“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Wisdom usually comes with age, though not necessarily. To obtain understanding, one must seek it and apply oneself to it. Wisdom is one of my top ten values. I hope I am beginning to get it, now that I am 58 years of age.
Why Do We Want Wisdom?
Why do we want it? Speaking of wisdom, King Solomon of the Bible says, “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:15, 16). Do you desire a long life, riches, and honor? Did you know that wisdom is key to those things?
Maybe you know foolish people who have obtained wealth. However, what happens to those riches? They slide through their fingers. You may agree that to obtain and retain wealth, it takes wisdom.
Prefrontal Cortex, An Organ of Wisdom
I do not speak as one who is extremely wealthy. However, I have enough and some to spare. Some of my days have been lived in folly. Having bipolar disorder can make the prefrontal cortex not work. I believe this part of the brain, which is just behind our foreheads, is where much of our wisdom develops. The prefrontal cortex is involved in
- executive attention
- bodily regulation
- emotional balance
- fear modulation
- organization of actions in time
- working memory
Try having wisdom without these functions!
With medication, however, the prefrontal cortex is protected. I can begin to assemble wisdom and even have the power to learn from my years of folly.
Meditating For Wisdom
One practice that I believe strengthens the ability to obtain and retain wisdom is meditation. Meditation increases gray matter in the brain and decreases depression and anxiety. Neither depression nor anxiety contributes much to wisdom. Depression is obsessing over the past and casting a negative light on it. Anxiety does the same regarding the future. Both have their attendant symptoms and dysfunctions.
However, I believe we can learn from our dysfunctions and even become wise. All is not lost if you have some symptoms. We do, however, need to master our addictions. Usually, total abstinence is called for. In the throes of addiction, our only desire is for that to which we are addicted. Wisdom goes out of the window. We do not have needed judgment or bodily regulation; we are a slave to whatever we desire. Wisdom is not slavery. Make every effort to break your addiction(s). Get help, if needed.
Curiosity and Learning
I believe that healthy curiosity and the desire to learn more tend to increase wisdom. I am not referring to the heedless seeking of novelty that many people get into. Instead, I believe in being curious about improving your mastery of skills, including relationship skills, expanding your awareness of the world, and seeking a depth of knowledge in your field. It has been my sad experience that some people, as they get older, stop reading. Perhaps they feel they cannot or do not need to learn anymore. I believe this is folly. Since you are reading this, this probably does not pertain to you. I hope it will not in the future, either.
Evaluating Wisdom by Our Values
Just being curious is not a guarantee of wisdom. We must critically evaluate new information. There are many conflicting voices on the Internet and other media. Somehow, we must sort it out. I believe that prayerfully keeping your values in mind is essential to do this. Every once in a while, you may be impressed to accept a value you did not consider crucial before. I did that with consistency. Reading Darren Hardy’s, The Compound Effect helped me see the importance of consistency. However, what really convinced me was an Internet article about Coca-Cola. They have consistently promoted their brand for over a century. Though I think Coca-Cola is addictive and harmful, I cannot doubt its success.
I believe it is wise to pursue your values by connecting them with action. Re-evaluate your values from time to time. When I lost my faith in 2008, I was suddenly in a situation where nothing I believed in could give me eternal life. I lost hope in it. However, eternal life was and is one of my values. Through studying the Bible more thoroughly, I realized that God promises eternal life to whoever will believe in his only begotten Son. Through pursuing this one value, I found my way back to faith.
Wisdom means living up to the knowledge you have. You can test things, but it can be much less costly to learn from the experience of others. You probably do not want the pain of learning everything first-hand. I admit that I learned first-hand that I needed my medication. It was an expensive piece of knowledge. Hopefully, you will not have to pay that price. If you do learn the hard way, dare to finally admit it and live by what you know.
Mark Twain said, “Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment.” Do not feel that all is lost if you have made some mistakes. Learn from them. If I had taken my medicine from the beginning without question, I would have wondered all my life if I really needed it and if the side effects were worth it. The side effects were severe enough that I had to know for myself whether it was really needed or not. If you arrive at your wisdom in the same way, take heart.
Wisdom About Having Children
One area I sought wisdom about from my mid-twenties through my mid-forties was whether or not to have children. When I prayed about it in my mid-twenties, I felt that it would be okay to wait. Since my marriage did not work out, it was a blessing not to drag children into single parenthood. Due to the teratogenic nature of my medication, I did not want to risk birth defects. On the other hand, I already knew there would be consequences if I stopped taking my medication. This was indeed a dilemma, one I thought through again and again.
Time went on, I could not get off my medication, and I reached menopause before I remarried. Of course, menopause did not stop Sarah in the Bible from having a child, so I still cannot say never. I am younger than ninety. Posterity is God’s promise in the Bible, so I believe there will be a time in this life or the hereafter to have children. Having faith in that saves me from the heartache women who are infertile often experience.
Wisdom About Remarriage
Remarriage is considered the sin of adultery in the New Testament. For a long time, 26 ½ years, I hesitated to do it. Then I learned more about God’s forgiveness. I learned that God forgives us even while we are in our sins (Colossians 2:13). I began to believe that Jesus would forgive me if I would only believe in him. When I finally remarried, it was without fear of God’s judgment. Whatever damage I did to the Universe was reconciled through the cross. A woman I met in Bible study had questions about this. I mentioned to her my assurance of God’s forgiveness. If you have the same issue, I hope my wisdom has helped you.
Experience can give us wisdom if we learn from it. We can also learn from the experience of others. If you feel compelled to know for yourself, be prepared to pay the price. However, the lesson gained that way can be profound. I intend to seek wisdom and pray for it as James in the Bible directs.
Wisdom During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our current pandemic allows us to apply wisdom. A 36-year-old man on Facebook gained a more profound perspective after suffering from COVID-19 himself. He said he had never been sicker, and it is not a hoax. It is real. He had gained his knowledge first-hand. Hopefully, I will not have to learn that way. I will wear a face mask in public. The man survived. Several times, he almost went to the hospital as his oxygen levels went down. However, he was able to remain at home. His wife continued to run the household and care for the family while he was isolated away. He was fortunate in those respects.
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One. If you wish to download a FREE copy of my ebook (with no need to enter your name or email), click on the book below.