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Taking Advice – Finding Mentors

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Who do go to when you have a problem – a friend, a family member, a pastor, a teacher? Are you going to a trusted person? Is this person wise and discerning? Does this person have the necessary experience?

Who we go to when we need advice is as important as the decision we need to make. How do we determine who this person should be?

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22 NIV

Pray: Before you approach somebody, pray for the wisdom and discretion to handle your situation and whom to involve in it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5 NIV

Search for commonality: Somebody who has gone through the same things that you have gone through will be able to relate to your situation better. This person should also have overcome their problem.

For instance, someone who has undergone a breakup and has not overcome the trauma of separation is not the best person to ask for relationship advice. Another example, someone who is single cannot relate to the struggles of a married person.

It’s true that nobody is devoid of problems and people are not perfect, so how do we know whether a person really has overcome their struggles and is in a position to offer advice? Such a person has made peace with their past and is not bitter

Look at their actions: Does this person follow their own advice? Do their words and actions match?

How do they solve their own problems?: This is really important because they will offer you advice from the same place.

Somebody who knows you well: A person who knows you well is able to empathize better with you. Sometimes you don’t even have to explain or tell them you’re upset, they already know.

Build your support system: Intentionally pursue good relationships and let them mentor you. So when you need someone, you automatically know where to go.

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20 NIV

Take responsibility: When you’re stressed and need to make a quick decision, we just want someone to tell us what to do without thinking about the consequences. How many of us have done this?

Even if someone’s advice didn’t work out in the way you hoped, take responsibility for the consequences. Blaming the person will not help you. That’s why it’s important who you listen to and to discern good advice from bad.

Have realistic expectations: People cannot fully understand what you are going through. They can relate only from their own experiences. If they are not in a position to help you, do not hold it against them.

If you feel alone or that nobody understands you or you cannot find someone with good qualities to support you, remember that you are not truly alone. God is with you. God doesn’t just send one person in your life. He sends many people. One person may offer you empathy, another person kindness, another person wisdom, still another person hope.

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