Seated again today in the company of great wisdom, I found myself fidgeting. I was deeply valuing this moment, in which my question was gleaning an answer of power and insight. It was as if golden beams were being laid within.
But I’m a classic over-thinker, so try not to laugh or roll your eyes at me as I admit my internal battle. It is silly to sit across from such relational wealth–and honestly, someone who knows me so well–wrestling so endlessly. But there I sat, at war with a question that had not yet surfaced.
In a quiet moment, it bubbled up finally: What is the best way to receive wisdom when she speaks, so that she knows I value her?
I believe I ensure wisdom’s constant flow into my life when I receive her well. Wisdom knows her worth and loves to know she is valued.
I think I have tried every possible approach, each reflecting the present reality of my heart, though I didn’t realize that at the time.
When wisdom has spoken to me, I have:
- hurried to explain that I already knew of this wisdom–totally blind that I did not.
- discarded it entirely. Because I distrusted or dishonored the person who gave it, I did not consider their voice to be wise.
- absorbed it without discernment, anxious to win the approval of the person who gave it.
- nodded as though I grasped the words, and ignored the questions in my heart that signaled that I did not understand.
- been fretful that my counselor would see me with shortcomings, more preoccupied with my reputation than my becoming.
- turned an accidental deaf ear, ignorantly more focused on being able to tell my story than to actually glean the wealth of another.
- postured myself to immediately respond, cutting its voice short in my reluctance to submit or be vulnerable.
- hastened to demonstrate all the parts that I already understood. My ego required validation for every inch I had already gained. To accept their counsel without making sure I received full credit for the parts that overlapped my current knowledge burned me up inside, that they would be unaware of how smart I was already. I treated wisdom like levels, and if I was on level 3 and they gave me level 2 wisdom, I wanted them to know it. (I did not yet know this was foolishness.)
- considered myself unworthy or not qualified of the answer, so I did not ask the real question. I’ve also avoided the question in the fear of embarrassment, stubbornness that I was right or could figure it out on my own.
- fought back, because the counsel was hitting hot buttons that I resented, or because I wanted to demonstrate having a mind of my own. It seemed that a good push back would show I was thinking for myself, even if I knew eventually I would let them see I knew they were right.
- piously disdained the counsel, because I considered myself exempt from critical thinking, too righteous to be restrained by sound roots, or because walked as a nomad from the polishing family that brings us to perfection. I have also permitted something I considered prophetic to be exempt from wisdom, but of course it never is. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…
All of these, and probably more, have surfaced as those who love me counsel me.
It seems that wisdom will always encounter my flesh when she speaks to me, as she carries the very equipment to strengthen my spirit, my identity, and my life. My flesh is the defeating force that will always attempt to neutralize her power when she speaks. And if you look closely above, you will see flesh attempting to inject her poison in every instance.
Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?
On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out!… (Prov 8)
I have much to learn, but what I have learned is this: it matters little that wisdom is crying in the streets, if my heart is not open to hear her. Haven’t we all had the counselor, the well-meaning one, come to us–and we hardened? Haven’t we all encountered the wise voice that we did not welcome? We have resented them, filtered them, silenced them, ignored them, disqualified them, belittled them–and in every case, we revealed our own heart.
Imagine the inner turmoil this causes for those among us with great insight and few who will really listen. Do you think they can’t sense the rejection, the subtle glaze that casts across our eyes as we tune out? To know the pent-up burst of gold that would release if we would only pause long enough to call upon it? There are many among us with great Wisdom alive within them. To treat this wealth with contempt is heartbreaking.
Imagine the agony of knowing you could bring clarity, vision, healing and wholeness in broad strokes, if only someone would listen? Imagine how you might, over time, learn to hold your tongue, waiting with baited breath for a searching one to come and sit with you. Imagine the appetite you would have for the one who comes, and instead of voicing their complaint, and lamenting their malady… instead of consuming the air of the room with confusing gloom, they open a silent moment to your voice.
And open their hearts to living Light.
Want to signal your thirst for wisdom? Ask a question.
Really, honest-to-goodness, on purpose–turn your heart to Wisdom. Open your heart and seek out someone who is harvesting the fruit you long for. Set aside your pride; arrogance and wisdom are mortal enemies. Lay aside your fear, that imagined foe. Dismiss all allegiance to hopelessness and inevitable defeat. Give up all white-knuckled claim to what you already know and allow wisdom to shape it anew. Allow understanding to make new connections; her simplicity is a sharp spade that will allow your roots to go deeper.
Seriously, half of the battle is asking the question. It accomplishes the internal work–the respect and honor you pay in ensuring your soil is ready for new seed.
Asking the question is not required for wisdom to speak, but it signals that my heart is uniquely open and vulnerable to the answer. It demonstrates humility has silenced ego and rebellion. And best of all, it reveals that the heart is soft and fertile.
So ask the question. And then listen to the answer.
Really listen. To the full answer. Go and put in motion her simple counsel. You will invite the storehouses of Abundant Life Himself into your reality.