Dig In

I was recently practicing bass guitar in preparation for playing on my church’s worship team. There was a specific part of one song that I kept having trouble with.  For some reason, I couldn’t rhythmically understand how a series of note were to be played.  I could hear it when I listened to the song, but I couldn’t make it happen when I actually tried to play it.  It was time to dig in!

First, I wrote out the notes I was to play. Then I played those notes several times in the order they were to be played.  This helped me become familiar with what I was supposed to be playing.  Next, I listened to this section of the song at a much slower speed over and over as I counted out what beats the notes fell on.  Every time I figured out what beat a note fell on, I’d write it down so I could move on to the next note without forgetting what I had just learned.  Once I had determined what beats all the notes fell on, I was able to begin playing along with the song at normal speed.  From here I continued to practice what I learned until it became familiar.

It can be like that for problems we struggling with. Sometimes what we need to do is do a deep dive on what we’re struggling with and give focused energy into figuring it out.  This may involve slowing down, breaking our problem into pieces, addressing each piece separately, and then reassembling these pieces into what will be a solution to our problem.

Think of some problem you’re struggling with or a concept you’re having a hard time grasping. Perhaps you could benefit from devoting some focused attention toward figuring the problem out.

Share Your Struggles With Others

I received an email this week from a friend I serve on a volunteer board with.  She was asking a question about one of the financial reports.  During her email, she confided that due to her lack of understanding about the financial reports, she felt inept to serve on the board.  I knew exactly how my friend felt, because they are in the same feelings I had during my first term serving on the board.

I remember so clearly a conversation I had with the board chairman during my first term.  It seemed to me like I didn’t bring any value and questioned whether I should even be on the board.  He told me that I did in fact add value, and the best thing I could do was to continue asking questions like I had been doing in previous board meetings.  Those comments really encouraged me, so I did what he said.  After a few more board meetings, my own feelings of ineptitude began to wane and I started to feel like I was actually adding value.

I’m so glad I shared with the chairman how I was struggling.  He gave me some encouraging advice, and also communicated that I was needed and offered more value than I realized.  What’s even better is that I got to share that experience with my friend who is currently having a similar struggle.  I was able to have empathy and offer encouragement and remind her of the value she brings.

It felt great to encourage someone and remind them of their value in a particular situation, especially when that value was in question for them.

None of us are perfect.  We’ve all faced struggles that leave us feeling overwhelmed, inept, and even discouraged.  The good news regarding these situations is that once we get past them, we can offer encouragement and perhaps a new perspective to someone who is experiencing a similar struggle.

Pay attention to what the people around you are saying.  Listen for struggles they are facing that are similar to ones that you have experience and be quick to offer encouragement and to reinforce their value.

What a tremendous blessing to be able to encourage someone in their moment of need.