I hit the a prime of life this year by turning 37. It has put me in the middlelands –not quite as young and frisky as my 20's, not quite as...well, I don't know what I'll be in the coming years. I'm in a place of transition when considering this whole process of “getting some” (wisdom).
There are so many paths to wisdom. Considering my personal quest for wisdom takes me back to my college years.
In college I was eager, energetic and probably took myself a little too seriously. As a freshman, I was determined not to make the many mistakes my church youth group leaders had cautioned me about.
After joining a Christian fellowship group on campus, I made quick work of filling my calendar by scheduling intentional lunches with respected upperclassman. I interrogated consulted them about matters of life, school, and faith. My friends affectionately called me a “schedule-Nazi” because of my intensity.
I lovingly chuckle at my college-self. I'm also a little jealous of that person. I had a laser-like focus on getting wisdom. I was earnest and unabashedly trying to set myself up for success, God's way, by learning from those who had gone before me. As a newly minted adult, I wanted to lay a foundation of habits that would put me on a path towards godliness.
Fast forward 15 years to the present. How I pursue wisdom is different. Change comes more slowly.
When I hear a convicting message, I try to find a specific area of life to which I can apply it rather than attempting large-scale, revolutionary change. Hopefully change in a small area will work its way through to other parts of my life –like yeast permeating dough.
Or, if a person I know inspires me, I don't try to remake my entire life to replicate how they live. Instead, I wrestle with how it fits into the bigger picture of who I am.
So college-Katharine wanted to “suck all the marrow from life” and overhaul everything when encountering wisdom. Prime-37-Katharine prefers to steep in wisdom and embrace gradual change. Which is better?
Neither. Because for every way I've sought wisdom, you can probably name three more you've experienced yourself. Just as God doesn't fit into a formula, the way He gives us wisdom depends on a beautiful combination of our circumstances, phase of life, and personality.
My hope is that as my life changes, I won't become complacent in pursuing God and his wisdom. Proverbs 18:15 says, “Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” Not to get too “meta,” but I think that implies we can always continue to have new insights about how we get wisdom.
Katharine is a member of Skyline Vineyard Church. When not wrangling kids or geeking out on math, she might be found spinning some discs (Ultimate Frisbee style), gardening playing in the dirt or hiding from the kids by secretly reading in the laundry room.