My One Word for 2012 is “wisdom,” and I think God gave me that word because He knew just how bad I would need it. So far this year I’d been so busy that I didn’t have time or energy to really focus on what that One Word would mean for this year. But now that I’m putting hope into action by slowing down, I’m also able to seek wisdom from God in each of the areas I realized I’m off track in. And like always, He’s guiding me.
I love this verse, and I love that God straight up tells us through James that we can ask Him for wisdom whenever we want, and He’ll give it to us without thinking any less of us. In other words, we can hope in God for an answer to our problems.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5 (NIV)
I like to ask God for wisdom about just about any issue I’m facing, and in my case I “hear” best when I read the Bible, watch podcasts of my favorite teachers (like Joyce Meyer and Greg Laurie), take notes in church (yes, I’m the geek with the bright pink notebook in one hand and my iPhone Bible app in the other), and read books by my favorite Christian authors. Sometimes He speaks to my soul and I know exactly what He’s saying, but most times He takes a collection of all of the above over a period of time and connects the dots until it finally all clicks in an “a ha!” moment.
The first thing God showed me this month when I decided to slow down and seek His wisdom is that I need to get back on the right path and stop “going around the same mountains,” as Joyce Meyer likes to put it in her teaching (you already know I love her work!). Of course, she’s referencing what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness when they got so hopeless that they spent decades going around the same mountain but never really advancing in life. (See Moses’ paraphrase in Deuteronomy 1:6)
I think that phrase also calls to light how I’ve let some little issues in life become way too big. In other words, I’ve made my mountains out of molehills. I called them “ruts” last week in my first post about putting hope into action. Beth Moore calls them “pits” in Get Out of that Pit, and Gordon MacDonald calls them “sinkholes” in Ordering Your Private World. Mountains, molehills, ruts, sinkholes, wilderness… it’s all basically the same thing: not where you want to be stuck.
I wrote last week that the main issues I’m feeling in a rut with are:
It’s not that any of these areas are particularly bad. It’s just that I’m not necessarily investing in these areas the way I should be, and I know that in a lot of ways I’m going around and around in circles and not advancing and growing the way I should be.
I’m already pretty excited, because in several of these cases I know what the right path is. I know what I need to to do to take care of myself and be healthier since Jesus literally walked me step by step into a healthier lifestyle just a few years ago. I also know what I need to do to tackle the last bit of medical debt on my plate and move forward financially, even though the thought of it has been mentally and emotionally exhausting after all these years. And I’m already seeing how He’s asking me to invest in my relationship and in my “community,” so I’m pretty excited to see how God holds my hand through these things and helps me put my hope in Him into action (which ironically, depends a whole lot on me continuing to stay still and focused on Him instead of trying to do everything myself).
Here’s another verse I found about wisdom this week in a devotional. I have a feeling this whole “wisdom” word is going to play a big part in how I see this year’s doses of hope come to fruition in my life.
Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord;
those who obey his orders have good understanding.
He should be praised forever. – Psalm 111:10 (NCV)