I sometimes hesitate to answer when someone asks me for advice because of all of my own failures.
It’s a trap…..the idea that only perfect people can offer advice. Sure, we should seek out people who have succeeded in the area we need help with. But that doesn’t have to mean perfection!
I get asked for advice all.of.the.time. In the grocery store just yesterday a women stopped me and asked me a homeschool curriculum question. On Sunday a friend at church asked me about getting kids to sleep at night. Marriage, essential oils, dieting, blogging, mothering…..I am not an expert in any of these areas yet I get a ton of questions about them!
In fact, I don’t really think of myself as an expert in anything except the messiness of being ME. I do know a lot about that.
I feel fully inadequate to be answering most of these questions. And then God reminds me….that is exactly where He wants me. If I thought I had it all together and could answer any question then I wouldn’t really be helping anyone. I would be giving too much Lisa (mess) and not enough God (perfect Father).
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
When I am weak, He is made strong. So when someone asks my advice, I prayerfully answer. If the source of my reply is not my own knowledge but from His Word, then I don’t have to be flawless to share it with you. I am simply the messenger.
It starts with prayer. Put on the armor of God and spend time in His Word. If I offer you a simple translation of what He says mixed with a few fun stories of how that worked for me then I don’t have to worry about misleading you.
Of course, God doesn’t clearly tell us which homeschool curriculum to use, that is more of an experience question. I can just share what I know. It’s important to realize when there are many paths to the same goal….in this case that our kids will be well educated. My way works for me, but it might not work for you. I can’t give you an infallible answer, but I do have experience that I am happy to share and hopefully that will help. It might even help you to see that what I did will not work for you and save you from a mistake.
But if it’s more of a “how do you honor your husband when he is wrong?” kind of question….well that is something that God does speak about in the Bible. Pull it out. Look up the answers then pray together.
I prayed with a woman the other night in our monthy essential oil class because of some personal issues she shared with me. I don’t know exactly what she needs, but I know the One who does. So we asked Him together. I don’t have to have any expertise to pray with someone. Then I offered her my best advice. I also gave her encouragement that I will be her friend through her trials. I always have my friendship to offer even if my advice is not what they need.
If you get asked for advice a lot, here are some things I want to share with you:
1. Don’t think too highly of yourself! If you feel like you know a lot about a Biblical issue, be careful not to think so highly of your knowledge that you forget where it came from. Our experience or knowledge never trumps the Word of God.
2. Spend a gob-ton of time reading the Bible. That is your source of wisdom.
3. Spend plenty of time in prayer. Let go of your ideas that you know so much and grab onto the lessons He has taught you though the Holy Spirit.
4. Understand your responsibility. God is clear on this….leaders have extra responsibilities to be careful how they live and what they say.
5. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect (a lesson I need to learn!). Your perfection is not what anyone needs…they need your humility and love.
Matthew 18: 6-7 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”
And as the seeker of advice, let’s also be aware that the human being we are looking to for help is flawed. They will mess up, be wrong, poorly communicate and an endless list of other disappointments. That does not mean they don’t have great advice for you!
1. Like I said above….read the Bible and pray! You have just as much access to the source of true wisdom as anyone else.
2. Don’t put people on a pedestal. No one deserves to be thought of as higher than anyone else. This is a surefire way for your relationship with someone to crash and burn.
3. Get more than one viewpoint. Don’t be shy about asking someone you admire (admiring is not the same as idealizing) for their wisdom. Ask a few people and then weigh their suggestions against what you know to be true.
Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
4. Seek wise counsel instead of just asking everyone. The stranger in the grocery store doesn’t necessarily have wise advice for you. Resist the temptation to ask advice from all of your friends. It’s too confusing and it can lead to your destruction.
Proverbs 13:20 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
5. Make it a goal to become wise. So many women I meet think they have to always stay in the place of weakness. Or they just look for tips and tricks to get through life instead of digging deep and drawing close to Christ. Use the wisdom people share, be willing to learn and grow and change where you need to, become wise so that you can help others after you.
In a nutshell…..If you need help – ASK for wisdom! If someone asks for your help – PRAY for wisdom!
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Have a great weekend!