Just about every week there comes a point where I find myself thinking, “why won’t they just TELL me what they think?!” I’m talking about my coworkers, my family, my toddler–they all have their moments where it seems like I can’t get any recognition of what I’m doing or helpful tips on how to make myself better.
As humans, we crave feedback from other humans constantly, to help confirm our own beliefs about ourselves. This may mean we surround ourselves with and seek out only those who agree with us–which can lead us to make it much harder to illuminate what we can do to improve ourselves. Nevertheless, it’s important to actively seek feedback. How else would you figure out that the reason your kids don’t listen to you is because you aren’t trying to make eye contact with them first?
To get feedback you can actually use, there are some key things to keep in mind:
There truly is a time and place for everything. Listen to your heart if you really want to ask about something–are you about to disrupt an absolutely wonderful moment, or are you in a place with lots of distractions?
We each receive and respond to questions and feedback differently. While it may seem practical to survey people by asking exactly the same questions, be mindful of who is on the receiving end. Are they really the best person to provide you with quality feedback you can use? Or are they just the convenient person to ask?
Take time to digest. Often when we receive feedback, we are quick to relish in positive things and deny or distance ourselves from negative things. We think surely the person telling you these things doesn’t know your story, or are just getting you all wrong. When you sense those feelings, take extra time to digest what exactly they are trying to tell you.
Pray about it. I admit, it can be incredibly difficult to start asking questions to all sorts of people in your life in order to get their input and put it to good use. But make it a daily practice to seek feedback and contemplate on how it applies to your own journey and relationships, both with God and those around you.
Feedback is an incredibly powerful tool, and will unlock feelings and ideas you may not have known exist for you. Don’t forget who tends to have the most honest feedback of all–youth! While they see the world very differently, their feedback is invaluable to improving yourself and your ministry. Take it along with all the rest, and see what you can use, what you need to chew on, and what you may need to leave behind. Remember, just about every time you speak to someone, God may be trying to clue you in! Let Him speak to you and sate your appetite for true ministry feedback, so you can go forth and improve yourself and everything around you.