“Marissa? Are you over there?”
I’ve come to dread the sound of my name at the office; especially when it’s sent from Betty’s direction. Betty is likely three times my age and gives her generation a bad rap in terms of learning anything new. Our office underwent a system upgrade last week and my corporate life has been largely consumed with walking Betty through basic system processes.
Now, I love to teach people. It’s kind of in my genes. When someone needs help, I’m anxious to help them find a solution.
Unless that person is Betty.
Because Betty has a hard time learning.
No, not learning.
Which, let’s face it, is pretty much synonymous.
“YOU were the one who told me to push this button when I wanted to get to my home page but it’s NOT working.”
“Ok,” I began patiently. “You’re on the right track. What happened is you—”
“ALL I did was click right here, where you told me to.”
“Right, but you—”
“I clicked here, here, and here and then I got this error message and I’m STILL not on the homepage.”
“Ok, but if—”
“WHERE is the homepage? It’s not here! This is NOT the homepage! It’s not where YOU told me to go!”
I couldn’t get a word in. I absolutely couldn’t. And my anger was rising with each failed attempt.
If I wasn’t raised with a standard of respect (and self control), I might have smacked her right across the face. Raised my voice louder than hers to be sure she heard:
“You WANT me to help you but HOW can I do that if you’re not going to LISTEN to me??”
Once the crisis was averted (both the technical difficulty and face-smacking), I returned to my desk. Simmering in my frustration, I sighed and just closed my eyes for a minute. This is a posture that has become familiar. Not just at work, but in life.
Frustrated, defeated, at a loss. I close my eyes in an effort to phrase a semblance of a prayer in hopes of requesting some semblance of an answer.
That’s when it hit me.
How often am I God’s Betty?
I reach my threshold of frustration. After confirming the fact that I can’t fix the problem myself, I pray.
“God, are you there?”
I pray harder.
You told me to do this and it’s not working (the way I wanted it to).
The entirety of my prayer time is spent demanding answers to my questions; expressing my anger and accusations.
Why did you tell me to do something that wouldn’t work? Why can’t I get it to work?
Exactly when did I expect Him to get a word in edge-wise?
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Hm. Paul didn’t have to mention talking in the acquisition of faith. But hearing. Hearing is mentioned twice. Probably not a coincidence…
If my approach to God is the same as Betty’s to me, it’s no wonder I’m not getting any answers.
I’m not letting them in.
Maybe we’re feeling so lost because we’re doing more talking than listening.
Maybe we’re refusing the answer because we’re too busy elaborating the problem.
He is there, friends. With every bit of the answer we’re looking for.
We just have to give Him a chance to speak. And wait long enough to hear the answer.