Monday, September 30, 2013

“Please Advise” Guest Post by Will Montgomery

You guys are in for a treat with this guest post by Will Montgomery. As you may have read a few weeks ago I recently finished Will's book "Lukewarm." Will is a christian writer and speaker in the Nashville area and he will pull at your heart strings with his writing, including this post.
Eat your hearts out, friends!


“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” – Proverbs 19:20 (ESV)
In my line of work, emails to and fro are a large part of the day.  Oftentimes, I will end one with the short phrase “Please advise.”  It is normally used as a next step in the thread to see where I need to take a project, sale, etc… There’s only so far I can take something until I need the other party to share with me where they want to meet.  This is not only true in business, but in all walks of life. 
Giving and taking advice is a large part of how humans interact.  Whether we ask for it or not, most people who know a situation in our lives will feel the necessity to chime in with their thoughts, opinions, and direction. 
This past summer, I went through a very difficult personal situation.  Now, I am a pretty up front, honest, “wear my heart on my sleeve” kind of guy.  So it was no surprise to me that the people I’m closest with seemed to bombard me with what they “thought” I should do.  With that said, I’ve learned five things about advice that I’d like to share with you now.  You’re welcome. ;)
Speak the Truth in Love – We seem to be experts at speaking the truth when giving advice.  However, most of us forget that little part at the end about doing so in love.  Granted, you saw this breakup of your best friend and some sleezeball a mile away, but adding insult to injury does nothing but defeat the purpose.  God’s Word instructs us to encourage one another at all times, and speaking the truth only is the antithesis of that command.  Love is always the best cushion to soften any blow.
If you ask for it, accept it – A lot of times, our friends and families simply want to use us as a sounding board under the guise of needing advice.  I can’t tell you how many times a friend has asked my advice on a certain situation, only to offer rebuttal for each tenet that I provided.  The old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it,” and that applies here.  We must be fully ready to accept the truth, regardless of how difficult that may be, especially if we ask for it. 
Seek wise and godly counsel – When it comes to asking for advice, one of the worst things we do is ask a person who isn’t qualified to give us the answer we deserve.  Either they don’t know the whole story, aren’t experts in the particular field, or have developed a bias that allows them to only speak subjectively.  Why on earth would my brother ask me for parenting advice on his 3-year-old daughter if I don’t have children?  Why would you? 
What does this winky face mean? – This is you, isn’t it?  Okay, so I’m kidding.  It’s me.  Even if a wise person in my life gives me advice on my circumstances and I couldn’t initially disagree more, I must take a moment and probe beyond the words they’ve given.  Going with your gut isn’t always the wisest choice. Feelings are deceptive and can fool us on any given day.  Trusting emotions are a gamble, and depending on them solely will lead to disaster.    
To thine own self be true – Our boy Billy Shakespeare wasn’t just the greatest writer in history.  He was sage at delivering perhaps the best advice one could ever receive.  At the end of the day, you must live with yourself.  Only you will stand before the Lord and answer for the choices you’ve made.  Therefore, only you truly know yourself (hopefully) better than anyone else could, and you must do what you feel is right.  It’s easy for people to pronounce judgment on a person, place, or thing when they aren’t the ones waking up in the morning with the life you live. 

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