Did I Ask For This?

What is it about some people who just can’t help but give you advice, even when you didn’t ask for it? It’s one of my pet peeves. Truthfully, I think we all do it sometimes, it’s a human disorder. I’m going to do it right now. So, if you don’t want to hear my advice, stop reading.

When we hear someone share a problem, we often feel it’s an opportunity to dispense our wisdom rather than exercise our listening skills. With limited information about the real situation, we offer advice that can be ill-timed, out of context and usually just wrong. We might be well motivated but that doesn’t mean we have something worth offering.

The bigger issue, however, is that we need to listen more than speak. We need to listen to wise counsel. Plenty of proverbs confirm this:
Plans are established by seeking advice;
    so if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
    but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

Everyone loves giving advice but the big question is, who should your advisers be? Who should you be listening to? Proverbs encourages us to find wisdom and reminds us that finding trustworthy people is important. Not every friend is a good counselor, we must choose wisely. We need friends who love us and speak the truth, not just words of flattery. We need counselors who are patient and willing to ask us deep questions. People who have some gifts of discernment. Above all, people who themselves are listening for the guidance of God’s spirit.

The book of Proverbs is careful to identify a fool as someone who thinks they don’t need anybody’s counsel, including God’s. The wise person seeks good counsel. Wisdom often lies in the decision about who we can trust to guard our stories and our pain.

My advice is this: don’t go through life without those individuals who can speak real wisdom into your life. It may take time to find them, but it is worth it. I hope and pray you have some of those wise counselors and friends around you. If you don’t, then start to pray that they will show up in your life. You are going to need them.