Dear Little Princess,
There is no end to the amount of advice - good and bad - available today. And the frustrating part is that you’ll find completely opposite suggestions for just about everything you might want advice about. The only way to wade through this opinion soup is to learn to be discerning.
Zig Ziglar once said something along these lines: “Good judgment comes from experience, which comes from bad judgment.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement! It takes time to develop discernment, and it won’t be easy to obtain, but it is a worthwhile pursuit.
The first thing you need to do when developing the ability to be discerning is to start with God’s Word. The Bible is the Final Authority. Sometimes, His commandments will not at first appear to be the wisest advice, but this is only because we cannot foresee the future and He can. If He has commanded you either to do or not do something, you can rest assured that obeying Him is the best thing you can do.
However, there are a few areas where God’s Word seems either to be unclear or silent all together (although these issues are really few and far between). What then? In those cases, prayer is your next step. As Christians, we have the amazing leading of the Holy Spirit. I cannot stress enough the importance of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in life.
Are you seeing a trend in these letters, Little Princess? Start with God’s Word. Pray. Follow the Spirit’s leading. Seek out Godly counsel. These steps apply to all of life, no matter the issue. It’s no different for learning to be discerning.
There will be times when you make mistakes in life, when you will be led astray by wayward thinking, when you make a poor judgment call. I’ve done this more times than I’d ever like to admit to. This, frustratingly, is part of being human. Thankfully, the Lord can teach you just as much during times of bad decision-making as when you choose wisely. Learn from your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness as needed. I’m still learning how to do these things well. I’m not quick to repent, and I get easily frustrated at myself for poor choices. But never forget that the Lord is ready and willing to forgive and to help you learn from your mistakes.
Even though you’ll fail at times, pursue discernment. You will never regret the time spent on such an endeavor.
All my love,