Sunday, December 30, 2007

So, What Do You See

It’s not often that we ask our friends or family what they see that we could be doing better in our lives. If you want to be really honest here we don’t really ask people for advice about our lives unless we know what they are going to say. It is a rare thing to ask a friend “what do you see in this circumstance that I could be doing better?”

We are so quick to invite help into our lives only when we are in our comfort zone of asking. Take water skiing for instance, while skiing I see and feel the things that I am doing wrong or need to improve in. When I get to the end of the course I usually ask “what did you see?” You would not believe the responses I get sometimes. If the person was paying attention they will be sharp and quick to tell you, “lean more behind the boat, don’t pull in with your arms, your giving up your angle.” The list goes on and on. I won’t always ask, sometimes I will just look into the boat with a look of “help me.”

If the person riding in the boat says something like “well, I really didn’t see anything,” then you know they may not have been paying attention to your skiing. This is not a problem by the way, sometimes I prefer for them not to be watching me, I can stay focused on my task and that is simply getting through the course. Think about that statement just for a minute “I prefer them not to be watching so I can just focus on getting through the course.”

We don’t like people watching us with the intent of telling us what we need to do to become better at what we are trying to accomplish. This is especially true in the case of our spiritual lives and our family life.

Has anyone ever told you how to raise your child? I have been told and my response to them was not Christian. Has anyone ever told you “you're wrong in what you are doing, you are hurting the body of Christ with that attitude and your sin is causing problems.”

That’s a tough one I know but these are statements that we don’t often hear. I wonder why that is? I believe it’s the fact that some of us are bound by pride, some bound by embarrassment, and some are bound by fear. We may not want to know what others are think about our inner lives. This is a very trusted area and granted you shouldn’t go to everyone asking for their advice. One thing for sure there isn’t a shortage on advice. The other thing I might add is, be careful of the person who has put their life in a tiny box and if you are not working inside of those boundaries then you will always be wrong. Just be careful in who you are asking and what you are asking for.

There is a madness behind this story. I was reading in Jonah the other day and though about this. This is one of my favorite books in the Bible and holds many principles of life. In chapter one it says, “One day long ago, God's Word came to Jonah, Amittai's son: "Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They're in a bad way and I can't ignore it any longer." But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get.”

I thought what if Jonah had a friend who he trusted and could have talked to and ask “what do you think about this?” Would the outcome have been any different? Would he still have run from God? I’m not sure what I would have said to Jonah, maybe I would have agreed with him and said run, those people are crazy over there in Nineveh. Maybe I would have said “let’s pray and seek God on this, He will confirm this for you and give you the strength you will need in this task.”

The point I am making is in life you can’t always go it alone. God has given you friends for a reason, you may need an extra set of eyes and an extra set of ears for any given circumstance. So, give up that old prideful attitude, give up that spirit of embarrassment and give up that fear of being told something you don’t want to hear. Remember you are asking them for a word of advice and what you get you don’t have to use. Before you ask anybody for anything, ask God first.


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