Am I the only one who finds it hard to give advice? I can’t be the only one who feels this way but it doesn’t seem that the world is lacking in people offering their
For the gifted empathetic person I would imagine giving advice is based on truly considering what is best for the person being offered the advice. This might require setting aside some of your own opinions on the matter if they do not apply to the situation.
For example, I was married at the age of 22 and had my first child at 24. In case you haven’t fully grasped how young that is, even though I was married and a mom, I was not allowed to rent a car without paying an additional fee for the first seven months of my son’s life. Most people are just figuring out what they want to do with their life at age 26. Me? I was a mom of three kids. Modern culture would say that I was crazy to start so young and yet, I have no regrets.
So what do I tell the 21 year old girl madly in love with her boyfriend when she asks me if she should wait to marry? I was literally once in her shoes. It didn’t feel crazy when I did it, but I think they are making 21 year olds younger these days because I don’t remember being so young when I was 21. I can answer her questions and give her some things to think about but how can my answers not be clouded by the fact that I married young with no regrets? I could tell her to wait, as most people in her generation seem to be doing these days, but what rationale would I give on why she should wait when I didn’t?
Similarly, if that same young woman were to approach someone who was also madly in love at age 21 but decided not to marry so young and instead ended up making some different life decisions with no regrets, that young woman would probably receive some very different advice. And herein lies the difficulty in seeking advice from a lot of different sources. It is great to seek advice and ideally you should only seek advice from people whom you value their opinion (i.e., Googling your question on the internet is not always the best option) but you could go insane trying to make a decision based solely on the advice from others.
So what’s a lovesick 21 year old to do?
Pray. Not because I think God will intervene Moses-style and start speaking to you from a burning bush, but because I think God cares and is the only one who can provide comfort for your situation. I personally find prayer time to be a time when I can be reminded of God’s presence in my life. Lately I’ve really been in love with a Bible verse from Joshua 1:9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged,for theLordyour God will be with you wherever you go.”
I love this verse because it doesn’t say “for the Lord your God will be with you if you make the right decision.” It says “wherever you go.” Basically, this verse is saying to be bold and brave; make the hard choices because God will be with you. It doesn’t say things will be easy and it doesn’t promise everything will work out in the end, but it does say that you won’t be alone. God will be there.
How can that verse help me when I give advice? I can remember that my advice is really just another opinion weighted by my own worldviews and experiences and ultimately what’s most important is that the person I’m advising feels confident in his or her decision. I can help provide that by telling the person how I find peace in making decisions. I can share how I pray when I feel confused. I can share the verse from Joshua. I can share that no one is ever alone in his or her decision.
To those of you seeking advice: It’s a crazy world out there. We live in a society where if you are looking for someone to validate your opinion on something it won’t be hard to find. Conversely, there are just as many people that will disagree with you. If you are seeking advice from this world you could easily become paralyzed in your decision-making ability. But there is hope because you are not alone. There is a God who is omnipresent telling you to be strong and courageous.