The older I get, the more I realize that living well is not easy. Living? No big deal. Just breathe in and out. Living well? That’s another story altogether.
I want to parent well, but that task has never been easy or gotten easier.
I want to serve the Lord well, but I seem to come up short more often than I succeed.
I want to manage my money well. My husband would say I have a long ways to go on that one.
I want to write well, but I’m never satisfied with the finished product.
I want to teach well, but I never feel completely prepared.
To do anything well it takes more than effort and determination. I’ve decided that to live well, really well, requires wisdom.
For the last few days in my Bible reading I’ve been reading through Proverbs 8 where wisdom takes on the personification of a woman and calls out to anyone who will seek her. She readily makes herself available, according to this passage in the book of wisdom, but few will make her a priority.
Lately I’ve been hearing a little bit about the Tiger Mom theories on parenting. Have you heard about this method of raising children? Often adopted by Asian parents (but not exclusively, by any means) this method includes pushing children to excel at all costs, limiting children’s involvement with others, and insisting on extremely high standards.
On the other hand, I recently heard another parenting “expert” say that parents should simply “relax and enjoy the relationship more.” According to this author, parenting isn’t nearly as big a deal as many of us have made it out to be and we all ought to just chill a little.
It occurred to me as I listened to the debate between these two women — the Tiger Mom and the laisez faire mom — that there is someone else who has something to say on parenting: lady wisdom.
You see, we can listen to other voices on just about any issue in life, or we can seek out the counsel of lady wisdom. And by “lady wisdom” I simply mean Proverbs 8 wisdom, biblical wisdom, godly wisdom.
But here’s the thing about lady wisdom. You won’t likely find her on Good Morning America, where these other two ladies have made their positions clear. While lady wisdom is accessible to anyone, she has to be sought out.
The Bible teaches us that God makes wisdom accessible to every believer. It is free, without costs. It is readily available. And He gives it generously.
But we have to seek it. We have to ask for it. We have to dig for it.
It’s been explained to me like this: There are some things that God holds in an open hand for His children. He holds out peace, forgiveness, mercy, goodness, love, and compassion in His open palm. These things and others are free for the taking. We always have His presence, His provision, and His protection. But wisdom is a little different. He holds it in a closed palm. He’s not tight-fisted with it. He will gladly open His fingers and pour wisdom into our lives (James 1:5). But here’s the catch. We have to ask for it. We have to really want it.
How badly do you want to be wise? How badly do you want to live well, wisely?
Here are some of the benefits lady wisdom offers in Proverbs 8:
- discernment between right and wrong
- straightforward advice
- sound counsel in difficult situations
- understanding of hard to diagnose dilemmas
- power to make things happen
- the ability to acquire and handle money
- spiritual blessings
- abundant life
- favor with God
These are some pretty nice benefits, wouldn’t you agree? Wisdom will pay dividends in my life as a parent, a friend, a wife, a church member, a writer, a maker and manager of money, a homemaker, a voter and every other area of my life.
So today instead of just breathing in and out I’m seeking me some wisdom. I’m asking for it. And I’m digging in the Word of God for it too. I’m going to seek it like much fine gold and mine for it like precious diamonds. And I know God will generously open His gracious hand and pour it in. I’m counting on it because I want to live well.