“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)

People may say you cannot take your faith to work. However, listening to advice is another way you can.

I make a point of asking for and listening to advice from the people I work with. It can be regarding the best way to decorate the clinic, how to deal with a difficult patient, marketing ideas, or how to assist a struggling employee. Asking for advice shows wisdom, respect for the opinions of others, and an acknowledgment that “none of us knows everything.”

I have learned that asking for advice saves time and potential conflict. In the clinic this week, we researched the purchase of two new pieces of equipment. Although I had some ideas on the best place to locate them, I asked my Operations Manager to speak with our Senior Physiotherapist to ask for their opinion. If I had not asked for advice, I may have chosen a less than ideal location which would have frustrated our Physiotherapists. Asking for advice acknowledged that I valued their input and helped avoid a potential problem. There are many benefits to asking for advice!

In addition, it is wise to respectfully listen to unsolicited advice. It does not mean we necessarily agree with it, and/or do what is being advised. However, we can respectfully and professionally take the time to listen. We sometimes “don’t know what we don’t know” and should be prepared to listen to what is being said about any situation which concerns us. Occasionally, we can become stuck in a particular mindset or approach to doing things, and someone else may be able to offer us sound advice. We never know until we take the time to listen. Then, we will need to wisely decide what should be done with the advice we have received.

How do you usually react when someone gives you advice?
  • Do you patiently listen or become defensive because you feel threatened?

  • Do you patiently listen or interrupt and say why that advice does not work?

  • Do you patiently listen or become irritated because you feel that someone is questioning how you are doing things?

It would be foolish to not at least listen to what someone has to say.
  1. Listen and thank them for their input. You do not need to respond with anything additional right away, but rather say you will think about what they have said.

  2. Then bring it to God in prayer.

  3. Take time to review if there is any merit in what the person is saying. Is there truth in it? Is it something you should consider?

  4. Ask for feedback from people you respect.

  5. And remember, God is your ultimate Advisor.

Taking This to God in Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people in my life who provide direction and advice. Help me to discern which advice is helpful, and which advice is not. Help me determine if the advice is something I need to consider or if it is potentially harmful. Help me discern if this is the next step that I need to take, or if following this advice is out of Your will. The most important thing in my life is to honor You. Please give me the wisdom to discern good, helpful advice from wrong, harmful advice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
May God richly bless you as you commit to being respectful and professional in your dealings with others. Make this an exceptional week of listening well!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3 ESV)

As a little girl, my favorite chair was my wooden rocking chair. When I sat down, I moved over as far as possible to leave some space beside me. I moved over so God would have enough room. I had been taught God is always with me, and in my childhood faith, I took this knowledge seriously and literally.

As an adult in the workplace, I strive to remember God is with me. When people ask you, "How can you take your faith to work?" it is easy to answer because God is always with us. We cannot help but take our faith to work as the Holy Spirit is in us: guiding, teaching, and comforting us.

Our role is to remember God is with us, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to deal with everything we need.

This week, we had a meeting with mall management to discuss our lease renewal. My husband (our business manager) and I prayed together about the upcoming meeting. We remembered to "move over" and give God the space only He deserves to direct and guide us before an important meeting. The results were even better than we expected.

  • As adults, are we moving over and letting God have room in our personal and work lives?

  • Are we regularly remembering He is with us?

  • Are we letting go of some of our impulses and allowing God to guide us?

  • Are we moving past disappointments and acknowledging God has a better plan for us?

  • Are we seeking His Word and allowing His love to flow through us to others?

We can do this if we acknowledge and remember His constant presence and give Him room in our hearts and lives. To know He is there as if He is sitting right beside us. Because He is.
We may pray to God about an issue, and the result is different than we expected or hoped for. However, when we remember to move over to allow room for God, the result will be the right one because it is in His Will.

I love the following story about the Empty Chair. You may have read this before, but I hope you enjoy re-reading it.

The Empty Chair: Inspirational Christian Story (Author Unknown)

A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.

"I guess you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?"

"I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."

"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.

"I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head."

"I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because He promised, 'I'll be with you always.' Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now."

"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.

"Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, in fact, beyond strange-kinda weird.

Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."

Prayer in Response:
Dear Heavenly Father: You have told me You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank You for this truth and the display of Your love. Help me always move over in my chair and give You lots of room. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Blessings as you walk out the truth that God is with you at work this week!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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A few seconds can mean the difference between a successful conversation and an unsuccessful one.

It only takes a few seconds to think before we speak. In those few seconds, we can decide if we should say something, or not. Those few seconds can be the "Stop Sign" we need to heed before going forward. The problem is that we sometimes rush to say something before we have thought about it.

Spending time thinking before we speak can decrease the chance of us spending time regretting after we speak.

God has much to say about the power of words and their ability to heal or harm. A few verses you can take to work include:

“Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

“There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:28)

Listening well is a crucial skill in both the workplace and our personal lives. We can all recall situations where we have spoken before fully thinking. Does one come to mind? It is helpful to see if there are any trends in those situations when you look back and wish you had been more careful with your words.

  • Were you frustrated?

  • Were you tired?

  • Were you rushing?

  • Were you feeling overlooked, or unheard?

  • Does it tend to be with a particular person or persons?

Recognizing your "triggers" will help you decrease the chance you will jump into a conversation instead of standing still and pausing to take in all the required information.

As part of my Master's in Rehab Science program, I recently had the opportunity to take an Emotional Quotient test. I found it extremely helpful in determining what some of my stressors were and therefore, my "triggers." One example of this tool is the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0), which is an online self-rating assessment tool with the option of adding a multi-rater EQ 360. https://www.talentsmarteq.com/test/

Recognizing the benefits of listening before speaking may also increase the likelihood that you will adopt this behavior. Listening before speaking allows you to:

  • understand the background information required to help us in decision making and to avoid being uninformed

  • understand another's point of view that we should take into consideration in our decision making

  • see another person's emotional intensity and therefore choose the correct way to respond

  • speak well as actively listening has helped us to prepare our response

  • decrease the chance of speaking unwisely or acting unwisely, and therefore damaging a situation or a relationship

If active listening was easy, we would have more successful, respectful, and calm conversations. It has been said, "Listening is not waiting to speak." It is very active and requires discipline. However, we can choose to develop this discipline. The ability to listen well is necessary, as words can be very harmful.

Consider what you can do before you speak:

  1. Think about God and how He would want you to respond. Recognize He is with you.

  2. Think about whether or not you have all the facts you need. Do not speak until you do.

  3. Think about what else you need to know. Ask questions.

  4. Think about how the other person might be feeling. This will help you decide if you should respond at the time or not.

  5. Think about what the person can handle and what might be best to discuss at another time. Ask God for wisdom in discerning this.

  6. Think about whether or not this is a good time for you to speak. If you are angry, sad, emotional, frustrated, or anxious, it is likely better for you to let the other person know you prefer to think about things and talk to them at another time.

  7. If you are not at peace about what you are saying, you likely need more time to think about it.

  8. Think about Bible verses that may help you decide what to say and not say.

Consider saying this prayer every morning if you feel you need some help with thinking before you speak:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the relationships I have in my workplace and personal life. Help me be a wise communicator so I do not cause harm. Please give me the patience and self-control to listen first and speak only after I have heard wisely. Although I may have to discuss complex issues, please give me the wisdom to know I have the truth, the facts and the heart to treat people the way You want them to be treated. In Jesus' name, Amen.

May God richly bless you as you ask God to keep a guard on your mouth and, therefore, a guard on your relationships.

Have a great week!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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