I enjoyed this chapter titled CHOOSING WISE WORDS. I could totally relate to Jennifer's words on page 34: "We live by our assumptions, our beliefs about the way things are. We often aren't even aware of such ideas until we exercise a little self-examination. Our thoughts and our actions flow from our assumptions."
Just recently, I had one of those "a-ha" moments that explained a lot about why I did, said, and reacted the way I had at times. It was an internal motivation that I hadn't even been aware until 'the light shined upon the truth'. The awareness didn't provide me with excuses or an easy way out but it did help me realize the reasonableness of things that I once couldn't even begin to wrap my mind around.
I loved the imagery that Jennifer used when she stated on page 35 & 36: "...our assumptions are the root, and our thoughts are the fruit...changing the fruit is impossible without changing the root."
Those words really struck a nerve because I am beginning to realize that no amount of stubbornness, will-power, and self-motivated improvement will 'change the fruit'. I think I am FINALLY understanding that the only way the 'fruit' can be changed is when I get honest with God and with myself while trusting that HE can grant me freedom from the tangled roots that are attempting to choke the life out of me.
I was tickled to read Jennifer's words on page 37 about having "...three surefire ways to gain the wisdom you need to recognize truth, right assumptions, and healthy fruit. "
Those words made this ultra-obedient girl think "Yay---give me the steps, show me the specifics, and I'll get it done and get it done well." I have to repent of that performance-based, self-reliance attitude. It has rarely, if ever, served me well.
I've been meditating on the thought that following the path to wisdom does have to be a disciplined choice. It's not an overnight fix and I imagine the growth is gradual and realize that I may not even be aware of what God is working within me. That fills me with hope but also a bit of fear. I'll CHOOSE to hang on to the hope.
I enjoyed Patsy Clairmont's words of wisdom about conquering negative thoughts:
- REFUSING: I can honestly identify the self-talk & weigh it against the evidence of truth.
- REPLACING: My school principal had each of the teachers decorate a cutesy bucket last year that was to hold all of the 'positives' that came our way; whether it be through jotting down a memory, a note from a friend, small tokens of appreciation, etc. so that if and when we began to feel depleted, we could go to that bucket and fill up with some cheer. I have grown to love that bucket that is outwardly adorned with Scripture that fills me with hope, joy, and confidence.
When Jennifer listed the characteristics of "The Wealth of Wisdom", the following phrases provided water for my thirsty soul:
- Wisdom will refresh you...(Proverbs 18:9)
- Wisdom will bring healing...(Proverbs 12:18)
- Using wise words will protect you (Proverbs 14:3)
- Wisdom makes you strong (Proverbs 24:5)
Thank You, Lord, for providing such blessings through the simple gesture of asking You.End-of-the-Chapter-Questions:
1. What are the fruits in your life you wish you get rid of? pride, self-sufficiency, holding myself to higher standards than I would ever impose on anyone else; Issues of insecurity/inferiority when I feel I'll never measure up and I'm burdening others when personal needs/wants occur.
2. What are the roots from which those fruits grow? Growing up in an "abusive" household where compliance and self-control were required; being raised in an extremely legalistic religion.
3. What practical things can you do to attack this root so the fruit will die? Properly identifying the assumptions and lies; seek Scripture for truth and guidance; ask God for the wisdom to "sort out the complicated"; allow others "in" and learn how to better trust.
4. What's your "fear factor"---do you fear God, reverence Him?... I once "served and worshiped" God because of the fear of negative consequences if I didn't. I now, whole-heartedly, want to worship and serve Him out of an ever-deepening awareness, appreciation, and awe of who He is and what He has done for me because of HIS love---not my tasks.