Monday, June 21, 2010

Would You Like Advice With That?

I talk a lot. A lot. I love to jabber. It runs in my family. I'm also a good listener. When I take a breath or a drink, and someone gets a word in, I'm a great listener... I always find myself giving advice. Not offering advice, but just serving it up unsolicited. Now honestly, I would imagine that most of my friends know better than to share anything with me if they aren't interested in hearing my opinion. They would also probably say that I usually give helpful and solid advice. But lately, I've been feeling a need to step back and listen more and talk less.

Maybe I'll just run a marathon instead. It might be easier. (If you know me, laugh. If you don't, just know this: I would be as likely to walk on my hands for 26 miles as I would to run it.)

For a long time, it has been my prayer that I would think before I speak. Novel idea, right? I struggle so much in this area. I'm way better than I used to be, but I still have a long way to go. (Wow, that statement applies to so many areas of my life... Thank you, Jesus, that you will not give up on me until you've finished what you've started. Hallelujah!) These days, I'm more app to say, "Well, if it were me, I'd blah blah blah." Or, "Well, for me, yada yada yada." For the most part, gone are the days when I would bluntly, and in the most non-gentle way possible, say, "Girl, you need to tell him this, this and this. And quick!" Or, "What were you thinking? You should yada blah blah." My filter has gotten better, but there's definitely room for improvement.

A couple of years ago I had a serious Aha!! moment when I read this verse:

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I realized that just because I feel like saying something, doesn't make it beneficial. Even if it's timely, sound, life giving advice. If it isn't asked for, appreciated or wanted? Well, it could do more harm than good. Especially in relationships where no accountability has been agreed upon. It is so not cool to try to hold someone to a standard that they haven't asked you to hold them to.

While it would be awesome if someone read a lightning fast disclaimer (not unlike the horrifying drug commercials) before or directly after venting about this, that or the other problem, stating: This grouch session is solely for my benefit and your only requirement is to listen, nod and agree with how wretched my life is; I'm guessing more often than not that won't be happening. So it is my job to listen, nod and (possibly) agree with whatever, but it's also my job to ask...

Would you like advice with that?

Either way, bless you, drive through. :)

1 comment:

  1. I love it Rachel!! I have been working on this since I could speak. A reminder is alway welcome though :) Thanks.