Notes from Jan

Have You Got A Minute?

March 16, 2024

This question comes from someone wanting more than a minute. They want me. And often it comes from one who is suffering or troubled about an issue or person. How do I respond? Not always well, which I’m learning from the book we’re studying in Adult Sunday School: Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart by Kenneth Haugk, founder of Stephen Ministries.

The problem, in part, is that I come from a long line of fixers and cheer-them-uppers. We want to fix things, make them or it better so they, and sometimes we, can feel better. It’s one of life’s advanced lessons to learn some things can’t be fixed or cheered up. They just are. However, God, as well as you and I, help by showing up. We bring the gift of presence.

During Lent, my friend, Lillian, and I are reading Marilyn McEntyre’s book, Where the Eye Alights, Phrases for the Forty Days of Lent. She’s one of my favorite authors and knows what do do with words. And Lillian knows how to brew a proper cup of tea. And so we sip and share on Thursdays. So, lets just say that between the two books, I”m learning the value of fewer words, more listening.

Haugk’s book reminds me of the value of just showing up, being with someone. And a chapter from McEntyre’s book prompted this blog. She titled her chapter, “Could I have a word?” G.K Chesterton wrote, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” And sometimes my desire to do or say just the right thing keeps me from saying, “yes” to the question, “Have you got a minute?” Both books remind me that in any of these awkward situations Jesus is there to help with words, to still my need to do or speak when what’s most needed is a listening ear and loving heart.

And as I lean into Lent, maybe that’s what God wants most from me: to listen, to love and be present.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Dale March 16, 2024 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks Jan and welcome back. It was an unlikely place, but in a management course on leadership I was told the question “can I talk with you for a minute?” was an honor and expressed an interest in being heard. If someone wants you to listen to them, it means they value their relationship with you and that even just sharing with you was healing. Blessings dear friend. Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 17, 2024 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks for the welcome, something I’ve always felt with you and Marty. And I’m grateful for your comments, reminders that it is an honor to be trusted with someone’s concerns and hurts. Blessings on you and Marty, as well.

  • Reply Daniel M Russ March 17, 2024 at 12:11 am

    And as we listen to “can I talk with you for minute,” it may be God speaking to us through this person who interrupts our plans. “Oh, today, that we may hearken to His voice.” Thanks for the reminder, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 17, 2024 at 8:43 pm

      Great to see you name show up, dear Dan. And an important addition to the post to consider someone’s question and concerns may be a way God speaks to us, as well.

  • Reply Shirley Westrate March 17, 2024 at 3:59 pm

    Precious words from you, precious Jan. Thanks for this reminder for all of us talkers and fixers. I love your last line and am sure that many of us have been blessed by your listening, your love, and your presence!
    PS Are you looking in your mirror yet?

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 17, 2024 at 8:50 pm

      Still trying to avoid mirrors. Though my friend, Steve, suggested I look and see that this face and I am beloved by God. I know that in my heart but need to remind myself, “Don’t believe everything you see!” Hope you’re doing well, dear Shirley, and know you’re beloved, as well. Thank God, we’re more than meets the eye!!

  • Reply Donna Poynton March 18, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    I thank you for these very wise words, and the encouragement to listen far more than we speak. Our presence is often times the most important thing needed.❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 18, 2024 at 5:49 pm

      , Yes, dear Donna. I’m sure you have examples from your own life, as do I, when the best gift came when some one showed up and just sat with me.. Job’s famous “comforters” did their best work at the beginning when they simply sat in silence beside him.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe March 18, 2024 at 6:29 pm

    Jan, I have learned yet another keeper phrase from you: “fixers and cheer-them-uppers”! That’s me, too. Sending you hugs from the Homeland, where you continue to feed hearts that are hungry to grow.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 18, 2024 at 8:49 pm

      Tusen Takk, my Norwegian friend, Maggie. Thanks for checking in . I’m sure you and Mike are “feeding hungry hearts” in Stavanger, Norway.. Blessings on you and those your serve.

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