Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Applying Wisdom- James 3:13-18

"If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom." (James 3:13)

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I always pictured it in one particular way. I'd write a best seller like JK Rowling or Ursula Vernon. Kids everywhere would be dying to get their hands on my books. Because I'd be this great story teller. But there's a problem. No one is beating down my door to hear my stories. Literary agents don't read my samples and then jump on their computers to email me back, let alone set up a phone interview to become my representative. And there's probably a reason. While I have been pursuing this dream for quite awhile, I can't say that I've been doing it God's way. I've been writing my own stories instead of telling God's. Honestly, there have been times that I've struggled with some of the things in these exact verses (though I didn't realize it at the time and I shutter to think of the negative words James uses here):

"But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind." (James 3:14-16)

Recently, I've taken a step back and asked God what he wants me to say and do. I feel like he placed this dream on my heart for a reason and I want to follow it. I just don't know how exactly. The conversation is something like this:

"I want to write," I tell him over and over again.
"What do you want to write?" I can feel him asking.
"Well...I don't really know exactly. Something interesting. Something people will want to read. Something about you," I answer without a real answer.
"Like what?" he asks again gently.
"While you're thinking about it, I have some things for you to read," he says.

We've been building to this moment for awhile, God and me. I've tried writing my own way on my own time and it hasn't worked. So while I try to figure out where God is leading me, I read what I feel like he's telling me to read. First, he led me to Holley Gerth's book, "You're Already Amazing" via my mom. In that book, I learned that I have strengths and skills that God has given me with the intention that I use them for Him. I am honest. Sometimes overly so. And Jesus made me that way. Interesting, right?

Next I read through Charles Swindoll's book about Paul called "Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit." Initially, I started reading that book because I wanted to know more about Paul for the devotions I was working on about Galatians- you know, the first book of the Bible I felt like God wanted me to study here on this blog. In that book, I learned that Paul was called to the desert to spend time alone with God for quite awhile. In that time, God was molding and shaping Paul to be who he needed to be in order to really impact people for eternity. And while I'd hardly call this summer home with my sweet babies a desert, it is absolutely, unequivocally a transition period for me.

In this transition, I'm also studying the Eeyore of the Bible- Ecclesiastes. I'm using Courtney Joseph's study and learning a lot about enjoying the moments we're in and serving God through what we are doing in our everyday lives. I'm only about halfway through that, but there have been invaluable lessons along the way as I study alongside (goodness, I just checked, haha) 26 of my closest friends. ;)

I'm also reading through another of Holley Gerth's books called "You're Made for a God-Sized Dream" because, you know, I feel like God has called me to this writing life. And do you know what I read there? We go through transitions (like this one!!) where we will develop our relationship with God to a higher level and learn more about what God wants us to do with our lives. He isn't going to call us to a dream and then toss us into the deep end, which is what it would be if he'd made any of these posts go viral or one of my handful of finished stories popular. No, instead, he is going to give me the opportunity to say yes to and work on smaller projects like the manager did in Matthew with the three servants to whom he gave various amounts of talents (a currency back then, just ironic now). You can read the whole thing in Matthew 25:14-30 if you're interested but the basic gist of it is that each servant was given talents to grow. In the end, the manager gives more to those who did well. I want to be the one that does well with the talents I've been given.

So this summer, these verses are my ultimate goal:

"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18)

In this period of transition from homeschooling mom to "just mom," I am seeking God's wisdom for my life. I want to be the person that He is calling me to be and no one else. I am listening to his voice and moving along as I hear him speak- hence this blog. I pray that through my writing somehow, God uses me to "plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." And I pray the same for you. May God reveal his wisdom from above in each of our lives.

I know this particular post has been a little...okay, entirely me-centered. I feel like the time is now to be sharing where I am in my journey in order to help someone else out there. I think the best way that we can approach this whole "applying wisdom" goal is to stop focusing on our own wisdom and start taking a moment to pray for the "wisdom from above" that James talks about in James 3:17.

Because while we have this very limited view of the big puzzle that we are all a part of, God can see the whole huge picture. He knows where each piece is supposed to go and can gently guide us there if only we allow him to do it. Otherwise, we are just going to sit on the table waiting forever to be used in the bigger picture. God isn't pushy. He isn't going to force anyone to go anywhere or do anything that they don't want to do. He isn't going to make us have a relationship with him. He gave us the ability to choose.

So what are you going to choose today? Are you going to stop what you're doing and talk to Jesus about his plan for your life or are you going to keep pushing on in your own way?  

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