So there is probably a good percentage of people who read the title of this and simply did not open the post because the word “advice” was used. Many who do not want to hear yet another person give them thoughts or opinions about what they should or should not do. To be honest, I naturally fall into this category. I typically think that most people who are readily willing to speak their loftiness to the world are those who probably should keep it to themselves the most. However, when did it happen in our culture that taking advice became a bad thing? When did it happen that we do not want to listen to others experiences and journeys in hopes of learning? Why is it that we often feel that we must inherently know all the answers, decisions, and actions we are going to make in our lives?
A little over 6 years ago and in the years since, I was and have been gifted with advice. For all of you whose mind quickly went to assuming that I was going to talk about being a mother and how that has taught me the value of the “village,” not quite, though there is A LOT of truth there. Rather, my life literally changed when about 5 months prior to conceiving my little nugget a woman walked into my life as a mentor, a friend, and an advisor. Most of my life I have taken advice/counsel as a consideration; I trusted my own judgement and perspective on my world. Though hearing others’ perspectives was at times solicited, I did not really have the discipline of leaning into others’ wisdom.
Here is what I have learned though. Finding a true, genuine and loving mentor who is able to beacon you through life, or a stage in life, actually provides a context where vulnerability, growth, and the elements of your own identity can emerge more boldly. Having someone that holds you accountable, maybe asks tough questions, and seeks your best interest somehow provides freedom. You see what I have learned is that by receiving advice into my life I now have been “allowed” to put down the burden of the need to be perfect.
Now this process of learning to receive has not always been easy nor is it one that I have always been very graceful in. But just as most things in life, for something to become of value, of substance there is often a bit of “pull” and a jarring of a “stretch.” There is also a honing of learning that in fact not all advice should be treated equally. That some is meant to be dismissed all together, some considerations, but many more than what we often allow are meant to be nuggets of wisdom and truth. So my piece of advice I am going to share with you is this: Surround yourself with those who are brave enough to speak into you. Find women who have already walked a path that you are on and invest in building a relationship with them. Trust that there are those in your life that care so deeply for you that their guidance is an act of loving protection.
Last fall, I highlighted my amazing mentor Nancy, in a series that we were doing on Superhero Moms. I continue to be so grateful for all that she has built into me through numerous seasons in my life. Seasons of joy and excitement, seasons of pain, seasons of difficulty, seasons of learning, seasons of growth. She along with several other woman that I call my “close covering” have walked alongside me as I journey through motherhood, womanhood, and well… life.