Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day Three! Todays Theme: Wisdom

I'm a bit late in posting today. Partly because I overslept, but mostly because I read today's chapter in Ruth, the one where her mother-in-law tells her how to approach her dream man Boaz (who is kind of like Mr. Big from Sex and the City, except that he's actually a really good guy. One gets the impression that, were phones invented in Biblical times, you could count on Boaz to call when he said he would...)

Anyway, this got me thinking about something I heard recently (I wish I could remember where) about how we're the first generation to look mostly to our peers for advice. It used to be that most of us, as we wrestled our way into adulthood, would have had a handful of wise older mentors to informally help us out, sort of like the bowling ally bumpers that help little kids learn to bowl. These wise folks would help us stay out of the gutters, so to speak, mostly by sharing how they'd succeeded and failed as they wrestled with their own life questions.

My parents tried this, but I steadfastly ignored pretty much anything they ever tried to tell me. I was one of those kids, far too sophisticated and worldly-wise for their outdated opinions. (How I could think this, when I lived in a cloistered, tiny town in Maine astounds me, but there you have it). Needless to say, without the bumpers, I spent most of my 20's rolling down one gutter or another, then popping up on the bowling ball conveyor belt, hoping the next roll would go better. In hindsight, I don't recommend stubborn independence as a life strategy.

Now I'm not sure why, but as these thoughts square-danced across my barely-awake brain this morning, I kept thinking of Carole King. She's a singer-songwriter who wrote an album called TAPESTRY back in the 1970s about love and life and hope and heartbreak that is STILL being played by men, women, and Hollywood film producers more than 30 years later. I thought of I Will Follow, the theme song to The Gilmore Girls--and how one of the beautiful things about that show was how the mother found a way to share her wisdom with her daughter, and her daughter found a way to hear her. I thought of You've Got A Friend, which should be the litmus test for any romantic relationship we ever consider: if a guy won't come running from wherever he is when we call out in need--winter, spring, summer, or fall--then he's not the guy for us. And I thought of It's Too Late, and how I wish I'd faced the music in so many dying relationships the way she does in this song; sometimes there's dignity in moving on.

In Proverbs (which is kind of the "self-help" section of the Bible), there are whole sections on the importance of getting wisdom as we go, advising that it's more valuable than rubies or gold. This always makes me think of a ring my first husband gave me as an apology gift after one of his particularly awful outbursts. My mom's wisdom to RUN from that tumultuous marriage turned out to be far more valuable than that ring (or any other bauble, for that matter). I'm so thankful I finally listened; it changed my entire life.

So today, let's think about where we get wisdom. Let's pray for it. And (especially for those of us asking God for divine intervention in our romantic lives) let's listen to the songs on TAPESTRY and realize that there's not a single relationship issue we'll ever face that hasn't come up before--so chances are, someone out there can help us negotiate the maze from where we are to where we'd like to be.

What's the wisest advice you've ever received?


Patti said...

wisest advice: be yourself.

my fav quote about that:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

Theodore Geisel-Dr. Seuss

artsygirl said...

this is definitely thought provoking for me. i was the independent child as well, and now find myself leaning into wisdom from God more than advice. but it isn't an easy road, let me tell you.

i'm asking God to help me be patient until He reveals His timing for relationship...and everything else in life at this point! sorry to jump in so late to the 40 days! but i'm totally excited to see what He does with us!

ForstRose said...

When I get frustrated and just want to bag whatever isn't going "my way" I've had friends remind me many times that

"God can't steer a parked car"

In other words I need to keep plugging away but be flexible as to the direction so that He can point things in the direction He has in mind in His timing.

We have to take that first step and keep mobile but also be patient with the unfolding of His direction for us. Both of which are hard for me as I like to plan ahead and know where things are headed and therefore I tend to want to be in control rather than leaving it to God but then when things seem to be going in circles or nowhere at all I want to just give up on it all because I feel like any steps I take are useless.


Jessie2 said...

Wisest advice I've ever recieved and the wisest advice that I hand out to myself and the people that surround me:
Be the you that you love!

Everyday I try and wake up being the best version of myself. Sometimes I fail miserably. But I always focus on being the ME that I love.

Liza said...

I think the best advice I've been given is be true to yourself. Sometimes it's much harder than it sounds too.

Sarakastic said...

this is exactly why "I will follow" is the ringtone that plays when my mom calls me, & only then. Wisest advice "if you don't think he's the greatest guy in the entire world don't marry him"- my mom

ramblin' girl said...

Wisest bits of advice:

Make your own decisions; don't do anything just because everyone else is or thinks you should(drinking, having sex, getting married, etc.)

God never hands you more than you can handle.

Both from my mom, likely handed down from my grandma, since she said the last a time or two as well. (My grandma used to call this last one character-building, which she knew a lot about.)

Elizabeth said...

"There is nothing new under the sun"...was written A LONG TIME AGO!
Nothing we experience has not been experienced by many, many others.

It took me a long time and many gutter balls of my own to realize that I could allow myself to be loved completely. My DH is not "the most romantic", he does get on my nerves sometimes (probably not as much I as get on his nerves) short, NO relationship is PERFECT, but God is GOOD and he brought me to a mature mindset (eventually) that allowed me to be at peace until he sent my Darling Man walking into my life.
Gotta love Carole King.
Blessings All, Elizabeth

Natasha said...

Wisest words I have heard, is "Dont just speak, listen"....yeah this applies to me in so many ways! I am usually talking and totally not listening or worse yet, I think I am but after further reflection I realize I wasnt.

Umm where can I find a Naomi....? Totally love the end of of Ruth 3 when Naomi tells Ruth, Boaz will not rest until the matter of Redemption is solved! So quaint but totally lovable.

the teacher said...

my mom always tells me that "if it doesn't feel right, then it is not right" also "never settle".

there have been sometimes where it doesn't feel right, but i try to make it right. that feeling never goes away. it is God telling me that he has somebody better for me.

Phoenix said...

Two great pieces of advice (one from my Dad)
1) If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all (thanks, Dad!). Seems very biblical to me and akin to the Golden Rule....

2) Fake it 'til you make it, or my personal twist fake it forever :) It's kind of along the same lines of choosing your attitude, acting the way you want to feel (nod of the hat to Gretchen Rubin for that one!).

Love the posts!

Aimee said...

I loved a bit of advice from Maya Angelou - something along the lines of believe people when they tell you who they are, and they will tell you. Sometimes as women it's easy to be fixer upers especially in relationships but when he tells you he will hurt you, believe him, and run, baby, run! On the other hand the good ones will tell you that they love you, need you, trust you and support you.

Larramie said...

TRUTH: At age 8, away at camp for the first time and listening to all my young cabinmates crying for home on that first night, I swallowed the lump in my throat and heard: "There's no need to cry, you're never alone."

Just one reason why I believe and have faith.

blessedsubstance said...

The wisest relationship related advice that I've received was Listen to what people tell you. They will tell you everything you want to know. You then need to believe what they say.

heiress said...

No matter whats going on in my life my mom always reminds me that "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."

Suzanne said...

I really appreciate forstorse's advice that: God can't steer a parked car.'

That lesson actually occurred to me this morning as I reflected upon the fact that I can't expect God to answer my prayers unless I participate by taking positive action toward the fulfillment of my dream. If I want an agent, I need to send out queries, as well as working on my current novel in progress. If I want to find my perfect mountain home, I need to spend real time looking online for homes in these communities, etc.

So today's post is perfectly timed to reinforce what I was thinking. I need to be more proactive in my relationship with God and His work in my life.

Accidental Admin. said...

One of the best and wisest pieces of advice I have ever gotten, vis-a-vis men:

If he "seems nice," he should still be a nice guy 6 weeks from now...don't be in a hurry to do everything, to enjoy every bit of closeness and intimacy, right away. Let him prove that he really is the good-hearted, nice, honorable person he appears to be on those first few dates.

Gretchen said...

When I was getting ready to look at colleges, I had a choice of two: one was where I really wanted to go (close to home but really really expensive), and one close to my dad (cheap and in a very warm climate). The rest of my family was putting me under a lot of pressure to go to the school near Dad since he was responsible for school costs up to a certain point (my parents are divorced and my dad was responsible for some school costs), but my mom pulled me aside and told me to go ahead and choose where my heart wanted me to go, and God would take care of the rest. I decided to go to my first choice, and Mom and I did a huge dance of joy when the financial aid package came in - our family only had to pay $200! And it was a great experience which led me to a lot of good friends and a huge adventure in God that's still going on...

Anonymous said...

I feel silly admitting that the best piece of advice I've ever received came from my shrink. I mean, it's not as if my mother was lacking in good advice...

Anyway, there was this one time I was explaining the fears I had when it came to the possibility of making The Wrong Decision.

Dr. Jill looked at me in disbelief, and forced me to look at various points in my life when I had taken risks and come out on top, or ended up somewhere less than ideal and lived to tell the tale.

You have to remember, she told me. No situation is ever permanent, and you should never, ever feel stuck.

It feels good to remember that. It's reassuring, and reminds me of how strong I can be.

The Ex said...

I struggle SO MUCH with this. The best advice I've ever been given is that I'm the only one I can control. Once I let go of trying to micromanage everyone around me my life got so much better.

I'm so inspired by you. :)

goodgyrrl said...

My best friends and my coworker (married for 40 years) are actually the ones that I look to for advice. God definitely sends people to help reinforce His wisdom!