Too Much Advice
Advice, I often find myself seeking advice, counsel, or recommendations from others regarding their thoughts on situations that I face. Sometimes these situations involve the person I am seeking the advice answer from and sometimes they are just a sounding board in which I would like their opinion. A “what would you do” moment and answer from a family member, friend, or spouse can sometimes help settle a decision that I may have already decided upon but just want toÂ assure myself that I am not thinking alone and am on the right path.
All too often however when I seek others’ advice I do not get the answer that I hoped I would and continue seeking advice until usually I have so confused myself that I no longer have any idea which way I may want to proceed in the final decision-making process. This is where I have found myself this week as IÂ am facingÂ a dilemma in which not only could I not decideÂ how I wanted to proceed but I have so confused the issue that I no longer have any idea of how to move forward. I have now received so manyÂ differing opinions I feel frozen in my response.
It all started a week ago when I received an invitation to attend a birthday event for an extendedÂ family member who will be turning eighty soon. My first reaction was how wonderful and great it would be to beÂ part of that event. So you are probably thinking what is the issue? Well unfortunately there are so many issues that I couldn’t name them all but I will give you a brief synopsis of them. The first and foremostÂ issue is that the event is about nine hundred miles away from me. The second issue of equally importance is my obligations to my family that I live with and the grossÂ inconvenience of the responsibilities that others will have toÂ take onÂ if I travel the distance to this event.Â The third issue is twofold as it involves elements ofÂ both “time” and “costs” of which limitations are prevalent. As I began to consider the distance, responsibilitiesÂ others would have to endure, along with theÂ cost and time limitations I really began to reconsider my first reaction. So I did what many of you may also do as you ponder decisions, I began to discuss this with others to gain their advice. ThisÂ has now complicated the issue so much further that I amÂ presently in a quandary of indecision.
I have been given a variety of pro-advice such as; cost-effective airlines to travel on, where to fly into, how to drive, suggestions of traveling with other family members, how to navigate from the airport, and where I can stay. The opposing side of advice has varied as much with suggestions of; just sending my celebrations and well wishes in a letter, reminders that my immediate personal family, whom I live with, is more important, inconvenience to others in multiple ways, and my obligations at home. There are also many other underlying things that I will not bore you with but they have also been factored into the mix. The result is that with all the advice I have received no one has been able to consider them all together and give me the answer that I need or want. In other words no one can seem to solve all the issues the way I want them solved. I have received the advice but do not want to act upon the answers becauseÂ no matter what decision I make all the finalÂ scenario answers will not achieve what I desire. Ultimately the decision must be mine alone to make and to live with the consequences of that decision knowing that I cannot please everyone including myself.Â I think what IÂ want is someone to just to tell me what to do but I know deep down that it not the advice that I truly want either.
As I have thought about this decision, past decisions, and decisions that the future holds I realize that many times we seek advice but then do not act upon that advice. Many times we do not seek advice from sources that are trustworthy and reliable as we are just attempting to justify what we want to do by seeking advice from like-minded people. So what are we to do and how are we to attemptÂ to solve our own decisions? The Bible tells us we must begin there, in the book of instruction and accept and act uponÂ the advice written in the word of GodÂ not letting our own desires take the lead. We should allow God who loves us to guide us and give advice on how we should proceed in our life. This week’s focus verse is from Psalms 32:8;
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (NLT)
Seeking God First for Advice
If we are seeking advice we know we have a problem that needs to be solved. The problems we seek advice for can be huge like what kind of medical treatment is best for an illness,Â how family and friends need to face another member on an addiction issue, or how to care for an aging parent with multiple siblings of different opinions. The problems can also be minor in significance such as my current issue of whether to attend a birthday celebration of an extended family member so very far away. We can rest in the assurance that God is standing by waiting for us to ask Him for guidance or advice of how to proceed no matter the size of our issue. He does not force us to follow His way but gives us the free-will of choice and we often exercise that free-will in selfish ways by seeking the advice of others before we have sought the advice of God.
We must start with God because He knows all. There is no way that anyone can know all the ins and outs of our problems and the decisions weÂ face but God does. When we seek advice from others without first seeking advice from God we are only getting partial advice as the person offering the advice can only answer from the perspective of the information they are aware of. Whereas when seeking advice from God HeÂ is fullyÂ aware of all including how we really feel about the issue to begin with. We can take assurance in the fact that God is watching over us and it is with Him that our hope must be placed. (Psalm 33:18-19) The Lord is good and He does what is right and will help guide us with advice to return to the best pathway for our life if we allow Him. (Psalm 25:8) We must rely on the advice of God knowing that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When seeking advice pastor, Chris Russell of Veritas Church in Liberty Township, OH, developed and suggestedÂ thirteen questions we should answer to help finalize a decision seeking our advice from God.
1. Does God already have a clear teaching about this? (Joshua 1:8)
2. What do my top spiritual advisors tell me about this? (Proverbs 11:14)
4. How will this affect me spiritually? (1Â Corinthians 10:23)
5. How will this affect my family? Will this draw us closer to God or further from God (1 Corinthians 8:9)
6. Is this going to bring more peace or less peace in my life? (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
7. Is this consistent with the way God has wired me? (1 Peter 4:10)
8. Am I paying attention to the risks that are associated with this? (Proverbs 27:12)
9. Do I have total peace from God about this? (Philippians 4:7)
10. Are the doors of circumstances clearly open here? (Acts 16)
11. Is now the best time for this? Could waiting be better? (Ephesians 5:16 – 17)
12. Am I willing to let God close this door? (Acts 16)
13. Am I willing to trust God? Is He asking me to step forward? (Hebrews 11:6)
So as we determine an issue that we desire to seek advice from we first must start with God and then follow it by seeking advice fromÂ knowledgeable godly people regardingÂ our particular subject. Once we have sought the advice we must act upon it. Seeking advice without following it up with action is a waste of time and fruitless in its outcome. There is no magic formula for solving the problems of this world but God does allow us the free-will to seek His advice and He is waiting for us to do so whether our dilemma is large or small.
Have a great week remembering to seek God in all things you do for it is there you will find peace and the best pathway for your lifeÂ revealed.
Love in Christ,
In the words of Joyce Meyer, “No decision is a decision” and since I simply cannot stand by and allow indecision to take place because it is a decision that no one will be able to understandÂ I will be revisiting my current dilemma. I willÂ seek God’s advice first and then factor in the knowledge of godly people who surround me which is what I should have done to begin with.
What are Your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion on Getting Advice.
Do you seek the advice of others or God first? Do you find yourself having problems making decisions? Have you faced a decision in which you gained too much conflicting advice from other people? Do you find it difficult to hear God’s direction in your life? How do you use advice that you are given? Join us in discussion on this topic or related topicsÂ of taking and acting upon advice.