Thoughts on Doing Your Own Thing

I enjoy drinking Good Earth brand tea and they always have a motivational quote from a famous person – the other day it was “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” – Steve Jobs

I love the idea of Individualism found in these sorts of quotes. It’s very inspiring! Be your own person, don’t let anyone else tell you where to go or what to do, stand up for yourself.

Within these popular and sturdy sayings is much that makes us feel like Americans. Pull yourself up by your own boot straps – that sort of thing. We can think that it’s critical to not depend on other people and to not seek out others advice or experience when making decisions.
There is a small element of truth and wisdom in this: just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that you should do it. Don’t just blindly follow the status quo.

But, when the status quo becomes doing your own thing and not listening to counsel from others – then what do you do?
I think that there is a dangerous and harmful attitude hidden in these sayings. There is a stubborn and sinful pride that says I can do it on my own, I don’t need any help, don’t tell me what to do. What’s worse is that your own inner voice is often really and obviously wrong.
It is not wisdom from God to strike out on our own, carve our own path and reject the advice of others.

We should instead cultivate a heart of humility and wisdom to hear others out, seek the benefit of others wisdom and learn from others experiences.
Proverbs are wisdom sayings collected and inspired by God that speak right to this issue:

So follow the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the righteous. — Proverbs 2:20 (CSB)
One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound wisdom. — Proverbs 18:1 (CSB)
A wise warrior is better than a strong one, and a man of knowledge than one of strength; for you should wage war with sound guidance — victory comes with many counselors. — Proverbs 24:5-6 (CSB)

That doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to your gut or learn to weigh the pro’s and the con’s. Just put those thoughts and musings in their proper place. Realize your biases and tendencies.
Then choose counselors who have lots of experience, pick perspectives that are different than yours and even seek sources that you think will immediately say no. You can then ask them to substantiate their advice by backing it up with that experience, understanding and logic that makes them valuable as wise individuals.

Ultimately, good, wise and truly helpful wisdom finds its source in God and in understanding him. Those who we would look to for direction should be connected to the pipeline of truth that we get from him – the Bible itself. There is a tremendous fountain of guidance in scripture and applying it in faith.

So, let’s reject the false wisdom of this world with its arrogant platitudes about listening only to yourself and seek God and the wisdom from above. When we do that I think he’ll speak to us through his word and through good counselors. When we renew our mind in his truth, we are transformed!

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. — Romans 12:2 (CSB)