When I was a child, we attended all the high school football games, at home and away. My father played football when he was in high school, continued to support the program, and enjoyed the games. However, football held no interest for me. I usually took a book and read, although shutting out the noise and distraction of cheering crowds and loud cheerleaders was challenging.
During one game, after a long session of people around me standing, jumping, and yelling, I put my book down and asked Daddy what was going on and why people were so excited. He explained that a player on our team intercepted a pass, ran the full length of the field, and made a touchdown. Then, for the rest of that game, and during the rest of the season, he instructed me on the rules of the game, what precipitated penalties, the names of various positions and what players in those positions did, and other aspects of the sport of football. With a better understanding of what was happening on the field, I learned to enjoy the game.
Life is similar. Without understanding, we miss out on that which is beneficial, enjoyable, or growth-producing. Following are some ways to gain greater perspective through wisdom and understanding:
Often, the only way to gain understanding is to be there and be involved. If my father had explained the game of football to me without the benefit of being on site for the games, I may have lost interest and failed to gain knowledge. Being present is more than physical attendance. Being present involves attentiveness, interest, and focus.
For many years, I’ve taught at writing conferences. Often, I’m also asked to do manuscript critiques. When I meet with conferees to go over their manuscripts, I can tell within the first few minutes if the person is teachable. Those who want to learn listen, take notes, ask good questions, and are thankful for suggestions. They pass the teachability test. Those who aren’t teachable interrupt, are resistant to suggestions, and become defensive when an error is brought to light or some portion of their work challenged.
Understanding requires a willingness to listen, receive information, and process it. Those who are teachable gain from those who are wise, implement the knowledge, and sustain forward motion. In a world of information in various forms, choose your sources and teachers wisely.
Most of us know people who fail to live up to their God-given potential because they won’t admit they have shortcomings and are in need of help. They bluff their way through life, blaming others for their mistakes and failures, creating hardship for themselves, and heartache for others. Gaining understanding requires transparency. You have to admit you are lacking in some area and then be willing to feel a little stupid while you learn.
Transparency is also required in our spiritual lives. Many pretend with God in the same way they do with people, but he is all-knowing, and the ultimate source of wisdom and understanding.
Begin today to make gaining wisdom and understanding your goal.
It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. Provers 2:6 GNT
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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