“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom.” Proverbs 4:7

Dear People Who Keep Company with God,

The Book of Proverbs is unique among the books in the Bible. Its sole purpose is to provide instruction for living a successful life on earth. This theme is stated right at the beginning, “To know wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:2) One of the definitions of the Hebrew word used for wisdom is “a skill.” It is the ability to live according to God’s way of life.  Wisdom is commonly thought to belong only to the older or well-seasoned men and women. There is some truth in that, but biblical wisdom is available to all of us no matter how old or experienced we are.  The wisdom we need to skillfully navigate through life is available just for the asking. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all.” (James 1:5) However, James tells us this in the context of trials and patience because we generally become skillful at living through the up and down experiences of life. Living takes time, and often, it takes more time than we would like to gain the skills for living successfully. 

Not long ago, I was reflecting back over my life and wondering what I should have done differently, and how I could have been a better person. The more I thought, the more disturbed I became. There is a so much that I’ve been involved with that didn’t work as I had hoped and longed to see happen. I began to feel down about myself and was starting to think I was a failure. I read a story by joy activist and leader developer, Steve Backlund, about a baby learning to walk that helped me see my failure in a healthier way. He wrote, “Long-term successful people learn to like many of the failures they experience because they know, like babies, they must grow into walking in their potential. Toddlers fall down much more, at first, than they take forward steps in their attempt to be able to walk. Even though this is true, they do not quit or create an identity from their apparent failure in walking.” 

When you make decisions or choices that seem right at the time but don’t turn out well, never allow that to dishearten you. Recognizing your shortcomings is evidence that you are walking in more wisdom now. God wants you to be successful and do amazingly well in every area of your life. He will give wisdom to those who ask Him, but you have to cooperate with Him and allow life skills to grow in your heart and thinking. Don’t run away from your past failure or think you are a failure. Never allow yourself to believe you have been disqualified. Face your failures, give them to God and let them serve you in this season of life. Learn from what went wrong, or in the words of the late Welsh prophet and dear friend, Arthur Burt, “Allow your past failures to be the fertilizer for your future success.” Jesus promised us He would send us prophets and wise men to help us navigate this life (Matthew 23:34). I am seeing that some of my failures have turned out to be those prophets and wise men in disguise.

Many Blessings, BW

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