I find that when I have had a hard day with the kids, or had trouble getting the closets organized, or can’t seem to find the matches to the socks, or [insert trite trial or heavy hardship here], the most encouraging thing for me to hear is a little commiserating from a friend.
I feel a mild inclination that this might be a substantial character flaw.
But here’s my reasoning anyway. When I have shared said trial, it is encouraging to know that I’m not the only one and that someone I respect has struggled, even failed, in the same area. However, sometimes after sharing, the response comes, “Oh yeah, I used to have that problem with my unmatched socks, but now I just…”
I find the solution offered usually to be a good one, and even helpful, but if there isn’t sufficient commiseration beforehand, I end up feeling like a loser. This person obviously came up with the solution on their own, why didn’t I?
Or sometimes I know what the solution is, but I’m looking for someone to validate that actually implementing it is a hard thing. For me, this is encouraging. Knowing that someone else had difficulty with the same thing I am having difficulty with gives me hope. It makes me think, “Well, we can get through this together,” or, “She had a really hard time with this and is on the other side of it, I guess it’s not the end of the world.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I am certain that I have done this to other people (that is, forgone commiseration in order to give hasty advice). And to all of you, I say, I’m sorry. Come, let’s commiserate together, with the full knowledge that our hope is in Christ, not unmatched socks.