When it comes to making mistakes, I am Queen!!! I always find myself saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, or being completely misunderstood and left feeling stupid and embarrassed afterwards. Mistakes follow me because, well... I'm human. I'm impulsive. I'm reactive. And though I want to have more control over my failures as well as my successes, what seems to be the best decisions sometimes proves to be yet another mistake. Am I alone? Odds are, I'm not. Odds are, you can look back over your life... over the last 7 days even, and recognize some mistakes you've made.
The expectation is that with age comes wisdom; but wisdom is not a coming of age attribute. It is not acquired by the being or the existing; rather, it is received by the seeking.
Wisdom is a spiritual gift and one that must be practiced, pursued and prayed for. It is not an accidental accomplishment.
"If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you."
In this passage, we can uncover the key elements of obtaining wisdom and how this will produce within us a life of success for ourselves and an example for others. Wisdom will crown our lives and provide protection, success, honor, beauty and long life. If we do things God's way, we are guaranteed to experience these elements of prosperity because they are a reward to those who seek wisdom, which, as scripture teaches, comes from God (Proverbs 1:7). Without wisdom, our lives get pretty messy.
So here are a few ways to help us practice wisdom and avoid messy results!
1. First, we must recognize that wisdom is a spiritual principle. It can't be acquired through books or late night cram sessions. It's a condition of the heart; a willingness to live based on the guidance and instruction of the Lord and those who are in spiritual maturity who love you and who lead by example. It's more than simply good advice. Wisdom is rooted in trust and obedience.
2. Although we can become smarter by making our own mistakes and learning from those lessons, true wisdom is exercised by avoiding those mistakes all together. Why go through problems when you don't have to? Why live a 'trial and error' life when there are people positioned to help you navigate around drama and disaster? According to Scripture, who ever trusts in their own ways and prefers to "find out for themselves" is a fool (Proverbs 28:26). Instead of trying to do things on your own, wisdom requires a relinquishing of our pride and an admittance that we need support and direction in this life.
None of us are naturally wise (1 Corintians 3:18)! But those who seek wisdom heed the warnings from those who are spiritually sound and successful in living life. Do you want stronger and more meaningful relationships? Then seek to learn from those who have long term success in their marriage and in their friendships. Do you want to improve your finances? Then consult with someone who is financially stable and responsible. It's our generations' misguided downfall that we can live life our way, without consequences. This is not true. When we don't heed wisdom, regrets are sure to follow. Wisdom eliminates disaster and distress.
3. The third way to avoid making mistakes is to recognize that wisdom must be sought after. It won't be an accidental addition to your life. There must be a pursued hunger to gain wisdom. Ways in which to attain wisdom is through humbling ourselves to ask questions and advice. Pride keeps us from exposing our struggles to others. We don't want people to know that we are lacking in an area or suffering in another, so we keep it to ourselves, avoid people, lie and make excuses; all which scream UNWISE!
If we want to truly live in wisdom, then we must become vulnerable- facing the truth that we all need help and then seeking the necessary people who will guide us. The first step is asking questions and going to God in prayer. As we pray and ask the Lord to expose our hearts, we can also ask Him to guide us towards people who can pour into us, encourage us and guide us in wisdom. Trust me, it might be difficult and even embarrassing in the beginning, but the alternative can be destructive to our very purpose and path in life. I promise you, there is someone in you life who is dying to be your support and encourager. Reach out to her and know that you are loved!
4. Once we have aligned ourselves with wise people, the next step is to practice wisdom, purposefully. This basically means that acquiring wisdom far exceeds having a good conversation. How does it benefit anyone to hear wisdom, be taught wisdom and then continue to do the opposite?
We are so blessed in this country to have the freedom of accessing wisdom through God's Word. We have access to scripture through our Bibles, through church, through the internet and apps. We can download, upload, order and sing scripture if we want to; yet how much of that is laid on the way side, as we neglect this wisdom in order to figure things out on our own? Doing such puts us at a disadvantage: not just spiritually, but practically as well. "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future" (Proverbs 19:20). Remember, we are not just living haphazardly. There is an enemy that wants us to forget about wisdom. He wants to keep us in the darkness of unnecessary drama so that he can manipulate us and keep us from our victory. Wisdom holds the key to life, but she expects to be pursued.
5. Lastly, Wisdom must be loved. Proverbs states that fools hate wisdom; basically, a fool is one who does everything opposite of what we have been discussing today: They don't understand it's a spiritual component, they are intent on doing things their own way without any help, they are prideful and won't seek guidance from others and they ignore any advice or warnings that they may receive from those who love them.
"Apply your heart to wisdom" and "Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you" (Proverbs 23:12/ 4:6). Believe it or not, loving and respecting God is the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). When we position our hearts to follow the Lord, He directs us into wisdom, through His wisdom because God is wisdom and God is love. When we love God, our natural reaction is to love His wisdom as well. Seeking God means seeking wisdom. It is a simultaneous journey, but the first step is love.
When we pursue God, we pursue wisdom, which comes from God and God alone. He is wisdom and therefore is the source to acquiring it. Intellect can be taught, but wisdom is a gift that comes from our loving Lord.
I admit, sometimes, mistakes just happen. Learn from your mistakes... don't repeat them. But at the same time, pray for wisdom and discernment so as not to even put yourself in the position to make any unnecessary messes. In this way, you reap multiple rewards and honor God at the same time!
*Just for fun, I thought it would be encouraging to share with you wisdom that some of the Pearls have acquired through various experiences. Below, a few of the girls share lessons that they have learned. I hope it blesses you!
Advice from Pearls of Hope
" Don't be afraid to live without compromise for Jesus, because this will eliminate any regret or uncertainty".
"My mom used to always say, "fear is the devil's favorite weapon but we should always use our weapon of faith".
"The best lesson I ever learned from my mom is, "watch other people so that y