I had to make a really hard decision this past weekend. Before I could come to a conclusion, I had to understand some important pieces to ensure that I exhausted all of the possibilities within my power.
When I was younger (childhood through my twenties) a number of my decisions and reactions were based upon what others would think of me. I wondered what people would say or do or how I’d be perceived. And as a result, the decisions I made left me with more anxiety and smiling faces that surely shared their real two cents outside of my presence. As I’ve grown into a woman, not only by age, but more importantly by experience, I realize that decisions are still hard to make, and seeking wise counsel helps.
Here’s the thing about wise counsel though, in order for it to be WISE you have to evaluate those from whom you choose to seek counsel. If and when there is a decision to be made that involves another person, it is MOST BENEFICIAL to have a conversation with that person FIRST. Why first? This person deserves to know what is happening and have their say about whatever the issue may be. If you don’t converse with them FIRST, you give your counsel the power to use an imbalanced perspective, which sways them to take on your perspective, leaving you pumped up because your emotions have gained momentum, and a following (when the real issue could simply have been a miscommunication between two people.)
After FIRST having the conversation with the person involved, there are a few questions to ask yourself.
1. What does my counsel have to gain or to lose from the advice he/she gives me?
2. Does this counsel share my faith and instruct me to pray and listen for a word from God to confirm or dispel the counsel he/she has given me?
3. How does this counsel feel about my growth in life? Does he/she want to keep me at the level I’m at for their benefit or does he/she push me to grow even if it causes me discomfort to do so?
4. Is my counsel causing me to hold on to my past or challenging me to move forward into my bright future?
I’ve lived long enough to know when someone has been give wise or unwise counsel regarding me. I can see in the way they move, I can hear it in the way they talk and respond. If the counsel is unwise, I understand that the cardinal rule has been violated, ” If and when there is a decision to be made that involves another person, it is most beneficial to have a conversation with that person FIRST.” The counsel has already swayed the mind and behaviors of the one who sought them out.
So back to my big decision…
Where did all of this leave me?
It left me with enough information to make an informed decision. It left me with enough space to re-evaluate the mental strength of a person who could turn a concern into a complaint and a complaint into a decision while never having had a conversation with the person to whom it pertained. It left me with time to grieve the decision I had to make before I ever made it. It left me with the peace Jesus left with me. It left me knowing, trusting and believing that God always replaces “good” with “best.” It left me accepting that the counsel given was WISE for this situation because it gave me what I needed to become better. It left me with the courage to walk away…and that is when all of the uncertain anxiousness “left me.”
“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7