WHAT’S THE GREATEST ADVICE
YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
It’s a simple question.
I was always one to take off my shoes at the side of the bed and have to find them in the morning for school. I would find one and then say the other was missing. My mother would then tell me to get on my knees and look under the bed. Her famous phrase was, “They are a pair. Wherever one is, the other one ain’t far behind.” Needless to say, she was right. To this day, whenever I see one shoe, one brother, one spouse or anything that usually comes in pairs, I don’t ask about it, I just look for the other half of the pair and know that they aren’t far behind. I could go on with precious jewels that I have gotten from people along the way that taught me great lessons in life.
Some of the best life lessons were given at inconspicuous times from regular people. Knowing that, I asked some of our readers, supporters and friends to share things they’ve garnered from others and have never forgotten. With warm openness and incredible humility, they did. Please enjoy these wonderful pieces of wisdom and feel free to submit your own by sharing them in the comments below or by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to include your comments as part of our series.
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Been Given?
Hey Marlowe! I’m honored! I can tell you four things, 2 from my Mother and 2 from my Father, God rest their souls…
“Always be yourself. That’s a hard enough task without you trying to be someone else.”
“If you’re gonna pray, don’t worry; and if you’re gonna worry, don’t pray. No sense in bothering God with your mess if you won’t trust Him to fix it.”
“In the toughest of times, put on your thickest skin and don’t let `em see you sweat. You’ve gotta keep it cute, and keep it movin’.”
“Baby, don’t worry about that grass being greener on the other side. If you water and fertilize your own grass, it’ll be just as green!”
During a time where I was dealing with rejection and insecurity heavily, a friend of mine told me something simple, yet valuable for me and I never forget it.
“Do what you’d tell your daughter to do”
Tykelia S. Waddell
I have heard Pastor E. Dewey Smith, of the Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Atlanta say,
“If you stay small enough, long enough, God will make you big enough, soon enough.”
Which taught me about humility and allowing God to elevate you as HE sees fit!
That has blessed me in life AND Ministry.
I think best piece of advice that I received from my Granny is that most of the problems that happen in our lives are caused by us. I interpreted that as, “I am the captain of my life. I control my failures and my successes and my ups and my downs.” It helped me by allowing me to look within when I’m faced with adversity.
Hi Bro. Marlowe,
I apologize for the delay. I’ve been given all kind of good advice so I can’t really say what is the best but here is something I take to heart…
“In ministry you must be trusted at the highest level. When you can be trusted at the highest level, God will release to you at the highest level.”
“To stand with a leader you must stand the pressure. Stand, not fight, just stand.”
This was spoken to me by my Pastor years ago.
Thank you for considering me,
KATRINA D. RICHARD
The single greatest piece of advice I’ve ever gotten?
“Don’t Lie To Yourself”
One thing that my mentor, the late Elder Ralph Bagby told me about preaching was; “Be what God CALLED you to be, and not what man WANTS you to be.” So many times we play monkey see, monkey do, but that is not authentic, it’s time for men to be authentic with the word of God, and be impactful.
Hi Mr. Cribbs. I have a former co-worker that is actually a mother figure. She looked out for me all the time at work and often told me: “Stay focused and don’t let too much weigh you down.”
She would also tell me, “Take your time. Don’t look at other people’s situation and feel like you’re behind.” “Love yourself and your space that you are in.” She always said, “You are blessed and your time is coming”.
“Trusting God is like a owners manual it’s not meant to be understood it’s meant for you to follow.”
As a young adult, I was a member of a close-knit Pentecostal church on Chicago’s west side. One of my fondest memories is of one of “church mothers” named Mother Herron. Full-figured with big beautiful hats, Mother Herron always had a smile on her face. Whenever you saw her she gave you a big hug and shared some words of encouragement. During testimony service, Mother Herron would rise to her feet to “testify”, and would begin by loudly proclaiming “THIS is the happiest moment of my life.” As young folk we would nudge each other and prepare to laugh (quietly of course or we would have gotten in trouble)… and between giggles we would say…”Mother Herron, we thought the last time was the happiest moment of your life?”
Fast forward some years (more than I’d like to admit). I am older now. I have lived long enough to appreciate the power, brilliance and wisdom in Mother Herron’s confession. Now more than ever I realize that TODAY is the only day within our grasp. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not promised. TODAY is the only day we have a choice in. Make no mistake- it is a choice, a decision to BE HAPPY. I’m sure Mother Herron had her share of difficult, challenging, dark days. But she CHOSE to be grateful, to make every moment matter and to be happy, intentionally, EVERY DAY. As we enter 2017 I encourage you to make a conscious decision to BE HAPPY. Join me as I make my declaration to embrace each day, mustering all of the “intentionality” I can to be happy on purpose. I am sure that just as any loving father would, it makes our Heavenly Father smile when His children are HAPPY and WHOLE. (And when the difficult days come- and they will- we must trust that our Gracious, All Knowing, All Powerful God rules over every nano-second of our lives. We can choose to be happy, knowing that our lives are in His Hands; He is in control and whatever happens will “work together for our good”. (Romans 8:28) God’s love for us is real. His plan and purpose for our lives is good everyday – and that my friend, is something to be happy about.
(from her submitted piece entitled “The Choice To Be Happy”)
“Let go of the unpredictable. Stop micro-managing your mind and stay focused!”
MICHAEL DRAYTON SR.
“There is a danger in dismissing people so easy and readily; be discerning and know the key holder in your season, sometimes ” packages ” don’t look like you, but are sent for a moment in time to deliver and leave.”~ MD
(shared from his own memoirs and experience)
What’s up bro! Hope all is well. Let me know if this is ok and If I need to make changes. Thanks again for the opportunity… I really appreciate it.
The best advice that I received was from a musician buddy of mine, drummer, Chris Miskel. I believe this was in the late 90’s. Here’s how the conversation went. I called up Chris and asked him, “What do I need to do in order for me to become better at my craft?” A brief pause came across the phone followed by a “Welllll….” I knew then this was not going to be good because if anybody knows Chris, you know he doesn’t bite his tongue for anybody.
After all the dramatics that took place, he then asked this one question. “Do you want to WORK or do you want to EAT???” Well clearly my inner fatman immediately answered “I WANT TO EAT!!!” He then proceeded to say “Well then, stop playing all of those unnecessary and not fitting inside the music chops you always playing during songs!!! Play the correct groove to the song, listen to what’s going on musically around you and play the song!!!! This is not the Jason Grant show!!! Don’t nobody want to hear all that stuff you trying to play that YOU think is cool!!”
It was at that moment I became verbally silent but verbally loud in my mind. I promise you, Chris was everything except his government name in my mind, but from a verbal standpoint, I had to humble myself and respect what the professional musician had to say. I respected it because he was out on the road with several different artists and pretty much holding down the gigging scene during the week…so he knew what he was talking about when I didn’t. Needless to say, that advice that he gave me in over 20 years ago has tremendously played a permanent role in life to this day.
The moral of the story/advice is simply this… If you want to be better at whatever thing that you do, start hanging around people that are already doing it. Be willing and open to accept constructive criticism and know that the person it’s coming from is telling you out of a place of love and not hate. Real friends will tell you when you are right and when you are wrong and won’t think twice about it because they love you and they see the best in you.
My last and final point is this. Always remember and keep in mind that somebody took the time to mentor your mentor…
One piece of advice that I like to share with many, who like me, are results driven is, ‘Go through the process’. I used to think of myself as patient. And I guess, with many situations and people I was patient. However, when it comes to being patient with myself, I am not patient. I have high expectations and am my worst– worst— critic. You see, the problem is I know what I am capable of and what I want to accomplish. I used to pride myself on being able to complete complex or time intensive tasks in a shorter period of time than others. This became part of the momentum of my life. When presented with a challenge or a task I would come up with a plan to accomplish it and I would, even going beyond what was expected. I was seen as dependable, reliable, and gifted. This mindset and work ethic opened many doors for me professionally and personally.
You can only keep that up for so long. During a time in my life when I was waiting on the LORD to move me into my next phase, I became frustrated. Previously I had accomplished much within short periods of time and with great reward, so I was not accustomed to having to wait long periods for my “next“. After listening to my frustrations and discouragement over not being able to ‘make things happen sooner’, an older woman at the church I attended said, “Let me just say this to you. Go through the process.” Now, at the time, that was NOT what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear a word of advice or wisdom on how to get out of the rut I believed I was in at the time. My thinking was that everything that needed to be done for me to move ahead was done! No brainer! Let’s go! I rejected her words. As I pondered over the words she said and prayed, in the days to come, I understood what she meant.
Life is a process. It is a process of growth and maturity, physically, mentally and emotionally, and for Believers/Christians, spiritually. In the process– the waiting– the steps– you learn a few things:
- You learn that you are not in control. When you trust Christ with your life, He is leading you. In the process, you cannot move outside of His will (John 10:27-29). You cannot will or make things happen. You can make plans and take steps, but if it is not in His plan it will not be accomplished. My first master’s degree only took me one year to obtain. I expected to be employed in that area upon graduation. Well, GOD’s plan was for me to get a master’s degree in another discipline. Rather than rush through it in a year, I had to go through the process and take my time. In the process, you learn that GOD is in control and all things are working according to His plan (Romans 8:28).
- You learn to trust GOD. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust in GOD with our whole heart and to not depend on what we think. In the process, you learn to seek GOD and not depend on your human ability (like I had done for years, and still slip up and do sometimes). You learn, as it says in Psalm 37 and Proverbs 16 to focus on pleasing Him so that He can direct your way.
- You learn to wait. Who likes to wait? I cannot think of one person who sincerely does not want what they want in as little time as possible. In the process, you learn that life itself is a process and that everything will not go the way you plan it out at all times. Keep going until things change. Do not give up.
When you hit what seems to be a wall or a roadblock, go through the process. You may be like I was, thinking that you were ready for the next step, the next phase. You may be doing everything you know to do, but seeing nothing change. Go through the process. The process matures you. It builds character. The process changes you into who you need to be for “your next”. As you continue to go through life, ‘let me just say this to you, go through the process’.
There’s more to come as our series continues.
If you would like to join the conversation with some cherished advice, remember you can drop us a line at email@example.com
(type “ADVICE” on the Subject line).