There’s a moment in my workshop when the reality of the brevity of life hits hard. While discussing one of the barriers that keep us from reaching our financial goals, I share a fact from the Center for Disease Control. And that is, the average life expectancy for a person living in the United States is 78.8 years. If you are 30 years old, statistically speaking, you have already spent 38 percent of the years allotted to you. The question is, how do you want to spend the remaining 62 percent?
One thing I know for sure is that you don’t want to waste your life recovering from bad decisions. Sadly, many people spend their entire lives living through the consequences of one wrong decision. How do you decrease your chances of making the wrong decision in any given situation? You rely on wisdom–each day of your life.
No doubt you’ve heard a lot about wisdom and may have wondered what exactly does it mean to have wisdom? According to Timothy Keller, author of “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life,” wisdom is the ability to make the right decision when there is no clearly defined instruction or moral law to turn to. For example, the Bible addresses the character or attributes of a good person, but it does not explicitly tell you who to marry. It also instructs you to save and invest, but you must decide where, when, and how to invest your money. The Bible instructs you to give, but you must decide what, when, and how you’re going to give. And, the Bible tells you to work, but you must decide where and what kind of work you’re going to do. Do you see where I’m going with this? Making the wrong decision in those or other areas of your life may cause you to live your precious remaining years in misery. That is not what God wants for you, so He willingly and generously gives you a tool called wisdom.
Proverbs 3:13-25 tells us that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold, and jewels. Wisdom is a tree of life for those who embrace it
According to Keller, to become wise means that you are disciplined and do not give in to impulsiveness. You practice discernment in everyday life, meaning you can recognize other options when others might only see one or two. Wisdom allows you to discern people’s motives and character. Discernment not only allows you to determine good and bad, it also enables you to tell the difference between good, better, and best. Wisdom provides you with discretion, which lets you anticipate problems and not only know what to do but when and how to do it. Practicing discretion has been a lifesaver for me. I had to learn that when I disagree with someone, it doesn’t always have to be a battle. Practicing wisdom’s discretion taught me to pick my battles, and if I decide to address an issue, I’ve learned to choose my timing and approach. This has made a world of difference in my relationships.
One huge mistake people make is ignoring wisdom thinking they’re good to go because they’re educated, knowledgeable and informed. There are many degreed, knowledgeable people who continuously make bad decisions in their relationships, careers, and finances. Wisdom teaches you how to use your knowledge to make the best decisions. You should learn to depend on wisdom when making financial decisions such as using credit cards to increase your debt, getting out of debt, saving and investing money, and giving. Wisdom will protect and guard against poor financial decisions.
Proverbs 3:13-25 tells us that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold, and jewels. Wisdom is a tree of life for those who embrace it. It goes on to say that when you have wisdom, you are at peace which allows you to sleep well. When you’ve made a decision using wisdom’s discipline, discernment, and discretion, chances are you’ve made the right decision. There is no need to worry. Go to bed and sleep peacefully.