Fortunately for me, my weakness went undetected in this situation.
Years ago there was a lady in the church we'll call Janet (not her real name) who would call me and talk almost without coming up for air - for the longest time. Sometimes hours. It was never an emergency -- just the normal ups and downs of life.
Late one night I got out of the shower and had just put on my robe and put my hair up in a towel. I was sleepy, and all warm and cozy and getting ready to have some herbal tea, get in my nightgown and go to sleep. My husband came in and told me, "Um, babe...I know you're getting ready to go to sleep but Janet is on the phone for you." I said, "what does she want?" And he said, "I don't think it's an emergency, but you know she tends to think everything is urgent..."
My heart sunk because it was already 11 pm and I was absolutely exhausted. I took a deep breath, picked up the phone anyway and began listening. Here's the truth -- no matter what other education pastor's wives have, I'm here to tell you they should ALL have a degree in listening! Most if not all have earned it.
As Janet talked, I cradled the phone to my ear and made my cup of tea, and then went and got comfortable on the sofa. As I sat there and listened for about an hour the clock soon struck midnight and as Janet talked on, I had laid down on the sofa and gotten really relaxed and before long I was asleep. The phone was still cradled at my ear while I laid there asleep...for another hour! As my eyes fluttered open I glanced over at the clock and realized what had happened and I was even more shocked to realize that Janet was STILL TALKING for two hours straight, and never noticed that I was asleep!!!
Never doubt that some people CAN have a conversation all by themselves. The other day someone said to me, "you know, it takes two to have a conversation" and I wanted to say, "you're not in the ministry, are you?" Ministers know what it is to have "conversations" where only one person is doing the talking.
Now, something that could have been the most embarrassing thing in the world is that about a minute after I woke up, Janet said to me, "So, Pastor Deanna, what are your thoughts on all this?" Please keep in mind that I hadn't been listening for the second hour while she talked...I was sound asleep. And now she finally wanted me to actually SAY something and give her advice.
Fortunately for me I had the perfect answer. I said, "Janet, my thought is that you should give this entire thing over to God."
"Really?" she said. "Just give it to God?"
"Yep," I responded, "just give it to God. That's what you need to do."
And when I said that it was as if I'd given her a million dollars. I mean, she was elated!
Truthfully, I didn't know what the heck she had said for the past hour but whatever it was I knew it was safe to tell her to give it all over to God because truthfully He IS the person with the solution.
"Thank you SO much for being there tonight, PD. Your advice to give it all over to God was just what I needed."
Finally at the 1:15 am mark we hung up and I went in my room to put my nightie on and go to sleep and my husband says, "what in the world did Janet want this late at night?" and I said, "you know Larry she just needed to be reminded to give it all over to God."