“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.”
I’m not quite sure how to start this particular post. So I think I’ll start with a confession.
I have the type of personality that when I get stressed, I shut down and try to ignore whatever problems I’m facing, in the ignorant and foolish hopes that they will go away. They never do. This has happened to me several times, throughout the various seasons of my life.
*sigh* I’m beginning to find myself in one of those seasons.
Over the past several weeks, what started out as small, easy to solve problems grew into bigger, scarier problems. Which I find ironic. Why? Because the reason I let them become bigger problems was because I was too afraid to confront them in the first place.
For reasons unbeknownst, I am terrified of conflict. I would rather live with things getting really bad in the hopes of them magically and miraculously going away rather than dealing with them.
For reasons unbeknownst, I cannot for the life of me tell people what I’m really thinking. I deflect. I use extremely vague language. I try to turn the conversations to other things, to other people, to other examples that only have peripheral significance to whatever is being said.
And for reasons unbeknownst, it’s very difficult for me to ask for help. Because to admit I need help would be to admit that I am weak, that I don’t have it all together, and that I’m not perfect. Hehe, and I know how… prideful that seems. *shrugs* maybe it just pride, I don’t know. But for me, I can’t bring myself to do it because, again, I’m afraid. Afraid that if I *do* admit I am weak and need help, that those around me will say “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.” Then everyone in my life will walk away, and I’ll be left all alone. Looking back on my past, I’m not smart enough to say I’ve ever experienced this before to cause a permanent mark on me or not. Maybe it was some big event in my life I’ve repressed. Maybe it was just a bunch of little things over a long period of time that convinced me I should fear such things….
But for whatever reasons, relevant or otherwise, here I am again, stuck in a situation of my own making. And now I’m faced with a question; am I willing to do the right thing, even if it’s hard?
Heh, I’m not an avid reader of the book of Proverbs (wisdom literature), but when last I spent a significant amount of time with it, several themes emerged for me. One theme being that a lot of humility is required in wisdom. It takes a lot of humility to seek out wise counsel, to realize in yourself that it might be better to listen to your friends and parents, and follow what they tell you, simply because you know they are smarter than you are. More often than not, I tend to just take the advice of the people around me, weigh it against my own brain and experience, and decide which bits and pieces of advice I’m going to follow, then do whatever else *I* think is best. But that’s like Thomas Jefferson, cutting out the pieces of the Bible he didn’t like. That’s not wisdom.
Another theme that emerged was this idea of action. That in order to be wise, one must act on wise counsel, to go forth, to find courage, to be valiant, to follow through on what you know is right. Wisdom isn’t passive. It doesn’t just sit there and tell everyone what the right thing to do is, and then never do it.
How do we know this is true? Well, look at Jesus. He was called Good Teacher. Being a teacher obviously requires wisdom. Moreover, Jesus is God the Son, the wisest man to ever be clothed in flesh. Now, I ask myself; was Jesus passive? Did he just tell people what to do and then never follow through with it? Did he just teach a lot of good things, but when push came to shove, he just stepped back, not wanting to step on people’s toes? No, of course not! Jesus was a man of action! He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Jesus always knew what the right thing to do was, and he always did it, no matter what.
People have been telling me for a long time that I’m very mature, and very wise for my age. But by the grace of God, He has been humbling me, and now I find I’m tempted to disagree with that statement. I’ve been very blessed with a strong foundation, with a large support group of wise people who pour a lot of time and effort to impart their wisdom onto me. But that doesn’t make me wise. What makes me wise is to know what the right thing is and to follow through with it. And as hard as it is for me to admit it, more often than not, I let fear hold me back from following through with action. I let fear, and pride get in the way of walking in righteousness.
*sigh* What another beautiful opportunity I’ve been presented with this revelation. Because now I am again reminded that I have Christ.
Because yes, I am weak. I am afraid. I am imperfect. I don’t have it all together. And I need help. But because of Christ, that doesn’t have to scare me anymore. And because of Christ, I can have the strength to know what the right thing is, and to follow through with action.
*smiles* Sometimes, God sends opportunities our way. And we screw them up. But it takes courage, strength, and wisdom to say ‘Yes, I fell flat on my face today. But I won’t give up. I’ll try again tomorrow, And when I do, I’m going to ask someone to hold my hand as I do it.”
So. Thank You Jesus, for today. I pray for the courage to face tomorrow.
“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” Psalm 107:43