As a new mom, I constantly find myself bending the ear of more seasoned mothers than I. How did you handle sleep training? What brand of diapers worked for your little? Is this rash normal? Thank God for veteran moms that help newbies like me.
Not only is it instinctive and natural to ask others for advice, it is Biblical. (I knew I was on to something!) King Solomon wrote that in a multitude of counsellors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14) There have definitely been seasons of life where I've needed a multitude of counsellors - my college days, my dating years and this time of early motherhood - to name a few. I am thankful for voices that have helped to guide me when my own lack of experience left me indecisive.
Where we can stumble is when we forget to put this passage of King Solomon's in context. King Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs attempting to lead a younger generation in the pursuit of wisdom. In reference to a "multitude of counsellors," he was therefore referring to wise counsel. It is not a case of quantity over quality.
We see Solomon's own son, Rehoboam, fall into the trap of taking in a multitude of counsel from the wrong advisors in the book of 1 Kings 12. Listening to the advice of his peers over the wisdom of his elders, caused Rehoboam to lose 10 of his nation's 12 tribes to a rival kingdom.
What can I, as a young wife and mother learn from Rehoboam's lack of judgement? In a world where everyone with a free blog site and knack for writing can be an expert, how can I filter through the noise and ensure I'm guarding my heart?
Do not ask people for directions to places they have never been.
There was a married couple that often gave me relationship advice. One day, I realized that I did not admire the manner in which they treated each other. I was not willing to one day have a marriage that reassembled their own, so why would I let them influence my decisions regarding relationships? I can not receive influential advice from people who have never been where I am going.
Ask for advice from people that have "skin in the game."
There are individuals that have given of their life to benefit my own. My parents, my pastor, and spiritual advisors that have loved me for decades. I want to give weight to the voices of my life's "investors" - those that will feel my successes and failures much more deeply. Those are the voices that will tell me the truth, even when it is not something I want to hear. My success is theirs as well. My failures hurt their hearts. They have a personal stake in my choices.
Listen to THE voice.
It is almost a reflex, isn't it? I'm having a bad day, so I pick up the phone and call my bestie. But how often do I instinctively drop to my knees and speak to the Lord? How often do I listen? John 10:27 says that we can hear the voice of our Shepherd and follow. And when His audible voice is silent, I can go to his voice on the page. Psalms 11:105 says His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. When my path seems dark and my footing unsure, His Word will ALWAYS shed light on the situation.
When it is all said and done, I have a responsibility to "vet the voices," helping to guide my thinking and influencing my choices. Perhaps not every voice deserves clout in my life. Perhaps not every blogger is credible. Perhaps not every Instagram influencer is trustworthy. We need spiritual awareness to the noise we hear through social media, entertainment, our friends and work environments. Let us live alert and pray for discretion as to what opinions we allow to seep into our daily living. Most of all, let us live listening for the voice of our Shepherd.