Thursday, July 5, 2018

Frazzled or Dazzled

A man or woman of wisdom allows the knowledge that is accumulated as the years pass by to be used in ways that are helpful and healing in the lives of others. Their words are like "spring water" - pure, gentle, free of harshness or bitterness. There is a refreshing that is found in the words of one who is wise. Their words bring the necessary revitalizing to the parched places of our soul and spirit. Recently, my mother was hospitalized and had a rough time with not being able to sleep. After days without sleep, my own body and frame of reference left me with frayed emotions. Emotions on edge are easily excited, played upon, and often cause us to act or say things that we don't mean or with a tone we don't really mean. While I know she didn't mean anything she was saying that was harsh or a little hurtful, it still affected me deeply. It was hard to not have her recognize me for those couple of days and then demand that the 'real daughter' be called to come to her side. It is good that she is back home and settling back into her 'normal' self. It is also good to know that with God's help, even when I wanted to say things that could have incited even more anxiety in mom, he gave me the words to say that just helped us get through. Remember this...God never gives us more than he is prepared to help us walk through - even when it comes to choosing our words.

Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. (Proverbs 15:2 MSG)

There is a human tendency to use words and knowledge for our own advantage, but the wise man has learned to channel them for not only his own good, but for the good of others, as well. It is easy to come across some truth, tuck it away as totally awesome for our own benefit - it is quite another thing to proactively look for ways to make the lives of others better by sharing what we have learned - even when the lessons are learned the hard way! I know that when I learn a little nuance about a piece of software we use at work, I like to share it because it may make somebody else's work easier, more productive, or interesting. Sometimes I discover things and don't really pay attention to sharing what I have discovered. Later, I find that a peer has struggled with a labor intensive process, only to find that I had the "key" to making that process easier, quicker, and perhaps less "intense" for them, but did not share it! Knowledge isn't meant to be hoarded - it is to be used, shared, and replicated in the lives of others.

I am not saying that we should become "fountains of knowledge" just spilling out all over the place with whatever knowledge we possess. There are times when it is very appropriate to share what we have learned. Within relationship, things are different sometimes - we find there are struggles with sharing the knowledge we have gained in ways that helps each of us grow together. We must "sense" when it is a time to share and a time to remain silent. The writer of our proverb reminds us that a fool is like a "leaky faucet". Leaky faucets are annoying. They lead to build up of minerals in the sink, and also cost us much because of all that lost water. These things make the faucet less attractive, kind of annoying, and a little bit hard to tolerate at times. That is how it is when we share what someone is not really open to receiving. Just as the water seeping from that faucet serves no purpose in helping us wash the dishes or water the plants, so words spoken in the wrong season serve very little purpose in the relationship. In fact, they can inflame the relationship, forming hard callouses that make it difficult to get past.

A fool uses his words without thought. A fool has a tendency to waste his words, just like a leaky faucet wastes water. So, we can choose to be leaky faucets or springs of life. I know I have done my share of "leaking" words - sometimes in a very well-meaning way, other times with a little bit of a selfish focus, and sometimes because I responded to emotion rather than allowing God's Spirit to guide me. In learning comes insight. Insight brings revelation of truth. It is natural to want to share what we have had revealed to us - but we need to become skilled in how, when, and where we share it. Our relationships will benefit from our learning to use the wisdom God has given in the right time, the right season, and when emotions are not at their most frazzled point. Just sayin!