If you’re an advice-giver like me, you probably have a number of people who come to you asking for insight on various problems. Because you are outside the situation, you are able to give encouragement or share a bit of wisdom with that person. It’s wonderful to be able to be a safe space for people to come and express themselves. Being able to give advice to those who need it is an immense privilege that I try my best to steward well.
But what happens when you begin dishing out advice that you simply aren’t taking yourself?
If I’m being completely honest, I fall into this particular trap more than I’d like to admit. I will often give a lot of wise advice but then somehow think that I am immune from this wisdom myself—how foolish!
Recently, I was speaking with a friend who is a lot like me: she has so many dreams and goals and things to work on that she tends to juggle many projects at one time, gaining little traction on any of them. I encouraged her to be daring enough to narrow her focus so that she would be able to achieve some of her goals. Then, as she’s able to complete one thing, she can then move to the next and the next and the next.
But, immediately after sharing this with her, I turned around and began working on three other things at the same time.
It took me a little while, but amidst my frantic working and juggling of too many things, I realized just how foolish my actions had been. While I knew the advice I had given this friend was good, I thought that I was somehow exempt from the wise words I had shared.
This caused me to wonder how often we do the same thing with God.
It’s so easy to hear the voice of the Lord for other people and feel certain of the direction he wants them to go, but how often do we apply these things to ourselves? To our own lives?
We can believe that our best friend is fearfully or wonderfully made. Or the thing that our neighbor is going through is a momentary and light affliction that God will be glorified through. Or that God has a plan and purpose for our coworker who is a little down on themselves.
But then we struggle to believe all of those things for ourselves.
What would it look like if we believed that we were fearfully and wonderfully made?
What if we lived like children of God who he loved and sacrificed himself for?
How would the world change if we lived out of a place of hope and faith?
One thing that I am hyper-aware of in this season is the fact that everything we do is motivated by what we believe. If we believe that we are hopeless and worthless then we will live like it. If we trust that we are chosen and beloved and redeemed all of our behaviors will follow suit.
Today, my prayer is that we are each able to take our own advice. Rest if you need to rest; work if you need to work. Be wise, gracious, and faithful with yourself, just as you are with others. You are uniquely equipped, intentionally made, and deeply worthy—and so am I.
Let’s choose to live and work from a place of identity today, knowing that all of our behaviors will follow suit. We don’t have to have the appearance of perfection because perfection loves us. And we don’t have to have all the answers, instead, we can be obedient and follow our Father to the best of our abilities.
Do you tend to struggle to take your own advice?
Is there a promise from God that you tend to struggle to believe?