Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12
Today we look at the other part of being safe and effective in helping others- being effective. Having the right attitude, being safe, is a necessary component of helping others. However, it is not sufficient to simply have the correct attitude. One needs some tools to be effective in the helping process. I have found, and research confirms, that asking questions in a meaningful and sincere manner, is important in the healing process. Coming alongside the person who needs some support is best achieved by interest in learning the space where someone is at that time. It is not our job to take someone where WE think they need to go. It is our job to get to know their journey well enough, and earn the right to involve ourselves with them in that journey. This can take time and patience, and that is at times a sacrifice.
Genuine interest is, in itself, healing. Questions about background, interests, desires, and hopes are important in establishing rapport and credibility. This is not a feigned interest. If it is not genuine, let someone else be the helper.
Questions then can open up the areas of discussion which need to be pursued. A small sample of questions might be- “What would you like to do in this situation?”; “What is stopping you from doing that?”; “What have you tried?” ; “What is your biggest fear?”; “Who do you usually talk to about such things?” Such questions are just an example of ways to get at deeper issues which may be weighing on the person in need.
I believe that the best kid of ability is availability. Showing up and being available is critically important. Questions are the ways to unlock the best resources for the person we are helping. That is, letting them know that they possess the answers to their own problems- we are just facilitating the help.
Warmth is a key in gaining rapport. I define warmth as effective non-verbal communication. We are seen as being warm through our non-verbals, mostly. That is- eye contact, smiles, nodding our head to let people know we are with them, and body posture that is open and welcoming.
I loved the response that God gave to Moses at the burning bush when Moses, so unsure of himself, believed that he was not the right person for the job of leading the Israelites. In the passage from Exodus, above, God essentially told Moses, “You be available, I am able”
That is the approach I like. We just need to be really available, and God can do his work through us.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for giving us the privilege to serve others. You are able as we submit, Amen.