Every word spoken. Nugget of advice given. Article written. News story reported. Question asked.
And no, you are not immune to bias here at the Gritty Pearl. Let's find out why!
In a world so full of unsolicited advice and commentary, how can we filter the mediums of influence that bombard us daily? Let's think about all the moments throughout our day that ideas and agenda are being hurled at us, oftentimes without our notice. I can think of a few:
Radio, TV, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Magazines, Mail flyers, Billboards, Work chatter, Gym convos, Church sermons/groups/podcasts, School meetings, Business Advertising, Political Signs littering the highways...
The list could go on! The noise gets loud and complicated, faster than our minds can keep up. This week we're in the simplification business. Here are three, very basic questions that we can ask ourselves when receiving advice or pressure from family, friends, and media.
1. What is the "world view" being offered to me?
We all come from a specific geographical area, we're born into a certain time period in history, and we've been given beliefs passed down from our families and communities. Though it's time consuming to pick through the impact of our family upbringing, culture, socioeconomic status, race, and spiritual background, etc., these factors give others an idea about who were are.
It's called a world view. For example, every human being experiences sadness, joy, and confusion, but asking a child for an adult perspective is a challenge! Adults and children take different world views when it comes to decision-making and understanding. Neither are wrong, but both are informed by our unique experiences of maturity.
When we make an effort to understand where thoughts and feelings come from in the first place it does two things:
1. It encourages compassion and empathy for somebody who has a very different world view from our own and
2. It frees us up to either alter our way of thinking about an issue, or to be at peace about disagreeing.
2. What's being asked of me?
Motive drives every word we speak and every action we choose to carry out throughout the day. For instance, the bias at the Gritty Pearl is obvious for those of you who frequent the blog:
1. I believe that God is real and that Jesus is His son.
2. I believe that healing is possible.
3. I believe that when we discover and adopt these beliefs, our lives are better beyond all imagination.
Therefore, every post will either confirm these beliefs or, at the very least, they will not contradict those beliefs. When you arrive at this website, you're being asked to take a look at your own faith. You're being asked to assume that there is a God (or at least to begin seeking answers to your questions) and then to contemplate what that means for your life. My agenda is to create awareness for a master Creator and to usher readers into the healing God provides.
I'm biased, as are you as readers.
Our responsibility as faith-filled people, citizens of a country, guardians of children, and employees is to be aware of the motives in our own hearts first and foremost, and then to become discerning of others' with the help of God - the Holy-Spirit. When motives are clear, it's much easier to either embrace somebody else's ideas or to gracefully turn down advice that's not helpful.
Simply put, why are we thinking and doing life a certain way? Why is he or she sharing this information with me? It's OK to ask, "What is it that you're getting at? What are you asking me to do?" It's also OK to say, "No, thank you."
3. Do they match my foundational beliefs?
This question might just be the most difficult of all three of our questions today. I say this because I've counseled so many individuals throughout the years who honestly aren't sure about what they believe. This is the area that's incredibly easy to attack in a believer - what we believe and why. The problem isn't new. In fact Paul, in his letters to the Ephesians (4:14), writes this:
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming..."
He knew that our maturity would determine our ability to remain consistent and productive in our faith. As the old saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." This is no doubt the biggest snare to our advice filters.
We have to know what we believe before we can stand up to the advice of others who adamantly declare that they already do.
There's good news! We have an all-knowing, patient God who's given us a thousand-plus pages of guidance as a head start. Don't be afraid to ask questions and find somebody who asks you the right ones. Seek wise company - the people who are interested in helping you to grow.
How have you stood up to unsolicited advice? Do you have trouble sharing your beliefs? How about good advice? Who gives it?
With you and for you,
Photo Cred: Sara Kauten
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.