I want to get better, don’t you? I want to be a better husband and father. I want to improve as a spiritual leader and communicator of truth. I want to advance in my walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I need some help—a personal improvement team—to get me going and keep me moving in the right direction. I’m betting you do too!
Read: Proverbs 15:30-31
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.
I’m not talking about declaring hunting season for anyone and everyone to take potshots at us throughout the day. I don’t need a crowd telling me everything that is wrong with my life. I need a select few who have my best interests in mind; people I trust who will be with me through thick-and-thin, who’ll go to bat for me and lay down their lives to see God’s best for my life accomplished.
And as this proverb says, I need people who will bring just the right balance of encouragement—the way they look at me will bring joy to my heart; the way they speak to me will bring health to my being—and admonition—they’ll be so skillful with language and timing when bringing a rebuke that I’ll receive it as a gift and not a wound.
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, that’d be great, but where do I find people like that?” My guess is they’re already close by. You have those kind of people in you life right now, you just need to prayerfully invite them onto your team. And then you need to agree to some pretty clear ground rules. Their role shouldn’t be really complex; simple is actually preferable. There are a couple of things you need to invite them to do. So following the template laid out in this proverb, ask them for input in your life on issues great and small.
First, start with the positive. Have them tell you two or three things they find admirable and why. Starting with encouragement is life-giving, and it paves the way if a more difficult conversation needs to follow.
Two, tackle the tough issues. And my advice here is to limit it to just one thing. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the things that are wrong and need to change. Pick off one thing at a time. And rather than a blunt and graceless critique, couch it in this format: Have your team tell you what they think needs improvement and why, and how they would go about improving it. Rather than focusing only on the wrong, it provides you with the moral why for change, and a way forward to a better life. That’s how a hard word can become a life-giving rebuke.
Get those kind of people doing that kind of a thing in your life, and you will end up at home among the wise.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Pray about it first, and then ask two or three people to be on your personal improvement team. Plan regular times for them to strategically speak into you life in this regard.