Grasshopper on a windowscreen at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

What kind of life do you want to live?

I’d like to think I’m a fairly patient person, but the people who know me best know that I’m not really. I can be patient if I try really really hard, but most of the time it takes so much effort that I’d rather just run around like an idiot until something happens that I can exert some kind of control over. Even though I accomplish absolutely nothing, running around like a madwoman at least makes me feel like I can change things that are beyond me. Anyone else ever feel like that?

Well, you’re not alone. And neither am I. I’m willing to bet everyone has been there and done that at some point in their lives, but that’s not the way we’re commanded to live. We aren’t supposed to plow through life, running over anything and anyone who gets in our way.

Grasshopper on a windowscreen at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Grasshopper on a windowscreen at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Ephesians 4:2.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Ouch. Anyone else hear my toes crunching as that verse hops all over them?

I think it’s really interesting that we’re commanded to be humble and gentle all the time, followed by being patient with each other. Haven’t you noticed that impatient people usually aren’t very humble or gentle? And the opposite is true too. The proud and cruel aren’t very patient. I think these are three character qualities that go hand in hand (or hand in hand in hand).

I hate being interrupted, especially when I’m in “the zone” at work or at my home office. But that’s part of my everyday life. So I have to get used to it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I honestly do fight the urge to snap at people when they interrupt me because I don’t think they understand exactly how difficult it is to get to a point where I’m being productive only to have them drag me out of it to answer their question.

But since when is my work about me? My work is about my company and doing the best job I can for them. Even my personal writing exists to glorify God. But that’s what that attitude says. “You shouldn’t interrupt me because what I’m doing is more important than what you need.” Yeah? How humble is that?

And once I’m all stirred up, it’s just a short hop and a jump away before I get snappy and mean. And then I turn into a very un-gentle person. But I can’t tell you if this stems from my impatience or if my impatience comes about because of my lack of humility and gentleness. What I do know for sure is that all three of those characteristics—impatience, pride, and meanness—don’t represent the kind of life I want to live. And they sure don’t represent the life a Christian should be living, no matter who you are or what kind of situation you’re in.

The best thing we can do for ourselves and for the people around us is learning to recognize those traits and doing something to stop them. Maybe you don’t mean to feel one or all of them once, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep feeling them. And you certainly don’t have to base your life around them.

Always be humble. Think about what you do before you do it. Don’t automatically assume that people owe you something just by virtue of who you are. And even if they do, think twice before demanding they give it to you.

Always be gentle. There’s never a call for cruelty. There’s never a reason to be mean. There’s never a purpose for tearing people down with your words or your actions. This is one I have to watch because I have a sarcastic streak a mile wide, and sometimes my sarcasm gets the better of me. It’s one thing to tease; it’s something else to hurt. Think about what you say before you say it. You might save yourself and someone else a lot of pain.

And be patient. Just because you know something is true or right doesn’t mean other people have had the same opportunities to learn that you have. Just because your life experiences have taught you valuable wisdom doesn’t mean that other people are stupid because they don’t know the same thing. And just because someone is getting on your nerves doesn’t mean they’re doing it on purpose. Maybe they’re trying to help you. They might be trying to help you into a nervous breakdown, but at least their intentions are good. Chill out. Back off. Calm down. Take a minute or two to refocus and try again.

Maybe we don’t know what causes pride, meanness, or impatience (other than our own sin nature), but there’s plenty of explanation about what encourages patience, humility, and gentleness.

Love.

Seems to be a running theme in the Bible, doesn’t it?

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Why? Because we love each other. And we love each other because Jesus loved us first.

It’s not easy. Oh boy, it’s not easy. But I guarantee life is so much better if you listen.

A pink saddle at the Sedgwick County Fair, Hutchinson, KS

Being kind to people who you really just want to smack

Loving people is hard work. Have you ever noticed that? I mean, some people are easy to love. They’re those people who make you better. They’re the people who brighten your day when you see them. And I am so very fortunate to be surrounded by people who encourage me and make my life bright. But then, there are the other people. And they are everywhere. You know who I’m talking about. Christian or non-Christian, old or young, at work or at school or at home or even on the street, the other people take your happy mood and stomp all over it. And they almost seem to enjoy doing it. Maybe they would enjoy doing if they enjoyed anything.

Don’t pretend like you aren’t thinking of someone right now. We all have them in our lives. Those people who we cringe when we see coming. I’ve got a couple (no one in my close inner circle though, thank God), and I wish I could tell you I was a good enough Christian that I embrace them with loving, open arms. But that would be a lie. More often than not, I hide. Because hiding is so much better than having to talk to them. Because talking to them runs the risk of me saying something regrettable out loud.

After all, why not? What if they deserve it? What if that extraordinarily irritating person really just needs to be put in his or her place? What if that obstinate, arrogant moron needs a good talking to so that they understand they’re the ignorant ones?

A pink saddle at the Sedgwick County Fair, Hutchinson, KS

A pink saddle at the Sedgwick County Fair, Hutchinson, KS (because I’m going to get on my horse and ride, this morning, folks)

Today’s verses are John 13:34-35.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

This passage makes me clench my teeth because there are days–so many days–when the last thing I want to do is love people. I don’t want to love people, especially stupid people. But guess what? Do you know who said this?

Yup. Jesus Himself said this. And there’s no misunderstanding this, no matter what language you read it in, no matter what translation you read it in (yes, for any of you who might be wondering if I’m a heathen, I read multiple translations at the same time! *gasp*). And I believe if Jesus says it, I should do it, whether I want to do it or not, whether I feel like it or not, whether I even like it or not.

Jesus says to love people. I’m supposed to love people like He loves people.

Really?

Yes. Really. (Yes, I’m talking to myself right now.)

But Jesus isn’t telling us to roll over and let people walk over us. He isn’t saying that we’re supposed to walk around with our heads hanging low, sighing unhappily about how we’re supposed to love everyone. “Ho-hum. I have to love that idiot who told a lie about me.” News flash, folks. That’s not love.

Okay. I’m a little snarky this morning. Maybe I should apologize. But there’s a reason.

See, I had planned to do this post anyway because there are just certain people I encounter in life who I have a hard time being kind to. I have a hard time loving them because they just make it so dang hard. So I was going to post about loving each other anyway–and then I discovered that another WordPress blogger decided to repost something I said yesterday and proclaim to all the Internets that I am a Christian Infidel. And most of it stemmed from the fact that I made a somewhat derogatory comment about the King James Version of the Bible.

(Although my statement was less about the KJV and more about people who carry them around clubbing others with them…. “I’ll leave you to your deductions.”)

And you know, I wasn’t even angry about it. It made me laugh more than anything else. But then I got to thinking about it when I started this post. If I had the opportunity to speak to this person, what would I say to him? Not that he would care about anything I say. Obviously, he didn’t read my post. He just pulled out the part he didn’t like and decided I’m a horrible sinner (which I honestly can’t deny). But what would I say? What would I think? Could I look him in the eye and tell him that I love him? In spite of the fact that he’s pretty much twisting my words?

Well, that’s what I need to do. That’s what Jesus does with all of us, if you think about it. How often have I twisted the Bible to suit my own preferences? I’m sure I have. Everyone does. I wish we didn’t, but we do. We don’t want to submit to God’s authority, so we take it on ourselves to rationalize God’s truth to make ourselves feel better about our actions, about our inaction, about the way we treat others. Jesus knows we do that, and He still tells us that He loves us. That’s what makes Him different. That’s what makes Him Jesus.

Christians, that’s what makes us different. When we can look at the people who hurt us, the people who use us, the people who make us so angry we could just scream and tell them that we love them, they can’t say anything against it. When we look at those people–the ones who deserve to hurt, the ones who we think should be punished–and tell them that we love them because Jesus loves us, it shows that what we believe isn’t just for show. It proves that what we believe is real.

And that’s what the world needs right now. The world doesn’t need a translation of the Bible; the world needs the message of the Bible. The world doesn’t need another religious person wandering around making everyone feel guilty; the world needs to know how much Christ loves them and what He did to save them.

That’s what will change the world. It’s not me and it’s not you. It’s Jesus and His love, and the most amazing, awesome, incredible gift He has ever given us is the power and the strength and the courage to love people who don’t deserve it.

So I’m going to march over to my new friend’s blog and thank him for the pingback. He can do what he wants with it, but because of what Jesus has done for me, I am determined to love people today, especially the ones who make me mad. So watch out! If you piss me off today, I’m going to hug you!

The One O'clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

Agree to disagree

I don’t drink. That is a conviction in my life, something I have decided that doesn’t belong in my relationship with God. I take no issue with other people drinking (as long as getting drunk isn’t involved), and I have tried a sip or two of wine. But I will not drink on any sort of regular basis. For me, that isn’t a preference. It’s something I feel could become a major stumbling block in my life, so I have chosen not to do it.

I hate skirts, and I don’t particularly care for shorts. I like pants. I like jeans. But sometimes I have to wear a dress for work. Sometimes it’s appropriate to wear a skirt for business reasons. I’m not against it. Choosing to do it won’t place a stumbling block in my personal relationship with Christ. I’ll be uncomfortable (and I’ll probably grumble), but I can cope.

Coping with other people’s preferences isn’t that difficult. Coping with other people’s convictions can often be extraordinarily frustrating. I have many, many friends who have different preferences than I do. And I have even more friends who have different convictions than I do. And that’s absolutely fine. That’s awesome. Having a variety of friends from different backgrounds and in different age groups and life experiences and religions is a valuable gift.

Disagreeing on preferences is normal. Everyone likes or prefers different things. Coffee or tea? Winter or summer? Action movie or chick flick? Oxford comma or AP comma? Right? Disagreeing over preferences isn’t a big deal. Sometimes we make it a big deal, but if one person is willing to back off, usually the conflict can be resolved rather quickly. But the big problem comes when people clash over convictions. So what happens when you get to that point? What do you do when people disagree with your faith?

The One O'clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

The One O’clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

Today’s verse is Romans 12:18.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

s choices? How do you handle that? We’re supposed to do everything in our power to live at peace with others, like-minded believers and others included. If you are the sort of person who likes to call people out on what they believe, more power to you. But let me just say that if you intend to challenge someone’s faith, you’d better be completely sure about what’s true and what’s not, and you’d better be able to back it up.

I’ve had many conversations with people who’ve told me my faith is worthless because the Bible is a pack of lies. But when I challenge them in return, they tell me they’ve never read the Bible. So I won’t discuss it with them after that. I shut the conversation down because if they are going to challenge my faith without even bothering to understand what I believe and why, it’s not a discussion worth having.

Not trying to be harsh. Just being honest.

Generally speaking, I don’t challenge people’s faith or convictions. I figure people believe what they want to believe, and that choice is 100% entirely up to them. I’ll only speak up when my own faith is challenged or if someone is genuinely asking questions about it. I decided long ago not to be the sort of person who walks around with a bullhorn and a King James Version Bible looking for opportunities to beat sinners into submission. I’ve known too many people like that, and they aren’t high on my list of favorite people.

I would much rather be the person people come to over their own volition for advice and counsel and share my faith with them that way. And if you end up in that position, don’t be afraid to be open and honest about your faith. That person came to you for a reason. That means they saw something in you that was likeable and wise. So don’t screw it up by trying to sound uber-spiritual. Just be yourself. Tell them what you’ve learned about God. Most of all, just love them, but don’t compromise truth for love. That’s the worst mistake you can make.

You get truth from the Bible. You get truth from God. That’s where your convictions should come from, and, honestly, that’s where your preferences should come from too.

Is everyone going to agree with you? No way. I wish I could say they will, but they won’t. But if you strive to be honest and respectful and loving in everything you say, people will understand where you’re coming from. People aren’t always as closed minded as we think. Most of the time, if you really are a genuine Christ follower who tries to live like Jesus would, people who don’t live that way are inordinately curious. True Christ followers are puzzles to people who don’t know Him.

So be the kind of person who people want to approach. Let them ask their questions. Invite them. And then answer them truthfully with as much love as you can muster and a little bit extra that comes from the Holy Spirit and see what God does.

Don’t compromise the truth. It’s not written anywhere that compromise is required for peace between people. Sometimes agreeing to disagree is the best option. The only requirement for real peace between people is love.

A cow in the pasture at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Don’t wait for tomorrow

Procrastinators of the world, unite tomorrow! Have you heard that phrase? I saw it in a meme or something some time ago, and it made me laugh. I hate to admit this, but I’ve got a procrastinating streak in me. Not a wide one. But it’s there. And the busier I get and the more I have to accomplish, the stronger the urge to shove it all off and do something unrelated becomes. It’s not that I’m lazy; I think I just get to the point that I have so much to process, it’s easier to live in denial until the last minute.

But is that a wise way to live? No. I don’t even have to read the Bible to know that a lifestyle of procrastination isn’t healthy. It’s detrimental to your mental health and, in some instances, your physical health too.

But what does the Bible have to say about it?

A cow in the pasture at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

A cow in the pasture at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Ephesians 5:15-17.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

What is the hallmark of a procrastinator? I said it above. Living in denial. A procrastinator can ignore the deadlines and responsibilities weighing them down and waste time on something completely unreleated. Why? Because they don’t want to think.

That’s what I do. When I have too much going on, I don’t want to think about it. Thinking about everything I have to do is overwhelming, and it’s easier not to face it. At least, it’s easier not to face it at the beginning. In the end, I’m wishing I’d started thinking about it sooner.

You guys realize that the times we’re living in truly are evil, don’t you? Maybe that sounds harsh, but what is the definition of evil? In the Bible, it’s everything that goes against God. There’s no distinction between “just bad” and “pure evil.” Evil is the absence of perfection.

We live in evil days. So when you get the chance to do something for God that might make a difference in the world, why do we hesitate? Why do we put it off?

I tend toward procrastination, especially when I’m busy or when I’m sure the issue isn’t important or that my interference won’t matter. But what do I know? I had the opportunity to interfere in a situation last week, and I decided not to. Why? Well, just being honest here, I didn’t want to mess with it. I have so many other things going on, I didn’t feel like investing the time on this one issue would be worth it.

I’m not going to go into details, but a situation that developed as a result of this issue blew up last week. Now, I’m still not convinced that I could have changed anything, but at least I would have the peace of mind knowing I had tried to help stop it. As it is, I have to live with the fact that I knew about a problem and didn’t do anything to prevent it. As it is, I’ll never know if I could have helped or not.

That’s the price of procrastination. You miss opportunities. You lose the chance to make a difference. Can you always make a difference? Of course not. But isn’t it better to try and fail than to spend the rest of your life wondering?

Whatever God is telling you to do, do it today. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait until you feel ready. Just do it. Do it now because you’re not promised another day. You woke up breathing for a reason today; maybe this is your last chance to really do something great for God, whether it’s helping someone carry in groceries or just smiling at a stranger in the store. Maybe that doesn’t sound great to you, but the person you helped probably feels differently.

Put off procrastination. If you have the chance to do something good in these evil days, make the most of it. Seize the opportunity before you miss it. Either that or spend tomorrow wondering and regretting what might have been if you had.

Barn swallow nest on the front porch at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

What if

Do you ever get scared? It doesn’t have to even be about something scary–just scared in general. Of the unknown? Of trusting someone with something valuable to you? Of making the wrong decision?

I wish I could say I didn’t. I wish I could say I fearlessly charge into life without a thought about what could go wrong, but that’s not true. I’m just really talented at living in denial. I can convince myself that everything is fine, and I push forward, even though I know it really isn’t. Now maybe that’s good on some counts. Maybe it’s bad on others. And maybe some fear is justified. Regardless, fear is something we all deal with, irrational or not.

To a certain extent, fear is good for us. If we’re never afraid, we never have to embrace real courage. And if we never have to embrace real courage, we never grow. But I really believe the majority of the fears we face are things that we shouldn’t waste time or effort fearing.

Barn swallow nest on the front porch at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Barn swallow nest on the front porch at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalms 118:6.

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?

Wouldn’t you agree that the things frightening you the most in life start with “What if?” What if I lose someone I love? What if I lose my job? What if my friends don’t like me anymore? What if people get the wrong idea about me? What if–what if–what if!

I can “what-if” myself to death. I can fabricate terrifying circumstances out of nothing. I can work myself into a frenzy about a single statement from someone I barely know and can, in mere moments, have myself convinced that he/she despises me–when they really haven’t even paid any attention to me at all.

I can think of the worst-case scenario and multiply it by a factor of impossible. I can run myself into the ground planning and preparing for the apocalypse and still lose sleep at night because there’s bound to be something I forgot.

Anyone hear me? Anybody else get this? Surely I’m not the only one.

Yes, planning for the future is wise, but you can’t let your plans rule your life. You can’t let your assumptions about the unknown determine the decisions you’re going to make. Yes, be ready, but don’t live your life in fear of what if.

Make the decisions you need to make. Do the best you can with the information you have. Be diligent about the details; don’t slack off out of laziness. Do your best. And let it go.

God has it. You get that, right? I’m talking to myself here. God has this. He’s got everything under control, and nothing is going to happen that will catch Him off guard. Those people who have appeared in your life? The ones who mean so much to you, the ones you trust? God brought them along to help you.

Stop worrying. Stop being afraid. Stop letting fear make your decisions for you. Stand up to it. When fear starts whispering lies in your head, shut it out. Even better, shut it down. Fight fear with faith. If your faith is grounded in Christ, fear has no power over you. The only power fear has in the life of a Christian is the power we give it. So decide now that fear won’t gain an inch of ground in the battle of your life.

God doesn’t work through fear. Fear isn’t a very effective motivational tool. God works through love, and that’s a lot more powerful than fear any day.

That thing you’re scared of? Give it over. And if you have to let it go for good, remember that this story isn’t about you. The more you give up your life, the more life you’ll have.

My beautiful latte from Café Nero at Waverly Station, Edinburgh, Scotland

Kindness is more effective than meanness anyday

I was in Starbucks earlier this week, getting a coffee after a very long day. It hadn’t been a bad day necessarily; just crazy and stressful. And the cute little barista girl had this nutty bubbly personality. I thought she was just adorable, and as I was waiting for her to make my coffee, I noticed that she was wearing a set of earrings in the shape of the symbol for the Deathly Hallows. I’m sure they’ve been around for years, but I’d never seen a set like that before. So I told her how much I loved them, and she looked really surprised for a moment. And thanked me because she’d made them herself. She went back to making my coffee, and we continued chatting, just idle talk, and she told me as she handed my coffee over that she wished more people were like me–nice.

That kind of stuck with me (that and the fact that she also likes Doctor Who, which makes her awesome). She was a sweet, cute little barista. Why wouldn’t you be nice to her? But I guess people are people, and working with the public tends to teach you that. I remember the days working behind a counter, at the mercy of whichever customer got there first. And I guess I understand the concept of being rude and mean to make an impression, because it absolutely leaves an impression–it’s just not usually the impression you want to be remembered for.

Given the choice, wouldn’t you rather be remembered as the nice customer?

My beautiful latte from Café Nero at Waverly Station, Edinburgh, Scotland

My beautiful latte from Café Nero at Waverly Station, Edinburgh, Scotland

Today’s verse is Ephesians 4:29.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

This is something I think everyone struggles with, especially on bad days. Everyone has bad days. Everyone loses their cool. But I think this verse is talking about more than just the bad days. This verse is referring to a lifestyle. This is the way Christ-followers are supposed to behave. We’re not supposed to cut with our words; we’re supposed to build with our words. Everything we say should be encouraging and inspiring and helpful and kind. Now that doesn’t always mean that the people hearing it will respond in kind. They may get upset at us, but that’s up to them.

I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered unfriendly people who snap and bite and snarl because they want their way only to discover later that they are a professing Christian. That breaks my heart because as Christ followers we’re supposed to live a different kind of life. We’re supposed to know better than that. And I’m talking to myself here too because there are times when I get in a funk because my plans didn’t work out. There are times when I’ve gotten snappy with the lady on the other end of the telephone. But I hope I always try to be kind. I hope I always try to say good things. And when I don’t, I hope I always apologize.

Because there’s no disappointment like discovering a Christian behaving like that. Granted, just because we accept Christ doesn’t make us perfect. We’re still going to screw up, but our outlook should change. Our perspective should change. We shouldn’t use words and hurtful things to manipulate people anymore to get what we want; instead, we should trust that God will work things out the way He wants and it’s up to us to roll with the punches.

If you can walk into a place of business and be kind to everyone around you, you’ll be their biggest fan. I remember those customers when I worked at the WSU Library. I remember the ones who came in, who were kind, who were respectful, who were thoughtful and considerate. I remember them even now, and I haven’t worked there since 2006. But those people made me want to help them. Their kindness spurred me to do more for them than I needed to.

That’s what kindness does. It’s more effective than cruel manipulation any day, and it helps you build better relationships. And, what’s more, it helps you have a better day too.

So when you have the chance to get snappy today, don’t. When you’re faced with someone who you think is lazy and incompetent behind a counter and they’re not giving you the customer service you deserve, don’t get angry at them. Don’t take out your frustrations on them. You have no idea what’s going on in their lives. You have no idea what terrible troubles they’re facing right now. Be kind. Say something nice to them. Say something uplifting to them.

You’ll make their day, and I’m willing to bet that your day will probably get better too.

Flamingos at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Get a second opinion

Have you ever tried to start a new project without really know what you’re doing? It’s probably not the smartest idea, honestly, but I know folks who have done it anyway. Leaped into a commitment that was much larger than they expected. But if they would have dug a little deeper, they would have discovered what they needed to know.

That’s the funny thing about taking risks in life. They don’t have to be blind risks all the time because there’s bound to be someone else who’s had the same thoughts and experienced the same problems you have, and if you can find that person, you’ve got access to a treasure trove of information. But what if you don’t like what they tell you? You can’t exactly jeopardize your dreams just because one person thinks you’re nuts for trying it, do you?

Flamingos at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Flamingos at the Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Proverbs 15:22.

Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
    many advisers bring success.

I like to go things alone. I’m independent and stubborn, and I like to figure things out for myself without anyone’s help. I have this internal drive to prove myself capable, and for some reason it seems to me like accepting advice or help from anyone else negates any progress I’ve made along those lines.

No, I’ve never claimed to be bright.

That’s why sometimes I struggle with this verse in Proverbs, because more often than not, whenever I go looking for advice about a decision I need to make, the people I talk to discourage me from taking it. Or they don’t understand what I’m trying to accomplish. So rather than being disappointed about what I want to do, it’s easier to just not ask and struggle through the process alone. Maybe that makes me independent, but I think it probably makes me more idiotic than that.

Asking for advice is essential, whether you’re taking a risk or not. Nobody can get through life without wise counsel from someone who’s already walked that road. I mean, you can try to get through life without wise counsel, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll end up in heaps of trouble, and your life will be a lot more complicated than it needs to be. But you need to be careful where you get your advice.

Advice needs to be based on the Bible. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking relationship advice or work advice or child-rearing advice or business advice. Whatever advice you need, needs to be based on Scripture because that is the source of wisdom, so if you are getting advice from somebody that contradicts what the Bible says, you can feel free to ignore it.

But you also need to get a second opinion. Maybe that sounds harsh, but don’t put all your trust and focus in one person. Get the advice of more than one godly man or woman in your life when you need to make a decision. If they all tell you the same thing, then it’s a good chance that’s the way to go. If they all tell you something different, then you probably need to do some more praying about the decision you’re going to make.

God created us all with different perspectives, and He put us where we are in life to give us different experiences. Having a group of advisors with varied history, varied life experience, varied ages, varied everything is valuable, as long as the one thing they share is love of Christ and love of Scripture. If you have a group of people to get advice from, you’re more fortunate than you realize; you’re blessed. If you don’t have one, find one. Cultivate relationships with wise people. Learn to recognize wisdom and strive to integrate it into your life, and when you find a wise person, don’t scorn their advice. Listen to it. Consider it. Compare it to Scripture, and make your decision.

Some advice is discouraging because it contradicts what we want, but wisdom recognizes that getting what we want isn’t always what we need.

So if you’re the type who doesn’t like advice, consider learning to like it. It will probably save you heartache and frustration in the future. And if you’re the type who asks for advice, just make sure the person you’re listening is wise according to the Bible and the Spirit, especially if you’re hovering on the edge of a life-changing decision. But don’t just ask one wise person. There is more than one wise person in the world, and even though perspectives may vary, wisdom doesn’t.

Is there such a thing as too much advice? Maybe. But it’s probably better to risk too much advice than to press forward with too little.