Is it a problem…or not?

Our women’s bible study was having trouble connecting the laptop to the wall monitor for our video. We tried everything that had worked in the past. Knowing we had available resources (aka tech-savvy youth minister), we called for back-up. As he arrived in the room, we told him about our problem. He assessed our situation and quickly surmised, “it’s an issue, not an actual problem.”

Interesting. I thought they were the same thing. Turns out, there are subtle differences:

Size often dictates the difference between an issue and a problem. An issue is smaller, not life altering, and it doesn’t present such a degree of difficulty that you have to seek out the counsel of others in order to figure out the impact of the issue. A problem is larger in scale, often large enough to alter your life either temporarily or permanently. A problem can easily require the advice and guidance of those around you, in order to solve it.

As a person who likes to plan for every contingency, I can get pessimistic when things go wrong. Most situations are temporary and rarely “life altering.” In the moment, they take up so much time and attention, they seem larger than they really are, even if it’s temporary. Next time something comes up, I need to pause and remember most things are issues, not problems.

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