Goal: To develop the skill to make intentional, creative, transformative and wise decisions daily
Let me remind you that Dr. Spiros Zodhiates in the Hebrew – Greek Key Study Bible defines Wisdom (Sophia) as “Skill in the affairs of life, evidenced by the possession of a certain adeptness or practical ability to apply skillfully what one knows in respect to all things human and divine.” You may recall that my shortened definition of his definition of Wisdom is “to become skilled in living,” but the Greek word Sophia also implies and describes Wisdom as a person becoming an “an artisan, who is an expert in any art, craft or trade.”
This definition of Wisdom has led me to conceptualize and describe Wisdom as any person standing before a blank canvas, who creates (with God’s help, inspiration and guidance) a beautiful picture that depicts their life one brushstroke (one thought, one conversation, one decision, one action, one day, etc.) at a time.
Think about it. When an unforeseen problem or unwanted circumstance developed in your life, what inspired, led and moved you, sometimes without hesitation, to embrace it, and begin to create a meaningful and transformative outcome, beyond your challenge, trauma (past or current), or what could have been a devastating experience? Where did the energy, motivation and will to take matters into your own hands and begin to create promise, purpose or a hope and a future beyond your pain, or, to convert what feels chaotic into a creative and constructive outcome which ultimately resulted in moments where you gained strength, fortitude and resilience each step of the way?
I stand to be corrected, but I think your effort reflected you were listening to, inspired by and received empowerment from a loving God, who guided you to create “brushstrokes of action” that not only made sense to you, but were practical and a necessity at that exact moment or season of your life, willing you to accomplish what you needed to achieve.
If I had the opportunity to observe you, and were to step back and take in the behavior you visualized then created “on the canvas of your life,” I’d say you painted into existence the accurate placement of values that the moment dictated. Your timely demonstration of values like insight, intuition, vulnerability and courage, discussion, collaboration, strength and diligence, manifested for all to see, reflected skill in a particular situation or affair of life which personifies the definition of wisdom.
It never ceases to amaze me when I meet with people and they describe how they “came to their own assistance” by producing naturally therapeutic behavior (sometimes immediately) after devastating and horrific life experiences. Why and how did they accomplish this? I’ve come to realize whether in crisis or in deep contemplation, when a critical decision was to be made, they consulted with God or another human being then chose to apply the appropriate “behavioral brushstroke” to achieve the desired and right outcome for them in their life. These intentional “episodes of activity” created and produced a mosaic of deliberate and practical behavior which when done over and over produces skill and wisdom.
Although some are able to paint creative and constructive achievements solo, others have consulted people like me or they’ve accessed processes which have helped them to bring the vision in their mind into a functional and concrete reality, evidenced by their actions displayed on the canvas of their life. By electing to live in consultation they’ve sought and integrated feedback, guidance or counsel regarding the wise and intentional life they’re choosing to create and live. Whether done in consultation or solo, the end result is a portrait of a person where the application of focus, meaning, purpose and intentionality depicts not only skills in the affairs of life but also a picture of a person who is (becoming) skilled at living.
So, I have a question (or two) for you:
When adverse circumstances arise in your life, what guides you to make intentional and potentially transformative experiences for yourself and others? Do you have an idea of what behavior you’d like to create and paint into existence that’s appropriate and therapeutic for all involved? Is there a person or process to consult as you’re contemplating what wise behaviors you’d like to bring into reality?
When you’ve been hurt by others are you tempted to paint a giant wall, a guillotine, or a garden where self-care, dignity, boundaries, and possibly forgiveness is grown? What positive, constructive or skilled behaviors might you wish to “paint” and bring into existence (i.e., patience, kindness, goodness), because the development and demonstration of those behaviors reflects change, healing and growth in your life? Is patience, gentleness or self-control (or another characteristic, value or intimacy need) in the next brushstroke you’ll apply to the canvas of your life?
The choices and what your portrait eventually resembles, one brushstroke at a time, are yours.
Suggested Activity: Think then engage in the spiritual disciplines or activity that you’ll access to help you to connect with your God or Higher power. Reflect, meditate then think about the wise and insightful behavior that will help you and others to arrive at a good, therapeutic, practical and constructive outcome. Consult with others who could help you to approximate the outcome you’re thinking about or need to actualize.
Skill to develop: Focus on making informed, strategic, sound, inclusive and satisfying decisions consistently.
Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful.
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