When We Get Advice We Don’t Want

I love getting advice. Whether it’s for little things such as picking out what to wear for church the next day, or more significant things like what I should major in, I enjoy getting other people’s opinions on things.

What I don’t love, on the other hand, is listening to and taking that said advice. Not for the little things such as picking out what to wear (because I trust that Dongsaeng has a better fashion sense than I). I mean for the big things, like college, relationships, the future, etc.

Sure, I can nod and agree to everything someone just told me, but deep down in my heart I know that I’m still going to follow my way.

Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

This probably happens most often with my parents. My parents are usually the first people I go to for advice. I have been very blessed to have a mom and dad I can trust and be comfortable around 100%. However, this means that when I disagree with them I will immediately speak out.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

“Mom, Dad, what do you think about (…)?”

“Well, I think that it’s best if (…).”

“Hmm… No I don’t think that will work because (…). I think I should (…) instead.”

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“But (…) is a lot better than what you just suggested.”

“Why did you ask for my advice if you don’t even want to listen to what I have to say?”

Sigh. This has happened a countless number of times. Just ask my parents.

Yes, I do love asking for advice. But when it comes to listening and applying it…that’s a different story.

Why? Because I tend to have my own agenda that I want to stick to. And when I ask for advice, it’s because I want my own agenda to be approved and confirmed by others, not because I want to listen to what they have to say. When someone gives advice that I don’t want, I immediately reject it.

Why is this a problem? There are plenty of Bible verses that tell us God’s point of view on advice:

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (Proverbs 19:20)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 24:6)

Disclaimer: I am definitely not saying that we should take every single piece of advice that we get. Notice in the last verse that it says wise guidance, not just any kind of guidance. Also, Proverbs 3:6 says that we should acknowledge God in all our decisions. This means we should 1) be careful who we are taking advice from, and 2) weigh every piece of advice we get against the Word of God. Even if we get advice from someone we trust 100% (parents, pastor, etc.), we should always weigh their words against the Truth.

I lately realized another reason why we need to be willing to take advice. If we cannot take the advice of those around us, how can we take advice and direction from God? 

My mom loves to remind me, “Yovela, make sure when you are praying, you pray without bringing your own agenda to God.”

I want to share a beautiful analogy I heard a while ago: When we pray, we shouldn’t bring a notebook full of our own plans and then ask God to put His stamp of approval upon it. Instead, we hand God a blank notebook, blank except for our stamp of approval upon it. Then we can ask Him to fill it in with His plans. This is surrendering our will to God. We say, “God, here is my life. Tell me what to do. Whatever it is, I will do it.”

This is very difficult. Believe me- this is something I have and probably will continue to struggle with. But let us ask God for humbleness and a willingness to empty our agenda books and take the godly advice of others around us- even if it’s advice we don’t want.

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