When I have work to do, I love to find shortcuts to make it happen, and often the easy way is to get counsel from others who have done it before. Posts on Facebook asking for ideas and suggestions lead me to believe that I am not alone in seeking wisdom from those with experience.
Mentors, parents, friends, conferences, and insightful conversations can serve as sources for wisdom. I highly recommend them whether searching for the quickest and easiest way to clean a dirty oven, finding options for disciplining an unruly child, or seeking ministry ideas for leading other women to spiritually fulfilling lives.
I may be the queen of conferences, classes, and conversations. I love brainstorming and learning from others’ experiences, but they carry important limitations. The way God speaks to me isn’t how he speaks to my friends. (He didn’t talk to Moses in the same what that he spoke to Gideon or Daniel.) my situation is never exactly the same as someone else’s. What worked for one church doesn’t always work for another.
The danger with hearing from others is believing that it’s a shortcut—that following their suggestions and ideas is the way to go instead of waiting for God to point to my unique path. The counsel of others is a way of expanding my thinking, but it’s not a shortcut.
Because God gives each of us a unique path, God must guide. He knows not only our hearts and personalities but also the dangers ahead on the well-worn paths that others travel. In fact, shortcuts often provide the illusion that we and our friends are smart enough to figure it out without God’s help—a real danger to our attachment to the true source of our power.
Getting input from others can only serve as one aspect of our search for wisdom. While we should diligently do our research (reading books or articles, as well as talking to other people), it is important to seek God at the same time and as the final word. God is our best guide, our greatest counselor, and the power behind the work that we do. Respect the wisdom of others, but listen to God for your answer.
“And your ears shall hear word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Is. 30:21).