To have a great marriage.
To be a better parent.
To be a Proverbs 31 woman.
To be more godly.
Then I asked, "So what does that mean?"
There was silence, and all of them repeated their words, slower this time.
Yeah, I get that, but what does it mean? They repeat themselves even more slowly. "To...have...a...great...marriage." And this time there is a question at the end.
Therein lies the problem.
Don't get me wrong. I think great marriages, better parenting, and godly living are all great goals, but the problem is they are way too abstract.
This is what I have found in people who are unhappy. They tell you they are unhappy, but they don't identify what they are unhappy about. It just isn't what they want. Okay. So what do you want? Well, they don't really know, but this isn't it.
If you don't know what you want, how will you ever develop a plan to reach it? And how will you know if you've found it?
One of the heart desires I listed is to have wisdom. Not perfect, but wise. In fact, I think part of wisdom is knowing to let go of the perfection expectation, but that is a different blog.
The question I have to ask myself is: what do I mean by gaining and speaking with wisdom?
My answers determine my path to solution.
My definition of speaking wisdom includes:
- Knowing when to keep my mouth shut.
- Pointing people always to God.
- Having the courage to speak the truth that may be hard to hear but speaking it with love, not judgment.
- Knowing how to address a problem to reach a desired solution.
The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom, but in summary, it all starts one place: with God. (Check out Proverbs 2)
- So I'm reading five chapters a day from the Bible. Not telling you that to sound impressive. Just sharing part of my gaining wisdom plan.
- I am spending time I would normally spend watching a movie, playing solitaire, on Facebook, or in other ways praying honestly with God. Just talking about issues I have to address and seeking His word and will on them.
- I am reading books by great leaders. Maybe not the ones you think or approve of, but great leaders, nonetheless. I'm reading Oswald Chambers, but I'm also reading Patton.
- I'm reading books and having conversations by people and with people who know what I want to learn.
- I am giving time before I respond to questions, situations, and issues. I won't say I never respond out of emotion because again, I'm not perfect, but I'm a lot better at being honest and saying, "Right now, I am too emotional to think this through on a logical level. Give me some time to pray this through and find a clear mind so I can address it well." For the most part, people are okay with that and appreciate being respected and valued instead of lambasted, and really, isn't that the point? That I value their feelings and heart too much to go off in my offended flesh and do damage? It isn't just that I look good. It's that I treat others well.
- I'm also tending my calendar better. I make concerted effort not to get overbooked, over busy, and overworked. I'm making time to rest and think things through instead of always living in a mindset of urgency.
Plus, later in Proverbs it says, "Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established (24:3)," which totally speaks to my desire to have a great relationship with my kids and my desire for them to serve God. Gotta love multi-tasking the God way!
Now, I'm a realist. I'm not perfect and won't be. I won't be all wise by the end of the year. This never was a New Year's resolution anyway. This is a life plan. My life plan to gain wisdom I want to live by and lead with. It's the map I am using to reach a specific goal so when it comes time to die, I can look back and be happy with how I lived.
Know what I mean?
The Value of Wisdom
1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.
10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;
16 To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
18 For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return,
Nor do they regain the paths of life—
20 So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.
21 For the upright will dwell in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be cut off from the earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.