Grow in Wisdom
Another week has come and gone, and we are continuing to conquer our giants as I wrote about in our previous Wisdom Note. I am thankful for all the experiences and opportunities that God has weaved into my life. Even the very difficult one’s life Hazel’s diagnosis of Leukemia. Yes, it is overwhelming at times (okay, most of the time), but it is through the challenging times of daily life that we gain and grow in wisdom. Wisdom is obtained through years of proper thinking and experience. That is why today’s Wisdom Notes is titled “Think and Grow Wise.”
As we continue our trek of life each day, consider this: To become a wise person, you need to gain accurate, perceptive insights into human behavior and understand how this is integrated into everyday situations. You need to practice what Christ’s half-brother James wrote in his letter in Chapter 1, verses 19 and 20, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” You will need to be observers of human nature and master psychologists with excellent emotional intelligence.
You have to be willing to learn from real life experiences, not just academic study. This may mean that you keep what you know to yourself but are willing to share what you know with certain individuals that are ready to think and learn.
You need to have discernment and give advice to open-minded learners. If you desire to become wise, you will learn the talent of asking questions that lead to new understanding. This practice will bring a consciousness to yourself to communicate what you know when the situation is right and with those who are ready and willing to learn.
If you are to become wise you need to think about what you do and don’t do. You need to have a strong inner frame reference built on your integrity for your actions and statements. You need to learn to “read” situations well and understand others accurately to see through the obvious and to trust your intuition.
You will need to think through life issues and gain a sense of the hidden motives behind the actions of others. This practice will allow you to become less vulnerable to cons, threats, criticism, and manipulation. If you are able to learn this trait, then you can handle pressure and threats with humor. You will be able to remain stable and sustain self-control in times of turmoil. You will desire and expect things to work well. This will allow you to feel optimistic and self-confident when coping with rough situations.
A valuable way to understand this wisdom is to define what it is not. What is the opposite of wisdom? Here are 8 things that show a lack of wisdom:
- Speak or act in stupid ways, and then blame others for what happens.
- Speak or act in ways that cause difficulties for people or groups important to you.
- Speak or act in ways that lead to an unnecessary loss.
- Not learn from mistakes and make the same mistakes.
- Be out of touch with what is happening.
- Be bitter about the past and cynical about the future.
- Be outspoken about what others are doing wrong.
- Act in ways contrary to one’s stated values and goals, and not realize it.
How do you acquire wisdom? Here are four practical, yet simple ways:
- Develop life-long, child-like curiosity and a playful spirit.
- Be happy rather than hostile, no matter how badly life has treated you.
- Ask questions, explore, and desire to know how things work.
- Learn valuable lessons from difficult experiences.
Gaining wisdom can be defined as a three-part process:
- Gaining information or the raw data is the first step. Look for the kind of data you can find in books, in the research, on the internet.
- Knowledge through thinking is knowing or learning how to apply the information gathered.
- True wisdom is knowing when and under what circumstances the information and the knowledge are appropriate, or useful, or even true. And when and how and even whether to apply the knowledge you have gained.
I believe that personal wisdom begins with knowing who—and whose—we are, which allows us to live by a value system consistent with that understanding. Through this, we are able to see and appreciate, the unique gifts that God has given us. These are our personality traits, opportunities, and abilities to impact the lives of others. Appreciation is an integral part of wisdom, for we know that wisdom does not come to us naturally. It must be cultivated and nurtured through proper thinking.
If you desire a blueprint for becoming wise, one of the best ways is to study the book of Proverbs. In Chapter 1 it lays out the plan in verses 2-7,
“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Part of growing wise is to realize that events happen in our lives that we will never fully understand . As with our granddaughter Hazel and her leukemia, we don’t understand why, but we do have faith that God will work His will through this challenge. May it all draw us closer to God and help to conform each of us as His image bearers. While she is responding well to her treatments and the doctors are encouraged with her progress, the chemo treatments are starting to take their expected toll on her little body. I would appreciate continued prayers for Hazel and her family.