Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly

All over the world, on any given day, there are women who find themselves in a pregnancy related crisis. I spend most of my time today equipping pastors and communities of churches to know how to respond to a pregnancy related crisis. I have taught them how to intervene and help those in need. The fact of the matter is we need a lot of people that can do that.

We do not need experts. If you want to be an expert, you can go to college, get a Bachelor’s degree, and a Master’s degree in what is called Critical incident Stress Management or Crisis Intervention Management and Strategies. There are any number of textbooks that one can find on this topic. One of the few I use is called Crisis Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention. It is just a standard textbook used in a university. Another one is called Crisis Intervention Strategies. I own the eighth edition but I believe it has a ninth edition out since I have purchased this one. It just goes to show you that you can become an expert. A textbook from a Christian worldview perspective is called Crisis and Trauma Counseling: What To Do and Say When It Matters Most by Dr. H. Norman Wright. Here is the reality: We do not need more experts. We need more good neighbors, people who simply know how to respond to a crisis using the law of love.

I love the words of the Christian philosopher G.K. Chesterton, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.” These words are worth remembering when one faces a crisis intervention situation. I love the proverb because it is a great liberating reminder that if something really serious needs to be done, then you do the best you can even if you are not the best person for the job. You can say or do the wrong things, but so do the experts. I think the last several years have taught us that the experts are often wrong; but even if they are right, this broken and fallen world requires more than the experts we have available. I wrote a book called Pregnancy Crisis Intervention. It is a textbook to help people understand what to do and say in a pregnancy related crisis. I do not want people to rely on being an expert. I could not get this book into a sufficient number of people’s hands. Not near enough people would read it given the numbers of crises that people are in on a daily basis.

While I believe in doing well and becoming good at what you do (even going so far as to write a textbook about it), my first point in this book and in life is to tell people that you do not need to be an expert. “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.” That is especially true in a pregnancy related crisis. You meet somebody, they are in trouble, they do not know what to do, they are thinking about having an abortion, and you are the one to whom they have disclosed this information to. You may not be the expert, you may not have confidence, but you are the one, in God’s providence, that the news has been broken to.

Two choices are made for you. You can say, “I’m not an expert. I don’t know what to say. I’m not well trained. I do not want to blow up. I might say the wrong thing.” This will drive you to back away and send them off to meet some “experts.” Maybe the experts will be helpful or maybe they won’t be so helpful. Or you can reflect on the proverb of “anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.” In our context of people in crisis, I think that is the word that we need to remember.

I rely on and teach people all over the world how to rely on the law of love. The Good Samaritan story is a great example of applying this concept to a real world situation. When the Samaritan was confronted with the man who was about to die, he did not say, “I better find an expert.” He didn’t say, “I need to read a book” or take a class in crisis intervention or critical incident stress management. He just started to act practically, personally, sacrificially, and directly to stop the man from dying. He did for the dying man what he would want someone to do for him if he was in a similar situation. This is the golden rule because it always works. We are all equipped to respond to crises. We may not do it as well as other people who are highly trained, but “anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.”

When you are confronted with a crisis, remember the words of Chesterton. Get in there and say to that woman, or couple, in a crisis pregnancy, “I am sorry that you are in this difficult situation. I know this is a terrible time. Explain to me why being pregnant right now is so terribly difficult.” Do this so that you can understand their situation and then just remember to say, “Let me help you.” God will begin to direct you in the weeks and the months afterwards on how to help them. Saving a woman or a couple from making a deadly decision which they will regret for the rest of their life is always worth the difficulty or discomfort of standing on God’s word. Even if you are unsure, even if you are uncertain, even if you do not have the magic words, or you are not as smooth as an expert might be, just say, “Let me help you.” God will take over from there. Once this happens, we will have a whole army of people who can do anything that is worth doing. I believe God will honor that. Until He returns, I am going to teach it all over the world. I encourage you to do the same. God bless.