Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"There's a Monkey In My Coffee Cup!"

Today, I stumbled on this picture on the right. I thought it was really cute - the things people can do with that stuff! But, I thought it rightly portrayed a certain problem that I've encountered during this hard period of my life. When people attempt to offer empathy, offer that "cup of coffee" for consolation, I've often times been shocked to find a monkey inside. No! I am not calling anyone a primate. I'm talking about attitude. Instead of being serious, sometimes people feel as though they need to joke around
in order to make the person feel better. Make light of life, trying desperately to steer things away from the more serious matters that they might be facing.

When you're hurting, and you're down - talking about the weather, or your latest shopping trip really isn't going to cheer you up. It's monkey talk. It's tip-toeing around issues so that people don't have to really deal with your problems. It's a way for the other person to stay safe, by hiding behind frivolous conversation so they don't have to get their hands dirty. Even when meant kindly, pretending is the worst way to come alongside of a hurting person.

Lately I've been reading an amazing book. It's written by an inspiring and godly couple - "Captivating", by John and Stasi Eldridge. In this one particular chapter, John writes:

"Stasi and I had gathered with the men and women in our ministry who do the mens and womens retreats. The mens team wanted to offer our counsel and support and prayer to the womens team for their upcoming event. It was a chance for the women - and each of them are really, really amazing women, to just sort of open their hearts to us and process how things were going.
Our gathering moved rather quickly from the external kinds of issues - how long the sessions should be and logistical stuff like that - to the the internal world of the women's team themselves.
As we began to talk more intimately, something started coming over me. Just a sense, an inexplicable but strong impression:
back off.
That's what I felt. No one said it, nothing they were doing implied it, it wasn't a voice in my head. Just a very strong impression. I wasn't sure where it was coming from, but this strong reluctance, this sense of maybe we shouldn't press further into this, this feeling of just "back off" was growing in me, or over me, every moment that we moved more deeply into their lives.
With every step we took toward their hearts, I felt a stronger impression
to end the conversation, withdraw, bail out.

. . . Back off. "leave her alone" or "you don't really want to go there, she'll be too much for you" is something Satan has set against every woman from the day of her birth. It's the emotional and spiritual equivalent of leaving a little girl by the side of the road to die."

Isn't this powerful? And isn't it true? As selfish human beings, when we are confronted with another person's problem, we automatically default to the mindset of "it's not my deal! If I get too deep into this, it's going to be too much for me . . . "

Back off. Leave her alone. You don't really want to go there, she'll be too much for you.

Our minds are tricky. We don't think we're being selfish. Sometimes our reasoning is, "if we just make light conversation, it will make this person feel better. It will relieve them from their hurt" When in reality, this is just an excuse that we use to draw ourselves away from any transmittable pain.

The point of this post, is to encourage you. When you see a hurting person, instead of bounding up to them with a huge smile and funny stories to tell, take the time to humbly ask, "how are you doing?" Don't be afraid to go there. Don't be afraid to listen and respond to their hurt.

I myself have been greatly blessed by those I have invested time in. Those I have gone to in all seriousness, to help them out of their funk. I have truly seen God work during those times when the silliness is gone, and sincerity takes its place. Of course there is a time for fun and laughter . . . But the fun and laughter should never be a shield that we hold up, resulting from our "back off" mindsets. It's easy to ignore problems, and run the other way. But sometimes, it's more appropriate to offer coffee - without the monkey.

~Lauren Lee

Way too much coffee. But if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever. ~David Letterman

Be a coffee-drinking individual - espresso yourself! ~Author Unknown

I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon. ~Ronald Reagan


Lexi said...

AMEN! wonderfully written post!

So true and thanks so much for sharing with us today!


miss m said...

Love that photo. :D

Andrea said...

THANK YOU for your blog! I randomly found it through a girl who commented on my blog, and I LOVE it! It is so great to find someone who is passionately in love with the Lord :) Keep up the GREAT work!!

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