Many of us use other people as “sounding boards” to bounce off ideas and work through the difficult circumstances of life. Our “sounding board” confidantes can be very helpful when used selectively, and in a healthy manner. If you have a tendency to “vent” (in a positive or negative way) to someone, here are some guidelines for utilizing this important relationship in a godly way:
1. Remember that real guidance comes from the Holy Spirit.
Even pastors, teachers and wise mentors can “miss it,” but the Holy Spirit is always right. Learn to go to God first. Your sounding board should be consulted for confirmation, not for guidance that pre-empts your prayerful petition.
2. Make sure your sounding board does not have a leak!
Someone prone to gossip does not make a good sounding board. You need someone you can trust to be confidential. Examine the character of your sounding board friend before sharing the intimacies of your heart.
3. Make sure you are not just gossiping and griping!
Constantly spouting out negative opinions can lead to a critical spirit. Be careful not to allow your sounding board session to turn into idle talk and complaining.
4. Make sure your sounding board is mature enough to tell you the truth—like when you have sounded off too much.
Knowing when to stop sounding off will keep the person you are venting to from feeling like you are monopolizing her time. It will also keep him or her from taking on your burdens.
When you keep these guidelines in mind before sharing ideas and feelings with others, misunderstandings will be kept to a minimum. Good sounding boards can help you keep things in a healthy perspective. Also, some of those great ideas you bounce off someone may actually turn into reality!
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