“…can’t we wait to find out until we get to Quaran?”
Haydren set his jaw, and said nothing. Pladt glanced sideways at him. “Or were you hoping for my support in going against Geoffrey’s advice?”
—By Ways Unseen, Chapter 10 – Sights
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3
There is no lack of Proverbs dealing with the safety of seeking advice and counsel. But there can be danger, as well.
In psychology, there is a phenomenon known as “cognitive dissonance.” This refers to the discomfort our minds undergo when presented with a piece of information that doesn’t fit with what it already knows. This can be as small as thinking it’s Tuesday and realizing it is actually Monday; oftentimes, as objective a fact as it is, you’re still a little confused or put off by the fact. It could be as large as believing all your life that you are your father or mother’s son or daughter and learning you are adopted, or birthed by someone else. Big one, there.
The point being, your brain usually cannot live with dissonance. Where danger lurks is in what actions we take to try to solve that dissonance: will we learn to accept the truth? Or will we permit the truth to re-arrange our preconceived notions?
This may seem fairly simple with something like thinking it’s a day of the week that it isn’t actually; what happens when something less concrete is challenged? We feel particularly able to be a musician, or a writer, or some other career field; and yet we feel particularly called by God to be something else. What if what God wants is contrary to what your family wants? What feels safe? What has been the only other life you’ve known up to this point?
This is very important to be honest with ourselves before we start seeking counsel. If a friend, family member, or mentor, tell us what we want to hear, will we look no further? Will we breathe a deep sigh of relief, glad we were wrong? If they tell us what we need to hear, will we reject it? Continue to look until someone agrees with us?
When we begin looking for advice and counsel, we need to define what success is—what will prove to us the advice is good, is what we should follow, is…godly?
For we who call ourselves Christians, advice should begin and end in Scripture—in the Word of God. He who formed us knows what is best for us—that means best for our personality, or way of learning and growing, and what our salvation journey will ultimately be. For some, this journey is a nice straight line, clear from a young age. For others, this journey will only be recognizable at the end of it. And only One Person knows which, and can see all of it, and best guide us along it.
And it ain’t us.