Ask Ann Landers?
Questions on proper in-law etiquette, noisy neighbors and philandering spouses peppered news papers all across the country. The twin sisters could turn out a response in a couple of paragraphs and their opinions carried weight around the world.
It would be statistically interesting to see how many marriages were saved, the number of divorces finalized and apologies accepted based solely on the advice of the sisters. If you could wait a few weeks and risk the overwhelming odds of your letter being chosen, I guess it was a logical way to learn what you should do. Better yet, if you could just find your problem mimicked in someone else’s life, then you could piggy-back off of their solicited solution. If Abby and Ann weren’t accessible enough, family members and friends have usually been willing to offer up advice. Unfortunately, “Going to the phone, before going to the Throne,” (thank you Joyce Meyer for that quote) can get you in trouble. While we can usually count on family and friends for their opinions, they are often pre-programmed to tell us what we want to hear…or they offer advice slightly slanted by their own particular experiences. I am sometimes guilty of purposely selecting whose advice I seek, knowing in advance they are likely to give me the answer I want.
There are all sorts of examples on seeking advice in the Bible…some turn out well and others not so much. Proverbs 24:6 says, “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisors.” I like that one. It’s always seemed like a good idea to me, to ask around before getting yourself into a tight situation, especially to find out if you have anyone on your side. And if you already have some ideas and plans formulated in your mind, you might want to pull up Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord everything you do, then your plans will succeed.” Of course you have to get that “commit” part first. It doesn’t work after the fact. Then, there is the foundational fool-proof piece of advice Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” I have tested and tried that verse many times and am living proof that it is true and effective.
But just yesterday a friend asked my advice on a risky decision she was about to make. It’s easy to say “Go for it” or “Just do it” when you’re NOT the one standing on the edge of a cliff, grabbing hold of an old rope and preparing to launch yourself out over a pile of jagged rocks to the icy river below. When I saw her apprehension, I should have told her to stop and pray about it. But I egged her on. I wanted her to do it because I had done it, and well, the kids thirty and forty years younger than us had done it. Her success would carry a set of bragging rights for the two of us while the other adults sat safely in their kayaks watching from the shallow water.
So she jumped. It didn’t go well. I immediately found myself praying she would be okay as I looked down into the water and we exchanged horrified facial expressions. A few bumps, a couple of bruises, some scratches, scrapes, cuts, a little wounded pride with lots of “I should have known betters” and we floated on down the river.
I suspect she might think twice about trusting my advice again on such life and death situations. But if there is a next time, I hope I won’t miss the opportunity to encourage her to overlook my opinion, and take her question straight to the Top!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Of course, even if she had asked Dear Abby or Ann Landers, I suspect the sisters would have sided with me and said:
“You only live once. Jump!”
Who do you count on to give you advice?
Who counts on you for answers?
These may be questions worth contemplating. 🙂
© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie. All Rights Reserved
Comments on: "Dear Abby Dear Abby" (10)
Great thoughts – thanks for sharing!
Thanks Les. I was telling some friends today that we weren’t very good examples of “peer pressure” to the two kids watching. I’m teling her to jump (along with most of the other adults) and she’s afraid not to for fear she will look stupid. Yep, 45 and 50 and that’s how we act. LOL
Abby and Ann Landers were so much fun to read. I never asked them for advice, but I did associate with some of the answers.
I know what you mean Gloria. If I didn’t have time to read anything else, I read their column. I think sometimes I was reading to see if there was some advice there for me and other times to pat myself on the back because I wasn’t as crazy as some of the letter writers. 😉
It’s funny to think about turning to strangers for advice. But, you’re so right – look at the success of columnists, radio hosts, authors and even Oprah. There’s a whole timeless industry built on giving advice and addressing our insecurities.
I think in middle age you look back more at the small decisions you made that led to big things in your life. And, you marvel at how the ‘plan’ unfolds.
I recently heard the story about how my in-laws met and I thought – if he hadn’t accidentaly sat in her train seat – my husband wouldn’t be here today – or my kids! But, surely that was NO accident and everything is unfolding as it should.
I don’t doubt there is evil knocking people off course, wrecking havoc in our lives and confusing us – but believing that there is a ‘plan’ makes it easier to tell my kids to go with your gut’- listen to the voice in your heart – Be quiet and still so that you can guided – even in the little decisions!
I look back on the first day you sat down at the desk in front of me and I wondered what in the world this pretty little girl could possibly know about hard core news coverage. Of course it wasn’t long before you had proven yourself to everyone watching. Your work then was stellar, but it is your work now as a mother, that is most inspirational.
Your children will rise up and bless you because you are in fact leading them in the way they should go!!
It is that still small voice we all need and so desire.
Another great one F Annette!
Very enjoyable reading and much wisdom tucked into it.
Thank you Ms. Wells. I started writing this post months ago, under a different title and a different objective. My friend was thrilled that her misfortune was all I needed to change directions and finish the story. 😉
So happy to provide you with the ending you needed. Just so you know, I would still turn to you for advice….doesn’t matter if it’s something minor or live and death situations. I knew better. I seldom feel that much fear. But I just had to prove something to myself. And I did. I’m waayyy out of shape!!! It was a great, and painful motivator.
The downside, we really did not set good examples for the boys. In the end I guess that lesson was meant for us.
You are so right about the boys. But then again, the boys got to see first hand that we made a mistake, and sometimes that is the best lesson. We all continue to be “works in progress” and I not only thank you for the ending to the Dear Abby story, but for a wonderful awesome incredible relaxing (but for that rope thing) day on the river. Should you need a Personal Trainer, Ezekiel takes credit for any progress Steve makes when trying to get back in shape. 😉