Thursday, October 8, 2009

25 Ways of Spiritual and Worldly Wisdom

I set out to write about ‘101 Ways of Wisdom,’ and at 23 I gave up, thinking that surely 25 would suffice. Here they are (in the order they came to me in):

1. Find God; find the real, one and only, living God. Find him, revealing himself to us, in the every-day, in the miracle, in the now and in eternity.

2. Practice the ‘Golden Rule’ i.e. do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12). This is the sum total, and the heart, of the virtuous life. Remember this and apply it and we generally have a smooth life.

3. Discover personal identity, meaning and purpose to life—then live it. Only each individual person can do this. It’s the difference between a successful life and one that never really quite cuts it.

4. Live ‘one day at a time.’ There is no better way of overcoming adversity (and there is plenty of adversity in life) than this. There is also no better way for engaging in life transformation and renewal than applying this concept. There is real power in only living—mentally, emotionally, spiritually—in the day.

5. Related to point 4 above; be “present” as much as possible. Neither living in the past by regretting it or worrying about the future are wise choices.

6. Live in the ‘adult’ state; this is being reasonable, responsible, rational, realistic, reliable and logical. Emotional “overruns” rarely augment good life outcomes.

7. ‘Redeem the time’ / Carpe Diem (See Ephesians 5:15-17). Make the most of opportunities; manage the minutes and seconds of life.

8. Strive for the virtuous life, building and shaping character.

9. Seek advice, particularly when faced with difficult decisions—then based on the advice, use your own judgment to implement solutions and monitor them through to completion.

10. Keep moving forward in hope, curiosity and courage. The following Chrysostom quote captures the essence of this. It is very simply, faith: “Yet those that be against us, so far are they from thwarting us at all, that even without their will they become to us causes of crowns, and procurers of countless blessings, in that God’s wisdom turns their plots unto our salvation and glory. See how really no one is against us!”

11. The paradox of happiness: Understand that the search for happiness is paradoxical. The harder we try and attain it, the more elusive it gets.

12. To speak truth more, speak less. Through error, omission and exaggeration we’re innate liars. This is the truth for all of us. James chapter 3 tells us our tongues get us in inordinate messes.

13. Accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can, and have the wisdom to discern the difference between the first two. It’s not called ‘the Serenity Prayer’ for nothing—we will experience serenity if we implement this simple yet powerful wisdom.

14. Get to know GRIEF and the process for courageously dealing with it, i.e. in truth. There would be no better single preparation for a productive adult life than this; we grieve each day you know.

15. No regrets. Life is too short for them, unless they can be used to learn and grow from—then we use the regret to power us through self-development.

16. Gratitude in a word. “Nothing taken for granted, everything received with gratitude, everything passed on with grace.” –G.K. Chesterton.

17. The Love Languages. Learning and practicing the ways of love is a blessed activity with infinite returns. Praise, helping, gift-giving, quality time and physical touch—the personality that comprises the ability to love fully (both in giving and receiving) is a rich personality indeed.

18. Looking back from eternity: “When all is said and done,” did we live our lives for truth... did we live it for God?

19. The Truth/Grace Dichotomy – achieving a sensible balance where grace, at the last resort, wins out. In other words, all judgment requires a mix of truth and love (grace). If doubt exists the benefit of the doubt is given.

20. In relationships, recognise the Power of Acceptance and Rejection. Remember, hurt people, hurt people. Hurt people are affected by rejection—healed people have dealt with the hurt and have a capacity of love. Accept people at all costs. Accept unconditionally.

21. Let God have the vengeance, leaving room for him to judge situations by staying out of the way. Proverbs 25:21-22.

22. Let your gentleness (Greek: epieikes) be known to all humanity—everyone we interact with. Absorb hurts truthfully and courageously.

23. Become a reader of body language – learn how to discern what people’s hearts are really saying. This is so we can reach them better. It’s also about learning not to ‘telegraph’ too much what we too are thinking and feeling by remaining neutral in our body language.

24. Try to see what’s, for most, impossible to see. Learn to see what is barely discernible. It’s there alright, and it will make life far more interesting and challenging at the same time. Yet, a world of truth will be yours.

25. Learn to have faith in other people. This is in essence the trait of humility, but in a way of believing the best even in evidence of the worst.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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