your life. Let me know by commenting below…


Lisa van den Berg comes from South Africa and has 10+ years experience in helping people to practically develop their dreams.

She has worked in both business and church sectors and specializes in building systems that support building people. Her ability to be both technical and have a keen sense of customer service enables her to span the gap between the two.

Lisa is the Online Pastor for Heaven in Business, the marketplace ministry arm of Bethel Church, Redding, California.