During the past 8 years of my journey through infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, I have been given a lot of advice and input from all sorts of people. I honestly don’t mind this because I know most people are well meaning. They’re showing their care and love for me by offering words of encouragement and hope. I genuinely appreciate that.
However, in the midst of this, I’ve seen a repeated pattern that has caught my attention. Over and over again I’ve been given positive, hope-filled words of advice and encouragement from kind and well meaning Christians that isn’t rooted in God’s truth.
Now, please don’t hear me say that I’m ungrateful for these people or look down on them in any way.
I absolutely don’t. I genuinely love and appreciate them. But the well meaning words they’re sharing with me aren’t pointing my heart to the true hope of the gospel — which is what my heart truly needs.
As Christians, it’s super easy for any of us to fall into this trap. I’ve been there myself plenty of times. We have a family member or friend going through a hard time, and we want to offer words of hope to them. So, we revert to giving advice and counsel that sounds really good and encouraging, but isn’t actually rooted in Scripture.
I call this type of encouragement, Fluffy Feel-Good advice.
Fluffy Feel-Good advice often comes from a genuine heart of care, but isn’t grounded in the truths of God’s Word.
For example, I’ve had so many well meaning people tell me things like, “God will give you a baby in His perfect timing!” Or, “Your desire for parenthood is a clear indication that God has that for you down the road.” Or, “Just be patient, your time will come.” Or, “Keep praying for children and God will give you the desires of your heart.”
While each one of these positive sentiments are well meaning, they’re actually unbiblical Fluffy Feel-Goods. They offer short term hope, but not lasting peace and trust in God’s sovereignty. Each one of these comments offers a promise that God hasn’t made to me. If I bank my hope on a promise that God will give me children some day, what happens if that day never comes? Is God a liar? Is God unfaithful? That’s why this type of encouragement is so dangerous.
I’ve been personally guilty of dishing out my own Fluffy Feel-Goods on many occasions.
One of the most common situations I’ve been guilty of doing this is toward single women. These women are wrestling with singleness and longing to get married. In an effort to offer hope-filled counsel, I’ve said things like, “Most girls get married eventually…it’ll definitely happen to you someday.” And, “I didn’t get married right away, so don’t worry, it’ll happen!” Also, “Girl, enjoy the season of singleness! You’ll get married eventually.”
Again, these hope-filled sentiments sound so good, right? But sadly, they’re offering promises that God hasn’t made. These single women might not ever get married. And even if they do, their hope shouldn’t be centered on a husband. By giving this advice, I’m encouraging these women to place their hope on getting married someday rather than on God.
The biggest danger of giving fluffy feel-good counsel is that it places our hope on something other than Jesus.
This will ultimately do more harm than good for that person. This is why we, as Christians, need to be so careful with the well meaning advice and counsel we give to others. We need to ask ourselves if we’re making promises that God hasn’t made. We need to examine our advice to see if it’s rooted in Scripture. We need to evaluate our words to see whether or not we’re pushing people toward hoping in God or hoping in their circumstances.
Rather than offering Fluffy Feel-Goods, I want to challenge each one of us to offer Gospel-Centered Hope.
By offering Gospel-Centered Hope, we will be doing a true act of service to our fellow Christian sisters. Instead of promising her things God has never promised, we will be helping her to put her full hope and trust in God regardless of whether or not her circumstances ever change.
Instead of telling the single woman that she’ll get married someday, we can tell her that God loves her and has a good plan for her life whether that includes marriage or not.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We can encourage her to find peace by trusting in God’s plan for her life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Instead of promising the infertile couple that God will bless them with a baby someday, we can remind them that God cares for them and is with them in the midst of their pain. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). We can encourage them that God loves them and will fulfill His good purpose in their life whether that includes children or not. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).
No matter what someone is going through, we can offer Gospel-Centered Hope to them from God’s Word.
We can help them see God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness in the midst of their challenging circumstances. This sort of advice and counsel is what brings lasting hope and peace to hurting hearts. Rather than offering up positive Fluffy Feel-Good advice, I want to encourage all of us to be Christian women who look to God’s word for counsel and offer gospel hope to the women in our lives.
May our words lead struggling and parched hearts to the satisfying Source of lasting hope.
May our counsel be rooted in the rock solid promises of Scripture. May our encouragement point others to the Almighty Healer who binds wounds and heals broken hearts. And in those moments when we don’t know what to say, may the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 be our guide, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
I’d love to chat with you below!
- What “Fluffy Feel-Goods” have you been guilty of offering to others, or have others offered to you?
- What long-term problems can come from offering hope that isn’t gospel centered?
PS I created a free resource called “15 Verses to Give Hope During Hard Times” and you can download it for free. To grab a copy of this free printable PDF, click here.