What does it really mean to be 'wise'. Is it about stroking a long flowing beard whilst pontificating about the deeper meaning of life? Is it something that comes with age, like grey hairs and clicking knees? Perhaps wisdom is found in education, the infilling of our minds with knowledge and understanding so that we can teach the generation behind us how to avoid all the mistakes we are making (and secretly have no regrets over whatsoever). We know we need to BE wise. But how do we learn to acquire Godly wisdom..?
I think it is all of these things (well, apart from the long beard.. I hope). Wisdom is certainly cumulative and addicting because when you acquire a piece, no matter how small, of true bone fide wisdom and you find that it serves you well, you're hooked. Now you want more of this good stuff and you will seek it high and low because you've learned that with maturity, not age, comes wisdom and it tastes sweet.
What is Wisdom?
Wisdom lets you rest in peace - knowing that all things will work out for the good regardless of how chaotic and overwhelming it may look right now.
Wisdom makes you more authentically yourself - not caring one iota what people may - or may not - think about you or your decisions. The only person you are seeking to please now is your Father.
Wisdom lets you speak - it gives you a blessed assurance of the immeasurable value of your voice in a catastrophically cluttered world of me-me-me-media.
Wisdom makes clear your priorities - it is no longer as hard to say No, because you know that in saying No to one opportunity, you're saying Yes to a whole lot more.
Wisdom anchors you to Love - you are no longer distracted and beguiled by the shiny new things that take you away from the source and energy which sustains you. You are hungry only to please your one true love, the originator of all wisdom Himself.
So, how do we grow in wisdom? Let's get really practical:
1. Get around wise people. Watch them, listen to them, copy them. And if you don't know any wise people - read books by wise people, watch their videos. Oh, and get some new friends!
2. Don't be afraid to fail. Sometimes wisdom comes by learning what hurt last time so that you can avoid it this time. Sometimes you just have to 'fail forward' and as you stumble back up onto your feet, pretend it was all part of the dance.
3. Read books. Not fiction, real life. Biographies, autobiographies, history, geography, business, family, whatever floats your particular boat - make sure it's fuelled up with inspiration from those out there ahead of you on the open seas, living and breathing the kind of adventure you want your life to be.
4. Take A Stock-Take on Your Life. Write down the 10 main 'segments' of your life e.g. finance, home, marriage, friendship, career, health, environment, giving, faith-life, fun ~ then rate your current level of satisfaction with each segment, out of 10. Look at your scores. What are the two lowest scores? Why are they low? What do you want them to be this time next month, or next year? Then figure out just 1 key thing that you're going to do to make darn sure that score starts climbing. This life is no rehearsal and so this 30-minute stock-take exercise could be the wisest things you've done all year.
5. Start Saying No. That's all.
6. Keep A Journal. If you don't already, start a journal straight away. Get a notebook you like (undated) and just write in it as often as you possibly can. Maybe you'll do 'Morning Pages' and become a champ at freestyle brain dumping each day. Maybe like me, you'll jot down a few bullet points you are grateful for, and a few more bullet points of things you're praying over. However you want to do it, journalling is the cheapest therapy you'll ever get. As you write, not only are you are processing your decisions, weighing them up, making adjustments as you go, but as you read back in months, even years to come, you'll see just how wisdom grows and unfolds your unique life journey.
So, how can we be wiser?
We listen, we watch, we pray, we read, we reflect. In essence, we learn, continuously.
As Christians, we are called into a life of discipleship - not to be happy, fluffy do-gooders (though that's always nice) but to be world-changers. How will we change the world? How will we know when to speak up and what to say? By craving and hunting wisdom down. Let wisdom be our guide. Let wisdom speak through us, be seen in us and define us.
We are different. We have access to the Wisdom of God Almighty.
King Solomon was wise enough to ask for wisdom ~ are we?