30 Apr Orange Conference Live 2020 – Big Lessons for this Enneagram 2!
Wrecked in the Best Way
During the 2nd main session of Orange Conference Live, Jon Williams shared his story about his struggle with depression. Listening to him share his journey left me in a puddle of tears in my family room. The song that followed (a mash-up of You Will Be Found and Bridge Over Troubled Water) did not help!
Actually, it was all incredibly helpful (just not in regard to my tissue consumption and in these days of COVID-19… well, you get it). I am so thankful to Jon Williams for being so transparent, so vulnerable, and so open about his journey. I feel that mental health issues still seem to carry so much shame and stigma. I hate that! It feels like we’ve moved the needle a bit, but I think we have a long way to go. Awareness and hearing stories like Jon’s help. I have personal experience with anxiety and depression. As someone who has struggled (still struggles) with it, and as someone who has watched it grip family members and rob their joy and peace.
I am grateful that God is using Jon Williams to help move the needle. I am so thankful he shared, particularly as I think about how difficult that must have been. His message spoke to my heart in a big way. And it helped me ask much needed questions about how I handle my own mental health and how I handle others when they are struggling.
Enneagram 2 – The Helper (The Struggle is Real!)
I am a Type 2 on the Enneagram. That means I like to help. I get a lot of energy from being able to help someone – especially if it means I can help them get resolution for something, or take care of something for them. As such, if I can’t find resolution, I can feel frustrated or “help-less.” I have learned that I tend to define what helping looks like as “fixing” someone’s issue. As such, I am discouraged often because it turns out – I can’t solve everyone’s problems. 😉
I’ve heard the messages about Job in the Bible and how his friends just sat with him in his pain. I’ve heard about how sometimes that is all someone needs, but I never truly understood how that worked. I tend to be more like Job’s friends later in the story who give the unsolicited advice and end up hurting more than helping! UGH!
In the opening session of OC20, Ryan Leak talked about pain. He shared that somehow we have become obsessed with turning pain into a positive. Being in ministry makes us feel the pressure of being an expert on everything when we might be an expert on very little. We have shifted our job description from being spiritual guides to being all-knowing life coaches. This grabbed my Enneagram 2 heart immediately! My need to help and my role in ministry combine to make me feel like I am winning when I can solve someone’s problem or help them turn something negative into something positive.
But, Ryan went on to say this. The reality about pain is this – REVOLUTIONS ARE BORN OUT OF PAIN! What is at risk in numbing our pain and the pain of others is the progress we could make if we sat with our pain, and theirs.
I don’t really like this truth, but I know it is right. I want to help others feel better. So… I always want to have an answer or bring hope in the form of a solution. Just do this. Focus on this. Try this! I was convicted as I listened to Ryan unpack the verses from Lamentations in the Bible that remind us that sometimes we don’t have all the answers. He shared this idea that we live in a world that is searching for answers. But he suggests that maybe instead of trying to conjure up answers right away, we should sit with the questions a bit. And maybe think about why they are being asked in the first place.
Kristin Ivy came into the picture a bit later and continued the conversation about lamenting. She expanded this idea of asking why even further. You can watch Ryan Leak and Kristin Ivy’s messages HERE.
Time to Change
Both of these messages had me evaluating my helper nature once again. I began to think about what it would be like to respond to someone in pain with a statement like “I’m sorry this is happening to you.” and leave it at that. What? No suggestions for a fix? No offer to create a distraction or plan for how to move forward? I am not sure that will work for me. I’ve tried it before and it feels awful. For me that is.
But this morning in Session 2, Jon Williams shared about his friend Mike and how he came to see him in his pain and just sat with him. He brought no solutions, No suggestions. And no to-do list of things that would make it better. Instead, he was just with him. Later, he spoke of his wife and how she navigates times when he is struggling. She says things like “I’m here.” “I see you.” “I’m sorry you are hurting.” Mike and Jon’s wife, respond to Jon in such a way that they offer him the gift of their full presence. And in doing so, they offer what Jon described as the closest thing he had every experienced to Jesus on earth.
Jon’s story was affirmation of what I was hearing the night before in session 1. Maybe helping,…being the hands and feet of Jesus to someone in pain, doesn’t always look the way I thought. Maybe in my own pain, and as I help others in pain, I can rest. I can stop trying to solve the problem and instead just be there. In it. Not avoiding pain, or trying to take it away – but sitting in it. Lamenting if you will.
It’s not going to be easy, but now more than ever, as so many are hurting, I have to at least give it a try. I think I’ll be developing a lot of scar tissue as I bite my tongue in moments of wanting to give an answer, but instead offer just my presence. My hope is that as I learn to do this, I’ll leave room for God to bring comfort. And in a healing process (designed by Him, not me!), that maybe REVOLUTION can be born out of the pain. Beauty from ashes! It’s God’s specialty.