I find myself in need of wisdom. Wisdom to know how to behave in a variety of situations, how to spend my time, how and when to sacrifice, how to raise my son, how to be a wife, how to find and be a friend, how to speak, how to write, how to work. I'm at a loss in so many areas of life. The bar is set so very high and I realize that I will never attain it. It is exhausting; both the striving and the realizing. And so, I seek - not more hours in the day or more motivation or more energy - rather WISDOM. To know when enough is enough. To know when I am on the right path even when the ground is rocky, when I'm tempted to question and seek out a different path because, "Surely, it wasn't meant to be this hard."
This morning I read the book of James in the Bible. I learned that there are two kinds of wisdom to be had:
1. "But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:14-16
This is the first type of wisdom that is mentioned in James. I find it funny that wisdom is in quotes in this verse. As if to say, "You call that wisdom? Yeah right!" I remember my son coming home from first grade, all of six years old, and restating something that his teacher had said that day and using finger quotes in the air to denote sarcasm, just as she had done. We mentioned it at our next student-teacher conference and we all got a kick out of it. James isn't giving a silly example though. It is meant as a sign of disgust. "Don't be fooled by this so-called wisdom," James is saying. If your "knowledge" is coming from your own personal feelings of envy and ambition - it is sorely lacking. So clearly, this is not the type of wisdom that I am in search of.
2. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all
full of mercy and good fruit,
impartial and sincere." James 3:17
This is what I'm looking for! A wisdom that stems from and leads upon these paths.
When I ask for wisdom to know how to be a better parent, am I asking for an answer that involves purity, peace, consideration, submission, mercy and good fruit, impartiality and sincerity FROM ME? Or am I just looking selfishly for the quickest, easiest, "wisest" way to get my son to exhibit these qualities so that my life will be better? Ouch.
When I ask for wisdom do I really want the answer? If I don't, then I better not ask.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:5-7
From now on, when I am desperate for wisdom in an area of my life, may this be my prayer:
I know that you give wisdom generously to all who ask for it. I also know that your wisdom doesn't look like the world's wisdom and has nothing to do with my ego or ambition. Help me let go of what I think wisdom looks like and accept the wisdom that you are ready to freely give me. I am asking for wisdom about "insert pressing need here." Will you please show me the purest, most peace-loving, considerate, submissive, merciful, fruit-bearing, impartial, sincere way to move forward? When you show me, I will act on it immediately and I trust you with the result.
Thank you for your grace and your wisdom and for loving me enough to give both to me so lavishly. I love you too!
In the name of Jesus, your son, I leave this request in your capable and mighty hands. Amen.
Thanks for the challenge, Kid President! Here is my son Tim's list of what the kids need to know:
1. Choose chocolate, not vanilla.
2. Do your homework.
3. Wait to get a phone, until you are 16 or 18.
4. Do something nice everyday.
6. Don't be afraid to ask someone to dance with you.
7. Don't tackle in basketball.
8. Eat stuffing!
9. Laugh! A lot.
10. Be respectful to others.
And here is mine:
1. You might be afraid to try something new, but don't let fear keep you from trying it anyway. Be brave!
2. Find ways to make boring things more fun. Turn the hard things into a game.
3. Don't be in a hurry to get to the next cool thing... make sure you've maxed out on all the coolness right where you are at first.
4. Take good care of your body and ask questions about how it works and what is best for it.
5. Being a friend is one of the best things ever. Get to know people really well... not just the basics, but the stuff other people don't know about them. Everyone needs to be known.
6. Read. A lot.
7. Be careful about what you let yourself see, hear, touch and do.
8. Pray. God is real and he loves you.
9. Always tell the truth.
10. Always say "sorry" and "I forgive you" when you need to. Quickly and out loud.
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!