I was married at age nineteen and became a Mom when almost age twenty-one.
By the time I was in my early thirties, I had children who were turning into teenagers, and the last thing I believed about myself was that I had enough wisdom to get me through the years that were just ahead.
I remember the day, around that time, when I realized that my parents had only been thirty-six and thirty-four when I began dating Mr. Van. Wow!! And I really did believe that they were wise. After all, they had five children, of which I was the oldest, and they had already been married for sixteen years. I was fifteen.
So, now I was thirty-four years old with a fourteen-year-old son, and two more coming up right behind him, at twelve and nine.
I was involved at the time with a weekly Bible Study for women. There were about twenty of us who studied together, usually books of the Bible. We took turns caring for each other’s children so that we could all attend. Quite a few of us lived in the same neighborhood, and so we could have the study in one home, and care for the children in another close by. It worked well for us at that time.
That particular fall, as I debated about my personal level of wise-living, we were going to study about wisdom. I believe it might have been a study on the book of Proverbs, but am not sure. What I do remember is being challenged by our leader, a wonderful godly woman, to ask God for wisdom if we felt it lacking in our life.
Ask for Wisdom
James is a book in the New Testament section of the Bible. If you have a Bible and are interested, check out your Table of Contents and you will see two divisions, The Old Testament and the New Testament. The book of James is listed under The New Testament heading.
James has much to teach us about wisdom. My ESV (English Standard Version) Study Bible, published in 2008, tells us in the study notes for James 1:5 that
“Wisdom is a God-given and God-centered discernment regarding the practical issues in life. Wisdom comes from prayer for God’s help.”
Wait for Wisdom
Proverbs is another book under The Old Testament section of the Bible that also teaches us about wisdom.
Again, according to the ESV Study Bible notes on Proverbs 1:2-7, the commentator states that these verses introduce the goal of the whole book and the motto that underlies every instruction in the book. That goal is to instill wisdom in whoever chooses to read this book.
The wisdom offered is:
“Practical (instruction in wise dealing)
Intellectual (increase in learning)
Moral (righteousness, justice, and equity)
Probing (to understand a proverb and…riddles)”
And that wisdom is for everyone.
Grow in Wisdom
So how do wisdom and an intentional life go together?
Teach Me To… Number my days. Increase in learning and to obtain guidance.
MY MUSINGS THIS WEEK
*I still continually feel the need for more wisdom in my life. The challenges of living in intention spiritually, relationally, emotionally, physically, and intellectually are never-ending. To live as a follower of Jesus in our culture today and to fill my place in God’s kingdom requires more than I am capable of figuring out on my own. I need God’s wisdom to make good choices and to discern the best of the good for each day.
*Grief has a way of helping a person to desire more wisdom in their life. To reassess who God is, who we are in Jesus, and also to understand why we do what we do. I really miss my Mom, and yet I know that she is enjoying her eternal life in heaven, which she intentionally prepared for all her days. How amazing to think that we have that same opportunity. There is an underlying sadness right now as our family adjusts to life without her, and yet a joyful anticipation of also continuing to prepare to join her at some point.
*No matter our age or stage of life, we will never attain all the wisdom we need to live in intention. Years ago I accepted a challenge to consider reading the Book of Proverbs, one chapter a day for a whole month. Thirty-one chapters for thirty or thirty-one days. I learned so much by dividing and conquering the book, and meditating on each verse as it came up. I try to repeat that challenge three or four times a year.
*Another great resource I came across about three years ago was a book called, Pursue the Intentional Life, by Jean Fleming. Oh, my, a book so full of rich content and much to ponder. This book helped me to begin a new stage of life that I was finding very challenging. There also happen to be thirty-one chapters in the book, one for each day for a month. It is a great resource to read alongside Proverbs.
YOUR MUSINGS THIS WEEK
*Do you consider yourself to be teachable? Are you longing to have more wisdom in your life? I don’t know where you are today in considering your relationship with God. Perhaps you have been walking with Him faithfully for many years. Perhaps you are just beginning to walk with Him, or perhaps you know that you need to renew that connection to Him. Maybe you are still pondering on Who He is, and why should you choose to follow Him and His ways. Those instructions are written for us in the Bible.
The Bible is God’s story to us, and yet the story is not yet finished. Each of us has a place in that story. If you are interested in knowing more please talk to someone in your life who already knows God and who can possibly answer your questions…
*I have been praying about how God would want to use His words to challenge us to grow in our relationship with Him, to understand better who we really are in Him, and how we can be more teachable to grow in wisdom no matter how far along we might feel we already are.
I would like to challenge you to consider reading the Book of Proverbs along with us here. We are going to read one chapter a week, and also take a snapshot look at each corresponding chapter in Pursue the Intentional Life. Watch for a blog post once a week to encourage us all along the way.
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