When Not to Ask for Advice

Emily Teterud – Marketing Coordinator

Do you rely on God? Just a quick and easy question to start off your Tuesday morning, right? But, it’s a question I’ve recently been asking myself more seriously in various circumstances. I think it’s important to take a deeper look and see if I really am fully relying on the One I call my personal Savior.

I am someone who loves verbal affirmation. Every once in a while, when I’m being all introspective and such, I think about the various components of my life and personality that play into that need. Growing up as the youngest in my family in an extremely supportive and loving home with parents who took care of me, two older sisters who also took very good care of me (and sometimes thought they were my parents…just kidding!), the role of a student in school, the role of an intern fresh out of college—each of these aspects of my life plays into the way I’ve received affirmation, advice, and instruction. In each of these areas and seasons of life, I notice there is a consistent theme of being taught what to do, needing to heed advice, and needing to seek out guidance from someone who knows more. As a kid, I was taught and led by my parents. As a younger sister, I was influenced and told what to do by my older siblings. As a student, I listened to my teachers and followed instructions. As an intern, I observed and learned from someone who is farther along in her craft than I. And of course, in the midst of it all, there is also the need to continuously pray to Jesus for wisdom and His will and purpose.

What I have come to learn about myself is that I carry a heavy reliance on needing to hear from other people who are wiser than me in order to make decisions. I often assume the role of the student or the person who needs to listen and be told what to do. Now, here’s the tricky thing…that’s not always bad! I think it’s dangerous to rely on only yourself for life’s twists and turns. We learn and grow with and from each other, and I believe God created us each uniquely with strengths to share in an iron-sharpens-iron sort of way. So, hear me when I say I believe everyone needs people in their lives to be pouring in wisdom.

But, as I find with most of life, there is a balance. I tend to err on the side of needing too much input from others. Want to know how it affects me? I end up with numerous people saying numerous things because I’ve asked numerous people, and I want to please them all. I want to follow everyone’s advice. Guess how successful that turns out. Yeah, it doesn’t. But it makes for one confused and conflicted Emily, wanting to make the right choice! The problem compounds when I know I’m seeking advice from several God-fearing and wise individuals. I don’t throw my life questions to just anyone (this is important!). There are several people in my life whom I have tremendous respect for and whom I trust very deeply.

So, where do I go from here? I hope you’re not disappointed to find I haven’t figured it all out in this blog. This is a process I’m working through, but I’d love to share some ways I filter this issue of needing other people’s opinions:

  1. Is this an issue I have prayed about? And how much trust am I really placing in hearing back from God? I do not wish to be someone who uses prayer as my plan B.
  2. Is this an issue I need advice on? Or can I make a choice and be confident in it, knowing I also am using my brain and my heart where Jesus tells me His Holy Spirit dwells?
  3. Even though I am a verbal processor, maybe I should narrow down, or more specifically think through how many people I talk with regarding this issue.

Bottom line, I want to be a strong woman of character and wisdom. Sometimes that means asking people for advice. But sometimes, that means trusting God has filled me with His wisdom, and I can move forward in confidence. I know this because I’ve asked Jesus over and over and over again for wisdom. It’s pretty much a daily prayer. And guess what He says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6

No matter what issue or decision you’re facing today. First things first—ask God for wisdom. And don’t you dare think that is a weak way to start seeking advice. It’s silly to think we wouldn’t begin and end with reliance on God.

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When Not to Ask for Advice

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About The Author
- I am the programming coordinator at Central Christian Church AZ. I also moderate the Central Teaching Blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!