7 Signs That A Person is Trying by Travis Sharpe

All of us, at one point or the other, have wondered if that person we were helping was also helping themselves. Maybe you have asked yourself “are they even trying’?

 

big effort

I know that I have asked myself this question time after time. Sometimes they are, while at other times that may not be the case. I believe there are several signs that might reveal wither or not someone is “putting their best foot forward”.

I am not saying that this is an all inclusive or all exclusive list. Not at all. What I am saying is that I have, over many years in ministry, seen these traits in people who were really trying to follow God and receive all that he had for them.

I know that in my own life there have been times that I was serious about life and times when I was just coasting through.

If you are like me, you want to be spending your time in the best, most effective ways possible. Sometimes that means limited time with certain people at certain times. I will always go further with and for the person who is really trying to make it while I may not go as far with an unwilling participant.

Lets dive into these signs.

1. A humble spirit

One sure-fire sign of someone who is trying hard in their life is that they exhibit a humble spirit. As a matter of fact, I believe this to be a prerequisite if we are going to get very far with God.

Have you ever noticed (maybe even in your own life) how that some people can be happy go lucky and give the impression that they have the world by the tail? Have you met that person who always acts like they are invincible?

That is called pride. And pride is a mark of someone who feels in their heart that they can do life on their own, without the help of God or anyone else. My how time and trouble has a way of changing this!

2. Following advice

Have you ever had someone come to you and ask for advice only to watch them walk away and do the absolute opposite of what you told them? I have, and it’s frustrating to say the least.

Usually, when a person is concerned enough about their own affairs, they will listen to the things that the people who love them are saying. And not only listen, but actually follow through with them.

My pastor says that when someone asks for his advice but then does just the opposite, they were more than likely only seeking approval for what they were going to do anyway. I think he is right and we have all probably done that in some form or fashion before.

3. Blaming the right person

This one kinda goes along with number one. Reason being, we are never truly humble until we blame the right person for the predicament we are in. And just who might that person be? Glad you asked!

It’s you. It’s me. Nine out of ten times when we find ourselves in a pickle, we have only ourselves to blame. A true sign that someone is trying is that they begin to take responsibility for their own actions. They own it.

I know that this is virtually a foreign concept now a days but it is still true. Until we are willing to take ownership for our lives, we are not really trying to improve. We are still playing games.

4. Continued contact

This one is a biggie in the world of homeless ministry. Have you ever formed a relationship with someone and seen them begin to improve, only to have them disappear?

I thought so. That’s frustrating isn’t it? Usually people disappear because they are doing the wrong things. Maybe they fell back into whatever their vice is or they are just going in the wrong direction and they know it.

When that’s the case, it’s hard for them to be around you. It’s hard because you are a symbol of accountability for them. I have had numerous guys tell me, in no uncertain terms, that when they disappear, they are up to no good.

So when someone sticks around and is not afraid of your visits, that might be a good sign.

5. A willingness to participate.

Have you ever felt like you were bending over backwards to help someone but they weren’t really doing much at all to help themselves? That’s usually because you are and they aren’t. I will be blunt with this one. Don’t waste your time with people who play games. See to help those who are willing to get the help they so desperately need.

Now we don’t want to write anyone off. We don’t want to give up on someone. But we do want to hit the pause button until they see the need to work towards their own welfare.

6. Progress

Usually, people who are trying to get things together will be making some progress. Progress might be slow due to a million obstacles that stand in the way, but there will be progress. Look for small victories. They don’t have to be giant ones but there will be some victories.

If there is no change in a person’s life year after year and they continue to be in need, something is off. There could be underlying mental disabilities or underlying sin. Sin robs us of our lives and halts forward progress.

7.  Making sacrifices

Someone who is putting their best foot forward to improve their situation will almost always make sacrifices. Think about the single mother who works two jobs just to keep food on the table and clothes on her children’s back. She willingly sacrifices because she is determined to take care of her precious children.

If someone is unwilling to suffer a little discomfort, they have probably not yet come to a place in their life where they are willing to humble themselves and do what it takes. This is hard to receive sometimes but the fact is, until they get to that place, all of the help we offer might not really help at all.

In conclusion

Look for these signs in the people you are ministering to and when you see them, encourage them. Point them out and make a big deal about them. This might just be the catalyst your friend need to go that extra mile.

Question: Have you ever felt like you were doing more for someone than what they were willing to do for themselves? What did you do?

photo credit: Lau Casabo via photopin cc

  • LF6

    Great question Travis, and my answer has been “Move on”. It seems all we can do in these cases is pray and hope that these individuals find peace with God. These instances have solidified the wise saying “You can only help those who want to be helped.” for me.

  • Jon

    good thought:)