We live in a world that suffers from an overload of advice. Good advice, bad advice… they’re everywhere. From Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram and Pinterest, it’s like we can’t get away from them. How to have flawless skin in 2 weeks. 30 ways you can learn to love your life again! Life hacks! Relationship advice! Even this article you’re reading right now—who’s to say if it’s worth your time or not? No one. Except you.
Once upon a time, only people with credibility and certain levels of qualifications were given the right to speak into other people’s lives. Information was transmitted through print, over TV or the radio. There were filters and guidelines, protocol and organization.
But today, with the explosion of freedom of expression over the Internet, everyone has wisdom to share, and everyone else is dependent on his or her own judgment to believe or not believe what is written in text or recorded on video.
After all, all it takes is the caption “So true!” for something to go viral. Before you know it, strangers from all around the world are liking and sharing these posts that they relate with—however true or skewed they may be.
Sure, people have the choice to comment, criticize, call each other names and argue with one another over who is right or wrong, but the majority of us just take it in. Like thirsty, crunchy sponges, we soak it all in and believe every post we scroll past or click on and before we know it, we have become victims of our present age: a confused mess of contradictions and everyone else’s opinions.
We try to apply everything to our current state and circumstances only to find that it doesn’t work that way. Alienation and disorientation ensues. We don’t know what’s real anymore. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong? As much as we like to believe in black and white objectivity, life is fluid and subjective with lots of gray areas in between.
And so when I broke up last week with my boyfriend of two months who also happened to be my best friend of six years, I found myself in a conundrum. I felt like my world was falling apart and so, being the millennial kid that I am, I turned to social media. As I wasted my time scrolling and scrolling through picture quote after picture quote, I became more and more of an emotional wreck.
A bunch of them were telling me that love is patient and that the strongest relationships were the ones that went through the most difficult trials. Motivational sayings of hanging in there and staying strong jumped out at me. Don’t give up! Never give up!
Then of course, there were those that were all about respecting yourself and letting go. You deserve everything good and nothing bad! Don’t let anyone else influence your choices. Walk away. Be your own person. Yada yada yada. Advice. Lots and lots of advice. Readily available—whether I wanted them or not.
Now, I am no stranger to advice and really, I have nothing against it. I come from a family of experts when it comes to advice. Both my parents are counselors who specialize in the areas of marriage and family. Dad is a pastor, mom is a behavioral analyst, my sister is a clinical psychologist, and I’m the girl who uploads Bible verses and Christian inspirational quotes to our site every single day.
I fully believe and advocate that not a single one of us is ever done learning, and none of us are above reproach. All of us, at some point or other, could certainly use a good dose of wisdom or a nudge in the right direction.
However, when there has been too much input that were never meant to all apply to a single, isolated situation at the same time, the results can be quite disastrous. Eventually, they all get mashed up into a big fat cloud of white noise. It wasn’t too long before I slapped my laptop shut and put my phone away.
As “true” as many of these sayings seemed to be, I also realized that when it comes to real life and relationships in particular, each scenario is different and unique in its own way.
Then, in the midst of all that confusion and chaos that were being transmitted between my heart and my brain, I found that there are words that I can cling to that will remain true to the end—regardless of my situation: Words that came from my Heavenly Father—the only One who understands each and every one of us better than we could ever understand ourselves.
Even as I encountered God’s Word—jumbled in with the rest of the advice that people had to offer, I saw how they stood out from the rest. Absolute, with no gray areas. Words that will never contradict. Advice that I could use in any season of my life whether I was breaking up or getting married—drowning in debt or travelling across Europe. His Word consists of advice that I could never get too much of.
While everyone else out there had situational advice to offer me, God had timeless principles that were just as readily available to me. While I was struggling to apply human wisdom to the specific circumstances of my life and trying to make sense of why they weren’t tallying, God’s wisdom goes beyond my situation and is able to ease my pain and fill me with a joy that can only come from Him.
I’m still a social media junkie. I still read stuff I come across online and glean what I can from other people’s words of wisdom. I still listen to my family and the godly counsel they offer. But at the end of the day, the words that I take most to heart and know without a shadow of a doubt to be true are the words that I find at the foot of the cross, when I’m humbled and broken before my Savior. That is where I find life, and that is where I want to be.
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