I’ve had several people give, or attempt to give me, advice. I’ve also given, or attempted to give, advice to others. But in all honesty, who am I to give advice? To act like I know exactly how someone should live their life?
We’ve all had experiences that enable us to help others more, but I think so many people advise with the wrong motives. I can’t help but sometimes wonder if it would be better to not advise at all.
Antigone’s Clamor recently did a post on burdens, and it inspired me to write a post about my thoughts.
I agree that we are called to carry each other’s burdens, but I’m still trying to fully understand exactly what that means. I tend to physically carry others burdens. Which is exhausting and unhealthy. I’m not talking about being able to cry and laugh with people. For me, it’s more about taking their burden upon myself, and relying on myself to fix it. Sometimes I feel like Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress. I take those burdens and heap them on my back until I want to fall over from the weight and pain.
I’ve been learning how to let go. To trust. To accept and realize that the Lord has it all in His hands. It’s not my job to fix every problem. It’s not my job to take it upon myself and bear the burden in the way I have been.
Right now where I’m at in life, the Lord has been showing me that bearing the burden of another is to be there for them. When they need to cry, I can be there to cry with them. When they need to laugh, I can be there to laugh with them. When someone needs to just dump and talk something out, I can be there to listen. Bearing the burdens of another can also mean talking about them to the Lord. Lifting them up in prayer and watching the Lord work.
This goes back to giving advice. I think sometimes advice can be given with the wrong motives. It can be given because we are trying to ‘fix’ or control someone else’s situation. It can be hard to give advice and allow the person to make the decision on their own. To have the freedom to not take the advice given them.
“The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. ”
-Hannah Whitall Smith
In reality, we’re not them and we’re not in that situation. I’m not saying that I’m completely against advice, I just feel that it’s given too freely and not always for the right reasons. Maybe, instead of giving it so often, we should encourage one another to lean on Christ and go to Him for answers. Pray with each other and learn to rely on the One who knows exactly how to handle each situation. This applies to those who are in the situation, and those who are wanting to ‘fix’ their problem.