Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ever Asked for Advice You REALLY Didn't Want?

Jenn here. We've all done it, wrestled with a decision, and on a whim, decided to state our issue and ask for opinionated advice. Be careful what you ask for--you just might get it!

I belong to lots of writing loops, but on one of them a person asked for some advice regarding a decision on a manuscript. I watched as individuals posted their thoughts and advice and then I paid attention to her response to all of them. It was very obvious, she was swayed toward the comments that affirmed what she REALLY wanted to do, but didn't give much consideration to the advice that opposed her.

Think about it. When you ask for people's opinions, are you really asking for opposing viewpoints that you will be open to considering, or are you really asking people to affirm what you have already decided you want to do?

Do we do the same thing to God when we go to Him in prayer about decisions we need to make?

I have. One thing that has helped me is to discern if I have peace about something. It's hard to not to fall into that "false sense of peace" and fool ourselves when we really want to do something or we are afraid of missing out on a great opportunity. 

So often, I've heard people make a decision and when things don't go well, they say, "But I prayed about it! It's what I thought God was leading me to do!" You may have prayed about it, but you may not have REALLY listened. You might have listened to your feelings more. There isn't one person in the universe who hasn't done this. We are all guilty, but if we can be strong enough to realize it, we might be able to prevent future mistakes by learning from these lessons of life.

I mentioned in the comment section on of the other posts this week that one of my spiritual gifts is the prophetic, as result, so is discernment. Granted, that doesn't mean I don't sometimes make mistakes, but I'm usually a pretty good judge of character. I sense oppressing spirits trying to influence people's decisions and behaviors--such as jealousy, strife, animosity, greed, manipulation, pride, fear, etc. I can meet someone and in 10-20 minutes tell a lot about that person.

For this reason, when someone asks me my opinion, I'm hesitant to give it. My experience has been that they don't really want the truth, but an affirmation. When you post a question on a writing loop, be prepared. You might not receive the affirmation you seek, but the truth. Also, keep in mind that the majority does not always provide the truth, there are a lot of followers in this world.

What about you? Have you had any of these experiences? Be general, and not too specific.

9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. I deleted a comment that I didn't feel needed to be posted.

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  3. Hi Jennifer. Hope you've been able to defeat the pollen.

    Advice? Yes, I do ask for advice, but I guess I'm one of those who really want to hear it. Even if I've made up my mind, I'll still ask because I figure there's always an option I've not considered. Even if I ask and reject the advice, I feel as if I'm being more thorough. After all, God does tell us to seek counsel from others with more wisdom than ourselves.

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  4. I agree with you 100%, Jenn. And, like you, I've been guilty of listening to those who affirm what I really want. In the last few years I've noticed that every time I need advice, no matter what it's about, when my first instinct is to call a friend, the Spirit stops me and says, "She's not the one you need to be talking to." That's always my cue to stop, drop, and pray. But you're right, then we have to listen. Sometimes God does speak through other people. But usually they're the ones saying the things we don't really want to hear.

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  5. That is a really interesting discussion for me right now, because I'm in the middle of trying to make a life decision and have asked a lot of my friends to pray for me about it. As a result, I have gotten a lot of advice, and I have noticed how swayed I have been toward the different sides depending on what my friends say because I really just don't know what to do. So I would say that I am definitely open to both sides, but almost to a fault. I assimilate the opinions of others too easily when I don't have an idea of what I want to do myself. This is a general character flaw of mine. Not specific to this one event.

    And I wish I could say that God's voice was what trumps everything, but that's not always true, either. In this particular instance, God is being oddly silent. And it's very frustrating.

    So I'm just commenting to say thanks for this post. It was great food for thought for me today.

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  6. Diana, I'm trying. I don't know if you saw my FB post or not, but when I got my allergy shots this week my arm swelled up to the size of an egg and wouldn't go down for hours. I finally had to take couple of Benedryl and it knocked me out. I'm on my maintenance dose, same thing as last week. I don't know what would have made it do that. We're getting a lot of rain this weekend so I'm praying it washes away some of the pollen.

    Yes, God does tell us to seek "wise" counsel. I think we need to discern who is wise. Too many voices like what Job had to endure, could hinder us from God's will. Some of those individuals who counseled Job were well-respected people in the community, but they were still wrong. It can be hard.

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  7. Mindy, It's so important to listen to those little, gentle promptings from the Holy Spirit.

    There is one individual in my extended family who does not need to ask too many people for advice. I've watched her allow her mind to be persuaded in 20 different directions on issues, and she often goes with whoever gave her advice last. I usually pray that God's voice will drown out all the others who she has gone to for counseling--that she will hear His will above everyone else.

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  8. Rebecca,

    Thanks for sharing your situation. I pray that you will be able to hear God's voice above all the counsel you've received. If possible, try to wait until you have peace about your decision. Try and get to that quiet place in God. Have you thought about prayer and fasting? That sometimes helps me when it is a HUGE decision and I really don't know what to do.

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  9. Great post, Jenn. I've found lately one thing that has helped me is to ask for prayer (not advice) and to also pray that God will blow me over with a strong sense of direction. Or that He'll blow me over with an answer.

    Twice, recently, God has awakened me from a dead sleep at an odd time (2:30 am and 6 am) with a clear thought in my head. I truly feel like that's Him guiding me.

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