I Have No Idea, But Do This
Have you ever been absolutely terrified of doing something, and yet desperately wanted to do it at the same time?
I went cliff jumping once. My brain was confused as I fell through the air; the anticipation as I began to jump off the rock was thrilling, and the fear I felt before actually jumping was unforgettable. After an exhilarating landing in cool waters, I immediately made my way back up the cliff to encourage my friends to make the jump.
For some reason, I have a lot of friends that trust me and ask me for advice. It’s debatable whether or not this is wise, but since they do it, I listen and give whatever advice I can. Recently however, I’ve been challenged by the differences in our lives. As we get older and move in different directions, the challenges they face, opportunities that arise for them, and risks they weigh are becoming increasingly different from the ones I am facing, or probably ever will face. How do I encourage someone to take a risk that I know nothing about, or to move in a direction I would never go?
You see, it’s easy to encourage a friend to jump off a cliff when I’ve already taken the leap and survived. I can be confident in what I’m telling them: that it’s safe, that they will live, and that they will be happier for it. But let’s just pretend that the jump terrified me and scarred me for life. Or maybe I didn’t jump at all because cliff jumping is not for me. I’d like to think that I would still have encouraged my friends to take the leap of faith.
I’ve given a lot of advice. Sometimes it was spot on. Many other times, it was definitely not. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: never underestimate the power of your own words. Your friends, family, or whoever are asking for your advice because they trust you and value your thoughts. So when someone asks my advice on something I know nothing about, I answer carefully. I question myself before I answer. Am I simply agreeing with them because I feel uninformed? Am I advising them based on what I would do or want them to do, or what they should do? I think about it. Pray about it. I don’t always answer right away, and sometimes I don’t ever have an answer at all.
Moving in new directions is hard. I need people to advise and encourage me in my endeavours, even if they are as clueless as I am. There is a proverb that says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.’ (Psalm 27:17 NLT) In other words, even when we feel clueless, we can help one another. We can strengthen and encourage each other to become better versions of ourselves, to walk with intention. We can help each other see more clearly.
And so when the opportunity arises, I’m learning to be confident in saying, “I have no idea, but do this.”
Words by Heidi LuReign