82 Advice

Secret number 14 to finding humility relates to giving and receiving advice.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.    James 1:19

We have clear ideas about what we like and what we hate.  Giving advice comes naturally; receiving it…can be painful and disheartening.  We have many ideas and need to learn not to be arrogant about them.  Thinking we know so much and that we could benefit many people with the insights we have may cause us to lose opportunities to learn.  We need to receive advice, not just give it.

In our pride, we think we have all the answers.  We have some answers, but we do not have the capacity to solve others’ problems.  We do well to listen and offer some ideas as long as we can offer and share them without any expectation of them using the ideas we give.  Others need to struggle through to find answers to their problems.  Even if the answer seems glaringly and painfully obvious to us, we need to give them space to struggle through to their resolution with God.  Offering our ideas to others not expecting them to use the ideas, makes us safe people for them.

Alternatively, we need to be open to receive others’ advice.  While, it is true that others cannot solve our problems, it is also true that others have useful and beneficial insights from which we can learn.  Moreover, we can hold loosely advice that others give to us; consider what they say without immediately dismissing or embracing it.  Remember, we are a fragrant aroma (II Corinthians 2:15).  It does not matter what others think of us.  We can care for each other while not caring about what others think about us.

The process of holding loosely involves a level of flexibility.  As we consider what others tell us, we need to keep in mind that we do not have to do things a certain way.  Part of perfectionism is being set in a certain way of thinking, holding a rigid adherence to a set of self-made rules.  If what someone tells us goes against our rules, we dismiss it.  Yet the rules we have could be wrong.

One rule has served me well over the years:  always check what price rings up at the cash register.  During the early years of our marriage, our grocery store would give the item free if it rang up with a price different from the shelf price because they were so confident that their system was accurate.  I did not share their confidence in their system.  We received many free things at this grocery store for a few years.  Once, we got a free cooler.

Regardless of all the free things we got, I learned to let go of the rule of checking each item.  It became a burden and stressed my relationship with my wife.  Sometimes we were in a hurry to get somewhere, yet I would still take the time to check the receipt [Marguex, upon editing, “Argh!!!!!”].  Even if we saw at the register something ringing up incorrectly, pointing that out would take time because someone would have to verify the correct price.  I still remember a 5-quart container of ice cream for which we were overcharged.  I decided to let it go in order to give us more time [Marguex is asking, “Is this the letting go of which you speak?  Ice cream?  5-quart? Really?!”]

My point is learning flexibility.  We can benefit if we sometimes let go of the rules and try something new.  That is the essence of receiving advice.

Learning flexibility with humor,

Noah Woodrich and Marguex (who puts her name here only under duress : )

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

81 Seeking to Understand

Secret number 13 to finding humility is seeking to understand rather than to be understood.

FYI, the numbers on these secrets are arbitrary.  They are not in order of importance, although I see the first two, weakness and worship, as especially key.  I have sought to put them in some kind of order as far as how they relate to one another, such as putting thankfulness after receiving gifts.  I hope this is sheds some light and is “understandable”.  :)

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.  He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.  Proverbs 18:12-13

We like feeling understood.  That is understandable.  We also have ideas that need to be heard by others and they have ideas we need to hear.  Our tendency, however, is first to seek to be heard and wait to hear others until later.  Let’s consider reversing that order—listen first and understand before seeking to be understood.  To so do on a consistent basis is humbling.  We know that our ideas are good.  Let us humble ourselves and consider others’ ideas just as important as our own.

Some of you may find it odd that I would even be saying this, “Of course other people’s ideas are as valid as my own!”  Let me tell you, part of me really believes I have the best ideas around.  Yes, that is grandiose and self-idealistic to think that God has bestowed on me, Phil Sigafus an extra special amount of wisdom and insight.  I hate even to admit it, yet I need to follow my own advice and confess (see the earlier humbling technique—confession).  I confess that I am proud.  God, please have mercy on me, a sinner!

So what do you think?  Now search your heart.  Do you secretly think that you have all the answers?  Do you wish that people would be silent, sit at your feet in wonderment and awe and just listen to you?  If they did and followed your sage advice, they would have better lives.  In fact, the whole world would be a better place if you were in charge, right?

Not to diminish what you know.  You do have a lot of good ideas.  Just remember, other people have good ideas, too.

I have a tendency to think very highly of myself.  I see that as I write these blogs.  Again, I recommend that you hold what I am saying loosely.  Allow God to speak to your heart.

From someone with a lot to say, and learning not to be proud of it,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

80 Receiving Compliments

Secret number 12 to finding humility is receiving compliments.  We learned not to boast.  Refraining from praising self, nurtures humility.  Receiving compliments also requires humility.

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.  Proverbs 27:2

We know that arrogance is wrong.  The Bible says a lot about it.  We do not want to appear arrogant.  So we push away compliments.  We confuse eschewing compliments with humility.

When we receive compliments, we humbly admit that we want them.  We need to build one another up in faith.  Others’ regard helps us know that we are doing well and others appreciate our contributions.  Compliments connect us with each other.  None of us can live life alone.  Solitary living increases perfectionism.  We need feedback.

We resist compliments because of shame.  Shame says that we do not deserve compliments.  Also, someone who compliments us today may insult us tomorrow.  We need to press through this shame and the fear that accompanies it.  Receiving compliments gives us the opportunity to let go of our shame, to let go of the fear.  We humble ourselves as we let go and acknowledge our need for connection with others by receiving their accolades.

People see things about us, which we cannot see in ourselves.  Hearing what they have to say gives us a new perspective.  We may not even realize what we say or do may be noticed let alone appreciated.  Praise from others gives us that awareness.

Receiving compliments also opens us to influence from others.  We might push away praise because we do not want to be vulnerable.  God can employ others to speak into our lives.  When we open ourselves to others, we open ourselves to God.  Because we need godly influences in our lives, we need to be with other believers.  To the point, God can utilize even non-believers to speak truth into our lives.

We apply discernment to the compliments we receive.  We may fear others will control us with praise.  After all, we know people who have used compliments to attempt to get us to do something we were not willing to do.  Yet, letting fear control us cuts us off from life with God.  This need not be.  When others try to use us, we need to put our trust in God.  He will deliver us and show us the way.

You may have no trouble receiving compliments.  You want to hear some.  Give some away and you may find some coming back to you.

Our ultimate approval comes from the Lord.  “My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)  Receiving and giving compliments together with others opens a space within our hearts to receive His praise.

Expecting some awesome feedback,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com