The Problem with Solutions


“It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer,  to treat everything as if it were a nail,” Abraham Maslow.

My husband and I sat on a picnic blanket reading his personality description, “The most fundamental problem… is that INTJs really want people to make sense.”

“Hah,” I covered my mouth.

“That is so true. You think if you do the same thing, I’ll always respond the same way, like a math equation.”

“Well, you should,” Matt smirked. “I just have to understand all the variables.”

I laughed. Matt is an engineer and a quintessential problem solver. But variables will never make sense of my personality. In fact, thinking about me as a math equation is rather insulting.

I am a person. I have thoughts and feelings. I get sick and excited. As much as I like to think I’m logical, my mood sometimes changes for no particular reason.

“But those are all variables,” Matt argued.

Sick in the gut, I must convince him I am not a problem with a solution. That’s like asking, “How does yellow grow?”

I have a soul. I can create. I can change. Maybe slowly, sometimes unnoticeably, but I can create new habits and change thought patterns. If a supposed solution worked yesterday, it may not work today.

And I’m just one of the many humans involved in life’s problems. That’s it. That’s my failure in attempting to solve life’s problems. Seeking a solution is as silly as describing me with a math equation.

There’s no solution to my relationship with Matt. There is only creation. Choosing simple changes, and making little decisions every day. It’s not me finding the right nail to hammer. It’s about creating a loving heart and an understanding mind.

That is how God works. God doesn’t talk about problems and solutions in the Bible. He talks about creation and making things new. God made us creators, like him. Hurt, brokenness, and the desire for success are opportunities to create.

Photo credit Sam Wolff.


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