82 AdvicePosted: November 21, 2013
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 : )
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