allergic to wisdom

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

She was trying to give me advice.  I hadn’t asked her for advice.  Hadn’t wanted it.  Wasn’t interested.  So, as soon as the conversation took that direction, my walls went up, instant, tall, impenetrable. 

You just don’t understand my situation, I thought.  You think you’ve been in my shoes, but you haven’t really.  Where to you get off telling me what to do?  I can figure this out myself!  Of course I didn’t say any of those things to her.  I was highly averse to conflict, too cowardly for direct confrontation.  So I made an appearance of listening, but worked with all my might to shut out any input she might have to offer.

This is who I was, over and over, as a young person.  A lot of people tried to intervene, tried to persuade me not to make the decisions I was making – things with long, long tentacles that reach even into today.  I shut them down, one by one, never outright arguing but instead just growing stiff, rigid, and mostly unresponsive. 

I thought of that this morning, as my pastor preached on wisdom.  On the long list he gave of ways to gain wisdom was:  “listen to godly people who have gone before you” and “ask for advice.”  These are two things I did NOT do, in that passage of my days.  You might say I was the antithesis of wisdom.

Happily, I have grown.  I have taken great strides in my willingness both to seek and to receive counsel.  Oh, I sometimes still start to go all stiff and non-responsive at unsolicited advice, but these days I tend to recognize that for the character flaw that it is, and try to overcome it. 

Most of the other items on his list were things that are in place to varying degrees in my everyday life as well.  I could start to feel really good about this.  And then…*insert ominous music here*…we come to the item that derails any thought that I might be anywhere near “having arrived” when it comes to the pursuit of wisdom. 

He told us:  READ PROVERBS.

Oh no.  Not that!  Anything but that.  Any mention of Proverbs convicts me, because I’ve had a longstanding policy of not liking Proverbs.  Oh, I love me some Psalms…could read them every day.  Romans?  Heck yeah!  Isaiah?  LOVE THAT STUFF!  James…bring it on!  Lots of books there i the Bible that i really just can’t get enough of.

And then there are the Proverbs.  The one book of the Bible that I don’t want to read.  Don’t LIKE to read.  Oh, who knows.  Actually maybe by now, I WOULD like them – it has been years since I’ve given them an honest shot.  Somewhere along the journey, I grew to find them tiresome.  Some seemed too bonk-you-over-the-head obvious to me.  I like subtlety and nuance.  Proverbs never read to me as either.  Others seemed overly simplified.  A few didn’t make sense to me.  Some have pretty darn ugly imagery. 

Now, before you berate me, understand this;  I GET that where I disagree with God, I am the one who is wrong.  I understand that I can’t pick out a book in the Bible and decide not to like it.  That’s not really how this works.  I am not pretending to be RIGHT in my loathing of the Proverbs.  I’m just saying how I have felt, and confessing that I have let that feeling drive my decisions for a long time.

So moments like this morning in church feel like getting a forehead smack with a hammer.  Not because of what the pastor or any other person said, but just because it is yet another opportunity for me to change my mind, adjust my attitude, and give the Proverbs another shot.  And in this case, I truthfully do not want to change my mind or trust my attitude.

Which is, of course immaterial to the matter.

Hmm.  I do believe I feel a change in attitude coming blowing in.

He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

  1. Kathy says:

    Familiar territory. Revelation freaks me out. I love the book of Ruth. Proverbs can be read a chapter a day over the month…might find it easier that way?

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