The Fine Art of Discretion

We live in a TMI culture—too much information. People process the deep dark things of life on social media for the entire world to read. Am I the only one who struggles with such blatant openness? I will just say it: Some folks need to rediscover the fine art of discretion. I know, I know—I am on a soapbox and sound preachy. Forgive me. No, I take that back. I believe there is some information you need to keep to yourself.

I admire Nehemiah’s discretion. He arrived in Jerusalem knowing the task to rebuild was not going to be easy. We find out right away that he encountered folks who were not happy about his presence and his purpose (Nehemiah 2:9–10). He did not overreact to the criticism, nor did he rush to pull together supporters to start an immediate building project. The journey had been long, and the task ahead would take energy, so he rested.

After resting for three days, he still did not rally the people to action. Instead, he went out at night when no one else was around. He surveyed the ruins and quietly processed his thoughts. He made an honest assessment to create a practical plan. Too much was at stake to rush. He needed firsthand knowledge. Nehemiah knew he could not do the work of rebuilding alone, but he needed to spend time alone to understand his role.

When I feel needy or frustrated, my first tendency is to run to anyone who will listen. Social media adds a new dimension to “anyone.” When seeking help for your family in time of frustration or crisis, be intentional about the whom and where. Too much personal information on social media can become embarrassing, even harmful. There are good places to go for help. Go to specific, confidential people to process. Learn a lesson in wisdom from Nehemiah, and put some time and space between stimulus and response.

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