When It Sounds Like Truth, but Isn’t

I’m a fixer. The kind of gal who loves to problem solve and smooth out all the rough edges—particularly for the people I love.

In and of itself, “fixing” can seem harmless. A lot of us value those folks who consistently offer a sound word of advice and a handy solution. They may be our go-to when we need a kind word, or the shoulder we cry on in a moment of crisis. As believers, building that type of spiritual community, that “grace place” is vital and necessary.

How do we avoid the temptation to be a "fixer" and instead point people toward God's truth? | Faith | Encouragement | Biblical Truth | Hope | Guidance | Counseling | Advice | Wisdom

But what about the person who doesn’t need to be “fixed?” The one who wants someone to listen rather than speak. The one who needs a nudge in the right direction rather than an A-Z plan. The one who is wrestling toward finding truth, whom God is leading toward deeper dependence on Him.

“We are not the first responder.”

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar at church about coming alongside a soul in need with the primary goal of leading them toward God rather than offering them a solution. The pastor exhorted us that, “we are not the first responder.”

Honestly, my flesh balked a bit.

I love giving wise council to a friend in need.

It’s my job to offer my son solutions to his problems.

There’s something gratifying about being the go-to Christian.

But we are not God. And let’s face it, we forget that from time to time, don’t we?

The pastor’s words brought me face to face with my limitations as a “fixer.” It opened my eyes to how quickly I can assert my perception, share my opinion, or offer my life experience as the fix, when really, God is the only answer.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NLT

I believe in the power of our stories, but I believe in God more.

It’s a unique privilege to be able to come alongside another and relate every bit of good news—and there is a time and place for that. But, how much more will that good news multiply when I’ve steered a person to lean into Christ, rather than depend on me.

We are not God. And we’d do well to remember it.

{Tweet that}

God is the first responder. He goes before. He comes behind. He is moving and working in ways that we can’t begin to imagine—particularly in the lives of others. If we aren’t careful to seek God first, to be sure that the Holy Spirit is guiding our words and actions, we could potentially misdirect a sweet soul in a direction quite opposite from what God has planned for them.

While our intentions—advice, council, solutions—are good,
God’s plan is always better.

I can’t think of a time when I needed this perspective shift more. God’s word is being molded to suit the ideal of man. Those with platform and position are offering a doctrine that while doused in good intentions and sugar-coated with love, is laced with opinion, not truth.

It’s scary. It’s dangerous. And, I don’t want to fall prey.

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:23 NLT

As a Christian woman—mom, wife, friend, citizen—I not only want to live God’s word, but I want to defer to it as the ONLY way, the ONLY truth, and the ABSOLUTE source of abundant life. I can’t fix anyone, but God certainly can. ♥

By His endless grace,

Join the conversation…

Have you been tempted to offer your opinion before you sought God’s? How do you find the balance between sharing your experience and encouraging someone to seek God’s wisdom?

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Purposeful Faith (#RaRaLinkup)Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart)Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday) and 3dlessons4life.

47 thoughts on “When It Sounds Like Truth, but Isn’t

  1. This is so powerful, Tiffany! What great advice, and so true in a day and age when people are drawing disciples unto themselves instead of being fishers of men for the Kingdom. Thank you for brining things back into perspective! 💛💛💛

  2. Good advice! I have a friend I actually avoid when I just need an ear to listen, because I know she’ll start fixing and telling me what to do before I’m ready to hear it! Sometimes I just need a hug and a prayer 😊Love this.
    Happy Thursday!

    1. Maybe God will open the door for your to gently let her know you don’t need that fix. As a fixer, I think we sometimes think we are being helpful and that you are coming to us for that help. I’d appreciate it someone let me off the hook and let me know all they needed was a hug! I’m sending you a BIG HUG today, Meg!

  3. So good to remember this as we’re navigating older kids through situations. And on the flip side, I’ve had to discipline myself NOT to go to friends when I’ve needed counsel in the last 5 years w/o Dan…I’ve needed to go to God and He so practically and perfectly guides every single time.

    1. So beautiful that you’ve seen God lead and guide you in that way, Lisa. Yes – and with our kids. I think there is definitely a fine balance as they grow older to be that listening ear, sure support, but want them to find that in Christ first and most.

  4. God is the first responder – love the thought! All too often I’m in there racing to be the first responder, too Tiffany. Sounds like a good and helpful trip to church. ;-) (A trip I’m thinking I would have loved to taken with you.)

    1. It was such a good seminar and it made me so grateful to be a part of a church body that puts so much thought into caring for individual hearts beyond just meeting a momentary need. If you visit this summer, we can all visit my church together – how fun would it be to worship together!! xoxo

  5. Tiffany,
    I’m a fixer too! I hear a friend’s problem and I immediately think of the top 3 things they can do to get themselves out of a jam. The problem is of course, they don’t always need or want my input and what I need to remember is that I am not God and it’s up to him, not me! I think we fixers have the best intentions, though! :) Yes, God’s plan is always better than ours is! Love this, friend — I need it! xo

    1. Yes…we do have good intentions. Generally we care deeply and just want to help. It’s definitely a shift in perspective to still offer support but do that by asking some questions that help the person process and arrive at their own conclusions vs. being handed those top 3. It’s so not easy, but I’m finding it really valuable. Thanks for joining the conversation, Valerie. xo

  6. Oh, Tiffany, this is good! For so long I’ve wanted to be the one who had the solution that led a person to freedom, but I’ve had it all wrong! You are so right – point them to Jesus who is the lasting answer! Thank you for this word, dear friend! I needed it! Blessings to you!

    1. I know that feeling, Leigh. There can be a lot of pressure to come up with just the right word that points someone to God. But, I’m learning that word is far more reaching if I can encourage them to hear it from God directly. Blessings AND hugs back at you, friend.

    1. Oh, our husbands – well that’s a God appointed duty, isn’t it?! Haha – not so much. I fall prey to that one ALL the time, Brooke. So glad for a God of grace, and one that keeps teaching us that He knows best. Thanks for being here today.

  7. Excellent post! Yes, guilty of this! The first responder’s way is always the best way! He is leading and guiding in ways that we don’t see. Thanks for the reminder to point others back to Jesus, the first responder! Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks for being here, Tammy. I’m always SO grateful when God shows me how He is moving in my life – and everyone deserves the chance to experience that direct line from Him too. Blessings back at you, friend.

  8. Love this picture of God as the first responder, Tiffany. It’s so true! I have learned over the years that the Holy Spirit will work within me when it’s time, and until then I just need to listen, to pray and offer guidance to those I love, when they request said guidance! It was a bumpy road to learning these lessons, but so thankful our God is patient and gracious to us silly humans in the process!

    1. You words remind me of a lesson my parents tried to teach me as a child – “speak when spoken too.” Amazing how often I offer advice when their was no request for it. Good rule to live by, Nicki!

  9. Excellent Post Tiffany. As i read it, I am reminded of a sermon I listened to from one of my favorite pastors, Dr. Charles Stanley over a year ago. The name of his message was called; Are you getting in God’s way? It has stayed with me and continues to do so. Like you said, “God’s plan is always better.” I am learning to acknowledge Him in every situation as I desire to come alongside and offer help or advice. I ask God to give me the words to say and most importantly sometimes…the words NOT to say. I have been a “fixer” or a find a way person since I can remember. However, as we grow in Christ, it is imperative to follow God’s leading as we seek to”fix” things or those we care about. Thank you for offering us this poignant reminder to proceed with caution before we jump into “first responder” mode. I hope you have a fantastic week and may God richly bless you and yours.

    1. Love your intention, Horace – to ask God what to say or not to say. That was actually one of the tools I learned in this workshop. Kind of the “silence is golden” rule – sometimes before we open our mouth, we need to take a minute and be sure we are speaking words that God would have us say. You’re right – so important to stay tuned into the Holy Spirit. Thanks for being here, friend.

  10. Oh, Tiffany, you have such a way of presenting important truths with so much grace. Loved this post, my friend. You’re so right, the best thing we can do for friends who turn to us is to point them to Jesus. When we seek His words first, we can share them with confidence and the grace He gives us.

    And the picture of God as the first responder? I love it!

  11. Ah yes… I have learned to pray first…before speaking or offering advice –I don’t always remember to DO that… but I do know how it feels to be ‘handled’ by a fixer whose intentions are good – but the fix wasn’t what was needed! I try to keep that feeling in mind before jumping with both feet! ;)

    1. Great perspective, Karrilee. I think we’ve all been “handled” a time or two and remembering how that can go wrong fast is a great motivation to seek God first. Thanks for visiting, friend.

  12. Tiffany, the older I get, the less inclined I am to think that I need to offer some sort of wise response to every problem I hear. And yes, there was a time when I did think that–makes me cringe just to write it! I tend to be a fixer too, but I love the idea of God being the first responder. Wonderful post, my friend.

    1. Thank you, Lois. Yes, I agree – age, experience and maturity in faith certainly help us measure our words wisely! Yeah, thinking back to my opinionated 20’s makes me cringe a bit too.

  13. Girl you are preaching to this choir right here points to herself. I just had to delete something I wrote out because did the thing I have done many times where I trade God’s peace for the kind the world offers. That man offers. And I know part of my excuse is, the leaders I surround myself with tend to be a certain way and it rubs off, but that is a whole ‘nuther conversation and prayer focus for where my family and I need to be, which church family does God want us to root into where Truth is being taught and the Spirit is free to move. I have to take responsibility for my own actions, my own walk with my Father. I prayed for a heart change last night and He answered my prayers but not without grieving my bad attitude first and praising Him how good and sovereign He is. I am so glad He is in charge and that nothing can pluck us from His hands, no matter what happens. I love this post today. Sharing this!!!

    1. Keeping short accounts with God is so wise, Meg and it sounds like you two are taking care of business! It certainly isn’t easy when others rub off and we cling in all the wrong places, but yes…we are in God’s hands and indeed He alone is sovereign! Praying that He leads, guides, and refines in the way only He can. Sending you a hug, friend.

  14. “how much more will that good news multiply when I’ve steered a person to lean into Christ, rather than depend on me,” oh this echoes so true in my own heart! God has been taking me off of the “fixer” path for many years now. But it is still something that I catch myself slipping into so easily. And the perspective that always shakes me loose and helps me to step away from fixing, is the path that He seems to be taking me on even deeper now: to recognize my own weakness, and HIS great strength. Thanks for this reminder today, to find Christ as the only perfect Truth! –Blessings to you!

    1. I’m a slow learner, Bettie, so I’m glad to year that you are on the “unfixing” journey with me. :) It’s not easy to halt that flesh nature to just jump in and take care of business, but yes – recognizing that we are weak and He is strong is somethings I’m trying to be quite intentional about these days. He is truth indeed! Blessings right back at you!

  15. Such wisdom here, Tiffany. I’m also a “fixer.” Guilty! But I also know one of my spiritual gifts is encouragement/exhortation, so sometimes I know I need to speak up. Recently God has called me to walk alongside someone who I know needs supernatural revelation from God much more than anything I can tell her. This person cannot be “fixed” by me or anyone. She needs a miracle. Most of what I do is love her and pray for her. Reading this really encouraged me.

    1. I relate to your words, Betsy. I think its all about balance – seeking God for the time to speak and encourage and the time to get on our knees and pray. You certainly do have that gift of encouragement, and I pray the Holy Spirit leads you every step of the way. Cherish you, friend. xo

  16. “Those with platform and position are offering a doctrine that while doused in good intentions and sugar-coated with love, is laced with opinion, not truth.” I have been on the receiving end of this, Tiffany. It reminds me also of a friend who lost her son years before I knew her. Anyway, she told us once how hard it was when people came up to her and said things like God has a plan or God knows best, or they quote a Bible verse, etc. At a time of deep grief and pain, it’s not the time to say things like that and does not always comfort. Like you said, there is a time and place for that. Sometimes people just need someone to hug them or cry with them, to just listen. To validate their hurt.
    I have often been a “fixer” though, too. I want everyone to be happy. I want everyone to love each other. But I’m learning that sometimes a person needs to be allowed to be sad. Or in times of division, I need to allow them to work things out between them. I am learning to say less and pray more. :) Sorry for rattling on… Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. Rambling is totally allowed here, Trudy! :) I think we’ve probably all been in the situation where we think we are being helpful with our words, but what we really need to do is open our ears. Especially, like you said, when pain or division are involved – that can be so rough. I’m with you – carefully measuring my words and taking the time to pray before I speak. Always love when you join the conversation, friend.

  17. Love this, Tiffany. Yes. Sometimes we even act like we know better or have a better solution than the “first responder,” which ultimately misleads. So humbling to recognize it’s Christ, and Christ alone! I remember when this lesson really struck for the first time several years ago and I’ll never forget the peace and relief of submitting to this truth. Thanks!

  18. Good advice Tiffany! I’m also a fixer. I never thought about giving advice that might sway someone from what God is doing in their life. Makes me think twice about opening my mouth;)

    1. Steer not sway – seems like a good rule to follow, doesn’t it. I know that I’ll fall back into my “fixing” ways, but I think being intentional about pointing back to God makes all the difference. Thanks for being here, Julie!

I love hearing from you! Won't you join the conversation?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s