Rediscovering Wisdom in a Time of Information Overload
You watch the news reports. Each day we receive a bombardment of models, statistics, and viewpoints. Instead of more information providing more clarity, it seemingly creates more questions and anxiety.
Joyce Wagner, a mental health therapist, made this statement to a group of pastors and leaders, “People need more wisdom than information.” It’s not enough to know the right things, but now more than ever, we need to respond in the right ways.
I have noticed this to be true about my wife, Robyn, who also serves as a mental health counselor. She has taught and modeled to me that when people experience crisis, they need simplicity that comes from wisdom. Her calm presence, coupled with sage ideas like, “Take a walk” or “Let’s take a few deep breaths together” help far more than answers to questions.
You might find yourself today amid your information overload. You could encounter people that have anxiety from too much information. What would it look like today if we focused on having wisdom for ourselves and others?
The writer of Proverbs devotes this whole book in the Bible toward wisdom. You can read a chapter of Proverbs each day because there are 31 chapters.
I want to share with you four Proverbs providing us relevant wisdom for today:
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
During a crisis like this, we can remain so focused on the surface of our behaviors and reactions. The wisdom of this Proverbs invites us to pause to venture into the inner workings of our hearts. Looking into our hearts means identifying the “Why?” behind our anxiety, worry, frustration, restlessness, shame, resentment, etc.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
When this crisis first started, toilet paper and meat flew off the shelves in panic. The power of the good news of the Gospel invites us to experience generosity from Jesus so that we might live with generosity towards others. Generosity gives hope to our neighbors while reminded us that God does provide for us.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Our emotions run rampant in crisis. The lockdown and quarantine have tested our patience. In a moment, we can lose our credibility with harsh words. The gentle answer of wisdom comes from a place of experiencing grace from Jesus. The wisdom of this Proverbs slows us down moves us from escalating the frustrations and anxiety of others towards engaging others with soberness.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.
I admit this Proverb is my favorite. We need this piece of wisdom today because we walk the tension of planning with an unknown future. Following Jesus does not mean flying by the seat of our pants. Nor does it mean securing control of every detail. We begin by trusting Him and recognizing His sovereignty. By starting there, we can take the next steps to prepare, knowing He holds the future.
In what areas in your life do you need wisdom today? What Proverb has provided practical wisdom to you in this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on April 22, 2020.