Help! Save Me. . .From Myself!

Sometimes the biggest enemy I face is me! And the solution to "me" is you!

In 1932, the American economy was in a tale-spin. "The New York Stock Exchange had lost nearly 90 percent of its value. Thirteen million people were out of work, and an estimated 34 million Americans had no income whatsoever."1 American prospects were bleak.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had just won the Democratic nomination for president and was preparing to deliver his acceptance speech. In his book, The Defining Moment, Jonathan Alter comments:

[Long-time political ally] Louis Howe was on a mission to "save" the acceptance speech, which, like all Roosevelt speeches, was a mishmash. Ray Moley had written a draft that was then cut and substantially rewritten in Albany by Rosenman, who had stayed up until dawn eating hot dogs and working on the speech. Roosevelt himself had tried a few drafts of an eloquent peroration amid all the phone calls to Chicago, but when the candidate finished one and read it aloud, the group around him agreed unanimously that it was terrible and he sadly tore it up.2

It is a good thing Roosevelt listened and tossed his speech into the trash can. The line that has reverberated through history -- "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people" -- came from FDR's voice, but not from his pen. That clever piece of rhetoric, which sparked hope in millions, was the work of Rosenman.

It takes a secure person to welcome constructive criticism. Christians, above all, ought to be those kinds of secure people.

The gospel reminds me that I am accepted by God because of what Jesus has done for me, not because of what I have done for him. Secure in Him, I no longer have to live for the approval of others. I don't have to be a genius. I don't have to have all the answers. In fact, knowing I am complete only in Christ, I can admit that I need what others bring to the table.

Confident in the security of Christ, here are four steps you can take to learn from others:

  1. Identify your trusted advisers. FDR had them. King David had them (1 Chronicles 27:32-33). God commends this. Who are two people you can trust to "shoot-you-straight"?
  2. Give them permission to speak into your life. Most people will not speak up. They don't want to offend you. They don't want to hurt your feelings. You must repeatedly tell folks, "You can say anything to me. Tell me what I need to hear. Please, help save me from myself. "
  3. Look for the kernel of truth in their constructive criticism. There is usually at least a kernel of truth on every ear of constructive criticism. Look for it and learn from it.
  4. Say "Thanks" and take action. After winning the White House, Roosevelt recognized two people whose roles were paramount in his election. One was Louis Howe, his long-time friend and the man who would not let FDR give the speech he wanted to give.

Sometimes the biggest enemy I face is me! And the solution to "me" is you. Help! Save me . . . from myself!

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20 ESV

Question: What makes someone a "trusted adviser"? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.


1 Alex Kingsbury, "Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" Sealed the Deal in 1932.", January 17, 2008. Accessed October 4, 2011. 2Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment, page 119. 3 Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, being a man of understanding and a scribe. He and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend. (1 Chronicles 27:32-33)