Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who Listens to You? Who do you listen to?

I recently heard a pastor speak on the importance of older Christians’ influence on younger Christians’ lives. Referencing Titus 2: 3-5, he points out that this type of relationship should be a characteristic of Christian community.

So what about you?

If you are older than another woman in your church or community, do you actively look for ways to speak
into a younger woman’s life?

If you are younger than another woman in your church or community, do you willingly listen to the advice of an older woman?

As an individual who fulfills both of these definitions, I feel qualified to say, “Younger women need your help!” and “Older women have so much wisdom to offer!” I am newly married and graduated from college (yes, in that order), so I am in completely uncharted territory. I have also had my fair share of typical life experiences (making new friends, graduating high school, dating, graduating college, navigating relationships with husband, parents, in-laws). It makes so much sense for me to walk through life with women who will experience what I’ve already been through and women who have experienced what I will go through. Yet I think this is a resource we consistently miss out on in a world of Facebook and text-message friendships.

The following are a few handy-dandy tips on becoming and finding a godly influence:

1.    If you want advice, ask. I heard of someone finding a mentor by walking up to her and saying something like “I like your life, and I want to be like you when I grow up. Can we meet so you can tell me how you are the way you are?” At worst, you’ve encouraged someone else even if they said no. At best, you found someone to walk with you through new experiences.

2.    If you want to give advice, ask permission. The teenager in you knows how much you’d cringe at someone who storms into your life and starts telling you what to do. When you ask for permission to speak into someone else’s life, it’s like a mini contract is signed saying she’ll actually use the advice you give. Saves you both a lot of frustration.

3.    Be picky. I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty busy. That doesn’t give you an excuse to never reach out to another woman. It does give you a reason to intentionally choose who you will spend time with.

Lindsay Hale

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