There’s much to learn through crash and burn

I was up at 4:00 AM the other day and happened to catch a television sermon on wisdom by Dr. Charles Stanley. To be more honest, I got up at 4 AM last Wednesday morning to watch Dr. Charles Stanley preach. And to be most honest, I awakened at 3:40 AM (before my alarm could go off at 3:58 AM) in pleasant anticipation of listening to whatever Dr. Charles Stanley might be preaching. It’s become habit.
Why? Because I know I need it. The first step to acquiring wisdom is recognizing you need it. Unfortunately, many never overcome that hurdle. Like the bumper sticker says, “You’re young only once, but you can be immature forever.” You don’t automatically receive wisdom, along with wrinkles, just through living long enough. In that respect, wisdom is like deer hunting: sometimes you get lucky and hit one with your vehicle, but usually, you have to make preparations and go out of your way to bag a trophy buck.
I like the ridiculous analogy regarding car/deer accidents because it’s been my experience some of life’s most damaging events can be the greatest sources of wisdom. Unless you mindlessly take your vehicle to the body shop and don’t keep any of the meat from the experience. There’s much to learn from each crash and burn.
Whoever thinks wisdom comes cheaply and easily clearly needs a bigger dose of the stuff. Ignorance is self-insulating. That’s the Catch-22: those who most need wisdom are the least likely to realize it. Thank goodness I am at least wise enough to be grateful I have graduated from that category and made it to the next most uncomfortable spot: having a very big idea of how little I know.
As stated previously, the start of true wisdom is recognizing how much you need it. Become open to doing whatever it takes to acquire it. But be warned that with sacrifice and deferred gratification heading the list, it’s tempting and entirely possible to remain immature forever.
With regard to how I spend the wee hours of my Wednesday mornings, I suppose it could be argued I would be wiser and better served if I continued to lie in bed to catch another two hours of sleep. But I am willing to trade a couple of hours of sleep for the prospect of living at least that much longer from learning life-enhancing information. So I turn to the experience of wiser others, like Dr. Charles Stanley, for the answers I lack.
There was a time when if I saw someone evangelizing on television, I would simply surf past. Oooh, yuck! I won’t name names, but multiple TV preachers turn my stomach. Over time, I’ve learned to use discernment to separate the hay from the chaff. I bypass quick solution and slick salvation types for scripture-based relatables who use common connection to get my attention. Anyone who pronounces “God” as “GAWWWD!” doesn’t get a second look or listen. PULEEEASE!
With the assistance of people like Dr. Charles Stanley, I have begun to acquire a relatively small arsenal of life principles and truisms that help me avoid many problems and to move toward greater prosperity. Provided I apply what I learn. Ah, there’s the catch. You’ve got to practice what is preached. There’s no avoiding it.
According to Dr. Stanley, if we want wisdom, we need to earnestly pray for it, seek it, heed it and reflect on the consequences when we don’t. Since wisdom isn’t a solo pursuit, Dr. Stanley advises we surround ourselves with wiser people (assuming we aren’t so completely ridiculous they completely avoid us for the company of other, much wiser people!), observe what they do and heed their counsel.
Dr. Stanley recommends we consult God and God’s word BEFORE, not after, we botch up relationships and circumstances. Tough order, because it involves getting over ourselves. Everything seems to come down to that, doesn’t it? If that means this bird needs to get up a little early some days to catch the worm of wisdom, that’s okay. There’s a series of life’s lessons out there with my name on it. Grant me the wisdom to pursue it.

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