How Do You Take Advice? And Why Knowing Can Help You Practice Discernment Better

What’s your advice-taking tendency? As I was brainstorming this blog post, I texted a friend, asking, “how do you take advice?” and she replied, “not very well!”

I think many of us can relate. 🙂 Some of us just don’t enjoy receiving advice in almost any circumstance. Others of us tend to take advice from any and everyone, but then have trouble knowing our own minds.

How we take advice, like so many other aspects of our personalities, falls along a spectrum of tendencies, from one extreme of never accepting it, to the other of always taking it. If we know where we fall on that spectrum, that self-knowledge can help shift us toward balance and even make our practice of discernment better. 

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If You Want to Make a Change, Think About the Inside First

A friend of mine wants to learn to cook. Right now, she doesn’t cook at all – she’s gotten by just fine without it, but in this new season of her life, she feels like it’s time. The problem is really with why she feels like she can’t cook. She’s totally overwhelmed at where to even begin: what should she learn first? Should she memorize recipes? Learn techniques? Become familiar with common spices?

In addition to being totally overwhelmed with how to begin, my friend is prone to perfectionism. She’s highly detail-oriented, too, so the thought of not following a recipe perfectly, of not cutting the carrots into perfectly even segments, of just getting things wrong, is holding her back.

I can sympathize! Perfectionism can be paralyzing. In my ongoing quest to let go of my own perfectionism, I’ve learned to let myself be a beginner, to improve slowly by just doing things frequently, and to allow myself to be bad at things without ultimately sacrificing excellence.

But there’s another thing I’ve been learning lately: any outer change I want has to be tied to an inner change as well.

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How to Practice Discernment When God is Silent

It’s a problem most of us have faced at one time or another. We’re trying to make a good decision and so we begin to pray for God to speak to us, to enlighten us, to give us an answer. And we get… *crickets.* There’s nothing but silence.

So how do we practice discernment when God is silent?

Let’s consider the possibilities. When it seems like God is silent, either

(A) God is actually saying nothing, or

(B) God is saying something and I can’t/ won’t hear

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5 Easy, Practical Steps to Get Rid of Bad Habits

Do you ever find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Or getting stressed about the same sorts of things, time and again? It’s hard to learn what we want to change if we aren’t in the habit of reflecting on our lives – but even if we are, we need to have the courage and clarity to get rid of bad habits.

Just getting rid of a bad habit out of the blue, on our own, isn’t easy: but it certainly can be easier if we take practical steps to remove some of the factors around why we keep making the same mistakes. (And by “mistakes” I don’t only mean morally bad decisions, but also behaviors that leave us feeling exhausted, stressed, or unhappy because they don’t serve the major priorities we’ve set for our lives.)

Here are 5 practical steps to help you get rid of bad habits, with clear examples of how to follow them easily.

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Trading in Emotional Expenditure

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part IV)

This is part IV of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I, II, and III.

Emotional expenditure is probably the trickiest of life-costs to consider. We know how to track our time, and we have physical indicators of how much energy we have (or lack): but how do we measure emotional expenditure?

Thankfully, (because as humans we are body-soul unities and not brains in jars) our emotions, while not physical in themselves, do have real physical effects. Just think of tears. We feel the emotion of sadness or joy and our eyes suddenly release salt water. Of course, some people’s bodies seem to process emotion more closely than others’ – and even the most highly sensitive people can be unaware of the cost of their emotional life.

What’s to be done? The first step, as with any life-cost, is becoming more aware of the affects of our own actions and that of other’s actions around us. We have to know ourselves well to know what affects us emotionally, and how we process and spend our emotions.

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