Tuesday, December 16, 2014

advice about getting advice

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. 
- Proverbs 24:6
I need help. 
And so do you. 
God designed us to work together as a team, as part of His Body, 
"the Body of Christ" as the Bible refers to it. 
Ear drums, blood veins, joints, a couple kidneys, skin that covers it all, a brain that tells it all what to do; 
all working together to make up a human body. 
I'm living in one, so I know enough about how it works to know that my pointer finger would be in trouble if he got fed up with his neighbor, Mr. Thumb, and decided to break off and move to Delaware. He'd have trouble getting to Delaware. 

God called you and me and our Christian comrades around the globe His Body. If I decide to move to Delaware, I'd better ask the folks around me what they think about that decision. I need their advice, I need their wisdom, I need their support, I need their help. 
God has put people in all of our lives who are wiser and more experienced than ourselves. To not ask them their opinions on big life matters is to be a fool. 

Who do you go to for advice?
How often do you go?
Do you listen?

If your answers are 'Uh' to all three questions, then change that. Find someone who is older than you who is making great life decisions. Get around them as often as possible and let them rub off. 
And when it comes time for you to decide if you should take a job, start dating that friend, adopt that baby, switch churches, go back to college, or move to Delaware, ask them what they think. Better yet, ask several wiser-than-you-somebodies what they think. 
One of the common themes of Proverbs is to ask for advice. 
And Proverbs knows about wisdom. 

When I hear about someone who is making a fairly large life decision, I think, "I wonder who they've talked to about that?"
Time will usually tell if it was the right decision or not, and if they received any counsel at all before making the move.
There's safety in counsel. 

God has given me so many wiser-than-myself-people, 
and boy, I'm glad. Take their advice out of my life, and I'd be a 26-year old wreck. I've got two big sisters who are oozing with common sense and they've helped me make wise decisions countless times. Big sister Kara (the more talkative of the two) has shared advice with me that has literally changed the course of my life. (I wrote a blog about it once)
I realize you might not have two oozing-with-common-sense sisters, but I'm certain you've got several oozing-with-common-sense folks somewhere in your life. You've just got to find them and start up a "please-give-me-advice" conversation. 
As often as possible. 
Along with my sisters (and parents), there are a handful of people from my home church who I also talk to about things I need advice on. I need their counsel. My little baby-bit-of-wisdom tank needs a lot more wisdom poured into it. 

If you think that you're making it great without anyone else's counsel, then you are in serious need of counsel. You weren't made to live independent of other people's advice, so don't listen to the pride that says you were. 

Here's another thing, it's good to talk to wise people not only when making a decision, but also when you're in a struggle. We all get in messy struggles and we weren't designed to get through them all by ourselves. 
My brother-in-law recently likened a struggle to a cut. 
He said that when we have a cut, it takes some treatment and bandaging to get it healed. The sooner we treat and bandage, the less of a problem we have on our hands. When we let it go without any treatment, it has the potential to turn into a debilitating infection. The treatment and bandage to our life's struggles is getting honest and talking about them with someone. The longer we let a bitterness, a temptation, a doubt, a pile of confusion go on untreated, the more likely it's going to become a debilitating infection. Treating a cut is usually painful. It doesn't feel good. But it's the best way for the cut to heal. There are plenty of things in life more comfortable than talking about your issues with someone who is wiser than you, but it's the best way for you to heal. 

And here's one more thing, I'd suggest not making your BFF your go-to person on advice. No offense to your BFF, but I'm guessing their wisdom tank is at about the same level as yours'. Go to someone whose wisdom tank is quite a bit fuller than your own. 

So that's my advice about asking for advice. 
Do it. 
And do it often. 
It's super duper important.