“…we aren’t home yet.”

womans-wisdomFrom A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything by Lydia Brownback:

No matter the specifics of our desires or how we express them, all our longings are indicative of the fact that we aren’t home yet. We are unfinished women living in an unfinished world, and because of that, we aren’t going to find full satisfaction until we get home, until we are perfected in Christ and living with him in heaven. Until then, we are going to remain women who want.

 

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“God doesn’t tell us the future for this simple, yet profound reason…”

just-do-somethingFrom Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something:

Wisdom is the difference between knowing a world-class biologist who can write your papers for you and studying under a world-class biologist so that you can write the kind of papers he would write. Too many of us want God to be the world-class scholar who will write our papers and live our lives for us, when God wants us to sit at His feet and read His Word so that we can live a life in the image of His Son. God doesn’t tell us the future for this simple, yet profound reason: We become what we behold. God wants us to behold Him in His glory so that we can be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). If God figures everything out for us, we wouldn’t need to focus on Him and learn to delight in His glory. God says, “I’m not giving you a crystal ball. I’m giving you My Word. Meditate on it; see Me in it; and become like Me.”

just read this book

just-do-somethingI’m late to the party on this one, I know, because Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something was published in 2009. It’s been on my shelf for ages, and I finally got to it earlier this month. It’s a short book – a quick read – but it’s meaty, y’all. The full title is great — Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. 

This book is packed with wisdom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard professing Christians talk about waiting – and waiting and waiting – for a sign before doing something. When you hear a Christian talk about finding his soul mate? Hand him this book. Worried about not being in “the center of God’s will”? Read this book. Afraid you have missed the path God laid out for you before the foundations of the earth? Yep, get this book.

It’s solid teaching that truly takes so much pressure off a believer. God doesn’t expect you to figure out His hidden will before you make decisions and act. Whew!

If you haven’t figured out by now, I highly recommend this one. And it would make a terrific graduation gift.

 

“Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself.”

just-do-somethingI’ve been reading through Proverbs lately (tweeting a verse here and there), and I’ve been thinking a lot about the contrast between a wise person and a fool. I’m also currently reading Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, and I highly recommend it. He’s making a case that while we’re inundated with information, wisdom is something entirely different. And we’re called by God to seek wisdom, not “some hidden will of direction. He expects us to trust Him and be wise.” DeYoung goes on:

Wisdom is understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God. Wisdom, in Proverbs, is always moral. The fool, the opposite of the wise person, is not a moron or an oaf. The fool is the person who does not live life God’s way. Wisdom is knowing God and doing as he commands. Foolishness, on the other hand, is turning from God and listening only to yourself.

Here are just a few characteristics of a wise man, as described in Proverbs:

~ fears the Lord
~ makes his parents glad
~ diligent
~ walks in integrity
~ listens to advice
~ loves discipline
~ guards his mouth
~ hangs out with other wise people
~ exercises self control

Contrast those with characteristics of a fool:

~ brings sorrow to his parents
~ lazy
~ runs his mouth
~ despises wisdom and instruction
~ refuses to listen to others
~ hangs out with other fools
~ reckless and careless
~ is easily angered

It’s pretty easy to look at those lists and immediately think of people we know – either in person or from television or Twitter. But the trick is finding ourselves there and seeking God’s help to grow in the characteristics of a wise person.

I realize I’m not on to anything new here, but it’s been on my mind and in my reading, and it’s worth pondering. All day long, I’m making little choices to be wise or to be foolish, and I really want to be wise. I’m thankful that God’s doesn’t hide that wisdom from us. He tells us to seek Him and His wisdom, and His word is the place to find it.

For the LORD gives wisdom;
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. ~ Proverbs 2:6

“do what you’re good at.”

Earlier this week I linked to a thought-provoking post — You’re not meant to do what you love. You’re meant to do what you’re good at. A friend shared it on Facebook, and there was a bit of pushback in the comments. That got me thinking deeper about the subject — which is exactly why blog posts and Facebook are useful. The disagreement in the comments was of the “you shouldn’t crush anyone’s dream” variety. But I think the original blog post was a pushback against just that mentality. Our culture is functionally narcissistic — what makes me happy? what do *I* want to do? And hell hath no fury like a person who has been told he’s not good at something.

The more I think about the original post, the more I agree. We should be pointing our children in the direction of serving with their gifts and abilities (and helping them to find out what those are) instead of encouraging them to follow their hearts. See the difference there? One of those directions is others-focused and the other is self-focused. Yes, occasionally these two worlds collide, but not always.

I was raised to work hard and to aim for excellence at whatever job I held. And I’ve learned that I’m the kind of person who can make herself like just about any job. I’ve never held a mind-numbingly boring job, but some of the jobs I’ve had may well be mind-numbing to others. Sure, there are jobs I really don’t think I’d want, but if I had to to it, I think I could jedi-mindtrick myself into seeing the worth of it and digging in. I’m very grateful that the job I’m in now is challenging and interesting and never boring. But I never grew up thinking that my passion was balancing numbers or solving daily mysteries or replying to emails. As it turns out, however, that’s where God used my gifts and abilities and circumstances to put me to serve right now. It wasn’t my dream, but I’m glad about how it’s turned out. It’s satisfying to know that I’m where I’m supposed to be, even if that’s a different place than I thought I’d be.

I often counseled my children to find what they loved and to figure out how to get paid for it. There’s truth in that to be sure. But if I had it to do over again, I’d add the part about finding what you’re actually good at.

Just thinking a little this Friday morning…

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“…something that just happens to one, like measles.”

cslewisFrom A Year With C.S. Lewis:

People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change–not realizing that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there…

Another notion we get from novels and plays is that ‘falling in love’ is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measles. And because they believe this, some married people throw up the sponge and give in when they find themselves attracted by a new acquaintance. But I am inclined to think that these irresistible passions are much rarer in real life than in books, at any rate when one is grown up. When we meet someone beautiful and clever and sympathetic, of course we ought, in one sense, to admire and love these good qualities. But is it not very largely in our own choice whether this love shall, or shall not, turn into what we call ‘being in love’? No doubt, if our minds are full of novels and plays and sentimental songs, and our bodies full of alcohol, we shall turn any love we feel into that kind of love: just as if you have a rut in your path all the rainwater will run into that rut, and if you wear blue spectacles everything you see will turn blue. But that will be our own fault.
–from Mere Christianity.

“It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run…”

cslewisFrom A Year With C.S. Lewis:

If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense–love as distinct from ‘being in love’–is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.
–from Mere Christianity.

“For happiness is not available to the immature.”

happinessFrom Happiness Is A Serious Problem by Dennis Prager:

The ultimate reason people take on a victim mentality is immaturity. It takes maturity to avoid tempting but destructive choices; it takes maturity to want to be in control of your life and not to be controlled; and it takes maturity not to allow yourself in times of crisis to wallow in self-pity.

The problem in our time is that maturity is not high on the list of goals we offer the next generation. We stress happiness, success, and intelligence but not maturity. And that is too bad, both for society, which suffers when too many of its members are immature, and for the individual who wants to be happy. For happiness is not available to the immature. And one of the prominent characteristics of immaturity is seeing oneself primarily as a victim.

“…a to-do list for this coming week.”

proverbs wisdomFrom Proverbs: Wisdom That Works by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.:

You probably have a to-do list for this coming week. Here are the priorities God wants at the top of your list in terms of urgency.

#1: Fear the Lord.

#2: Turn away from evil.

#3: As time permits, breathe.

That is the urgency of your life this week. It will add greatness to your life. It will add life to your life. It will save you from a wasted life.

“He will not submit to our schedule or agenda for our day.”

whatdidyouexpectFrom Paul Tripp’s What Did You Expect?:

The fact of the matter is that change is most often a process and seldom an event. Change happens chaotically. It comes unannounced, in fits and starts. We don’t wake up and say, “Hey, I think I’ll create all kinds of change today.” Change is pushed upon us by a persevering Redeemer, who will not walk away from the work he has begun in both husband and wife. He will put the need of change before us in the most inopportune moments. He will not submit to our schedule or agenda for our day. He has not promised that change will be enjoyable each time or a comfortable process over the long haul. He has promised to stay near us, giving us everything we need, and he has guaranteed that we will be more than we ever thought we could be. (He will not cease working until we are like Jesus. Now, how’s that for a goal!) So, he calls us to be patient. He calls us to be willing to wait. He calls us to continue when continuing is hard, and as we are continuing, to look for any way we can to incarnate his transforming love.