Problem Solving or Problem Dwelling?

I’ve been thinking a bit on how much time I spend focusing on problems rather than concentrating on actual solutions. I’m taking a class on pastoral counseling and it has brought some things to mind in how I work through problems, or lack thereof. I promise this post won’t be too “self-helpy” or Dr. Phil. But I think it can help.

Here are some of the ways I’ve observed people deal with problems:

1.) The Avoider

This is me. When I hear wind of a problem, I’m walking the other way. I’m getting better, but its a long journey. Some problems aren’t worth dealing with, but some need to be. Avoiding problems at all costs winds up wasting time that could have been spent solving the problem. I’ve had things that I’ve wasted a week avoiding the problem when a solution could have been found in 10 minutes. Yes, the logic is so sound here.

2.) The Fighter

Some people love a good fight. When they get wind of a conflict or an issue, they love putting their two cents into the conversation. These people sometimes find solutions blindly without even thinking, just so they have a “win” over the problem. Your type “A” personalities will typically deal with problems this way. They usually get a solution down on paperPro, but sometimes it is hasty.

3.) The Identifier

When a problem becomes a recurring problem, some people begin to be label themselves (intentionally or unintentionally) and find their identity in that problem. If the problem is anger management, a person can become convinced that their anger is just “who they are” and that’s the end of it.

4.) The Excuser

Closely related to #3, this group will typically blame problems on anything but the simple fact that it’s their issue. Whether it is upbringing, something that happened to them in the past or something they’re have always done, it is an excuse. This doesn’t discount the fact that our experiences and upbringing have a great impact on who we are. But using them as an excuse doesn’t get you anywhere.

Those are just my humble observations. Which one are you?

Rather than spending precious time exploring the problem and dwelling on the woes of the problem, spend that energy on solutions. It can change your perspective, your attitude and your effectiveness.

-SHF

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stewartfenters@gmail.com'
Stewart Fenters is a musician and worship leader at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, SC. If not spending time with his lovely wife, you can usually find him with a cup of coffee and nose in a book. He also writes a blog about worship, music and life.